This morning grandpa Giorgio, grandma Lella, my daughter Costanza and I paid our ritual visit to the relics of Saint Terence on our Patron Saint Day in Pesaro cathedral. Costanza, after lighting the candles, helped us keeping the tradition going on by asking to pleeease call at Germano’s in piazzale Collenuccio (the best chocolate and gianduia ice-cream in town and, as far as gianduia is concerned, probably the best in Italy!).
If you ever happen to be in Pesaro on Sept.24th – any year, of course – do not miss the celebration for our Patron Saint. As I wrote last year,
I presume that attending a religious procession in the South of Italy – in Sicily for instance – is an overwhelming experience, where religious fervor merges into a ritual setting made up of gold, flowers, Baroque statues, baldachins and black veils; ‘a mystic and sensual rapture’ as the Sicilian ‘metaphisical’ singer Franco Battiato sings in his beautiful song ‘E ti vengo a cercare’. No ‘mystic and sensual rapture’ in the sober procession for our Patron Saint in Pesaro; and yet the most beloved annual event by us Pesaresi never fails to give me a reassuring sense of continuity with the Past, making me feel a link in the chain of human history (overall human history and particular local history – the history of my grandparents so to speak) going from the year 247 A.D. (the year of the martyrdom of San Terenzio) up to Sept. 24th 2013.
The cathedral in Pesaro is worth a visit also for non-Pesaresi, though. Built on an area previously occupied by two early Christian basilicas – the first one dating back to 4th-5th century a.D. and the second dating back to the 6th century a.D. – under the cathedral lie Pesaro most beautiful hidden treasures. As a matter of fact, traces of the two basilicas are to be found in the two superposed mosaic floors, being the most recent partially visible through a few glass windows opening on the present floor.The church became the city cathedral in the first decades of the 7th century, when the body of Saint Terence (San Terenzio) was tranferred inside (being San Terenzio the first bishop, martyr and patron of the city who died in ca. 247). Today – and since 1663 – the cathedral is dedicated to the Blessed Mary Assumed in Heaven.The most valuable artistical element of the cathedral is the upper mosaic floor of the 6th century, one of Italy’s largest and most beautiful mosaics. The mosaic floor, divided into nine panels, is rich in simbology, some of Eastern-Byzantine origin and others of Western-Medieval origin: an artistical and historical overview on about 7 centuries.