It is one of my favorite churches in Pesaro. Certainly not the most beautiful, as it is not the most valuable from an artistic point of view, despite the beautiful Gothic portal made of “pietra d’Istria” and red marble, the wooden inlaid choir built between 1487 and 1537, the “Annunciation” by Palma il Giovane and “Santa Rita” by Simone Cantarini.
And yet – as we all well know – the value of things is not an intrinsic or universal characteristic. The value of things lies in the value those things have to our very own eyes: what do they tell us? What do they mean to us? What feelings or memories are connected to those things? Do those things have a history, their own history, that somehow some day crossed our own personal history, leaving a permanent connection?
First of all, the Church of S. Agostino was one of the churches I attended when I was a child, with my parents obviously, in the Summertime, on Sunday evenings. That is: normally the church we attended was the one close to our house, but in the Summertime, when we spent most of our sunny Sundays at the beach, the only “evening masses” were in the down-town area.
So I tend to associate the following memories – sensations to the church of S. Agostino: a burning face and body (not burning – alas – with religious fervor but suffering from a long exposition to sun beams!), a nice sensation of cooling down, the smell of candles and incense, the sound of the organ (a beautiful organ built by Gaetano Callido, inaugurated on Sept. 8th 1776, on the occasion of the opening of the church after restoration works by Pistocchi and Polinari).
There was a friar back then, whose white untamed hair told more of his religious passion than his whole figure, who used to play the organ. I remember him very well, despite some 3o years have elapsed.
Right in front of the Gothic portal, another temple is to be found (a profane temple, joy to the eyes and palate): the Pasticceria Alberini, a historical pastry shop in town.
The best cream puffs with what we call chantilly cream, the best “diplomatico” (must go there next Sunday and take a picture for you!) and the best “salted pieces” (pezzi salati, as we call them) ever (pizzette & Co.).
In November, when we remember our dear “dead ones”, our family is used to stop by for their fabulous “fave dei morti” (dead ones’ cookies made with almonds). I am sure my dead grandparents are glad about that, and smile from up above each time we call at Alberini’s celebrating life.
Tradition goes on.
Not Sunday masses for us today (who knows, maybe n the future?), but our family definitely calls at Alberini, after our little daughter’s dance class on Wednesdays (beware! pastry shops are closed on Mondays, all day long, as Jewelry shops are and Hair stylists, whereas the other kind of shops are closed only on Monday morning – a different closing day is reserved to food shops, Thursday afternoons, and… I had better stop because the whole story is a bit confusing – that is, alas, some times, the Italian way!).
Everything’s got a moral, if you only can find it – wrote Lews Carrol.
The moral of this post is that if you happen to be in Pesaro, down-town, you had better visit S. Agostino and Alberini, preferably in this order, to restore the soul and the body!