Easter Sunday dawned with church bells ringing and torrential rain, but nothing was going to dampen our spirits as we set off to town in search of a coffee. Bar Tullia has delicious coffee and pastries and a friendly clientele. The lovely Antonio and Paola were quick to introduce themselves and curious as to why we had chosen Spello for our extended stay. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming; a true community.
Back at the apartment we prepared the typical Umbrian Easter Sunday breakfast.
Traditionally, this is eaten at 9 o’clock in the morning, but to be honest we just couldn’t face wine at that hour, so we modified our plan and held out to midday. The wine is an exquisite Vernaccia, made from half-dried grapes aged in small wooden barrels. Not quite a port; closer to a Madeira perhaps, slightly sweet but rounded and delicious. The wine was accompanied by Torte Pasquinale, savoury bread with pecorino cheese and salume, dried sausage with wild boar and mule. It was delicious.
The big event of the day was “running Jesus through the streets”, when a large statue of Jesus is carried at speed by several strong men, from the church of Santa Maria Maggiore to the Oratorio of Saint John the Baptist. The heavy rain of the morning had by now matured into a raging storm, and it raged on with lightening, thunder and sheet rain threatening to drown out the traditional celebration of the risen Christ. Mio marito declared that he was not, under any circumstances, risking drowning, being struck by lightening or by a heavy statue, but he relented when he saw me swathed in waterproofs and ready to go! So off we went.
I saw the procession approaching from afar. “There’s Jesus!” I squealed, a little too loudly and a little too enthusiastically, as if I had just spotted Elvis. A lone trumpeter ran towards the procession, clearly late on parade. On they came, until we could clearly see the pain on the faces of the men carrying Jesus.
Finally, Jesus was returned to his home in the Oratorio and after a few prayers and votes of thanks, the crowd dispersed. Inevitably the number of people attending was reduced due to the foul weather, but bravo to those brave souls who stayed the course.