Postcards from Prato

Ashley Arminio

Getting your feet wet in Venice

Ashley with shoes in hand to cross through a flooded square in Venice (Photo by Ashley Arminio / Charger Bulletin Photo)
Ashley with shoes in hand to cross through a flooded square in Venice (Photo by Ashley Arminio / Charger Bulletin Photo)

I’m sitting on the rooftop terrace overlooking the Prato mountains and I still can’t believe that for a couple of months, I am able to call this beautiful place home. Prato is rich with culture, and this week I got to experience a piece of that.

Monday, Sept 8 was a big day for Prato because it is the Corteggio Storico di Prato and exposition of the sacred belt, which originates from the Middle Ages and is done five times a year. This holiday is only celebrated in Prato because it is the day that Prato celebrates The Virgin Mary’s birth and showing of the Girdle. The Girdle is supposedly Mary’s belt that she removed and passed down to St. Thomas.

Around 9 p.m. began the parade departing from Town Square with participation from about 600 people dressed in costume that make up many groups and representatives of municipalities from each part of Tuscany. With that came musicians, flag bearers and theatrical entertainment to make the entire celebration festive. The parade ends in Piazza Duomo with more entertainment and the display of the Girdle, which people see and have the opportunity to kiss the case with the Girdle in it before it is locked away until the next mass. What I love about this day is that it’s the only celebration that connects religion and the Italian government.

On Friday, Sept 12, I went to Venice for the day through a program called Bus 2 Alps. The tour guides were in their mid-20s and so friendly and helpful; they definitely made the trip the best it could be.

As soon as we got there, we waked about 40 minutes to Piazza San Marco where we had to take off our shoes and walk to the other side barefoot! Venice floods often when it rains, so it was interesting to see people taking off their shoes to walk in the Piazza and take pictures. If you didn’t want to take off your shoes, they sell boot covers for 10 euro but I decided to take off my shoes for the experience!

Once we made it to the other side, the tour guides took us to get pasta at this tiny restaurant and where you order your pasta from the combination menu or make your own picking out the type of pasta you want, sauce and add-ons. After you order you go back outside and they will hand it to you in a Chinese box through the window; so you have pasta to go! I wish we had these in the United States because the food is fast, and delicious! After we look at shops, took pictures, and went on a Gondola ride! Venice is beautiful and a great place to visit for pictures and gift shopping. The hand blown glass is gorgeous just like the view.

Tonight I’m going to Palla Grossa; I can’t wait to tell you about that!

Here are a few more observations:
1.It’s illegal to not recycle
2.It’s illegal to have guests overnight in a rented room
3.There is no Italian word for hangover. People don’t want others to know when they’re drunk; they want to show they can handle their alcohol and it’s not talked about.
4.What we call bow tie pasta, they call butterfly pasta! And what we call shell pasta, they call ear pasta!
5.Military time is used
6.Temperate is measured in Celsius.