Anne's Blog

Bolsena: Martyr Saints and Good Eating

Date: July 29, 2019 - categories: , , , , , , , - Leave your thoughts

Probably an hour after participating in the 4th-c martyrdom scene of Santa Cristina – patron saint of Bolsena and feted in late July in two days of medieval street theater – young Matteo was out of his regal red Roman sash and running trays from kitchen to tables.

          Matteo after participation in a scene of Santa Cristina’s martyrdom in the 4th-century

A law student in Rome,  during the summers, Matteo helps his family at Trattoria Da Picchietto – just steps away from the piazzetta of the martyrdom scene  He was buzzing from table-to-table  – red loincloth replaced with a black t-shirt – when we lunched at the trattoria following the procession throughout Bolsena to view the five Misteri di Santa Cristina.

Matteo took a second to show us the poster describing his group’s martyrdom scene:

…and then back to serving at table with his grandfather, Mario (grandson of Picchietto who had started cooking here in 1947):

Papa’ Emiliano serves guests, too, while Matteo’s mamma, Monica and his nonna, Anna, are cooking up that tempting goodness which draws us often to Trattoria Da Picchietto.

            Emiliano with lunchtime diners

          Monica and her mother during a “break from the burners”:

Here at Picchietto’s, Pino can never resist starting off with steamed mussels:

I chose fresh green beans with mint and garlic as my antipasto this time……

…..keeping it “light” as my favorite pasta dish would be following, cavatelli alla barcaiola. The cavatelli (literally, “little gouged or dug-out ones” due to the shape of this small pasta) “boatman’s style” are served with a buonissimo sauce of fresh tomato, olives, pine nuts and coregone, the tasty white fish of Lake Bolsena.

As we feasted, another Mistero di Santa Cristina personage stopped at our table:  Fabio, il Diavolo (“the Devil”) who had been kicked into Hell in the final Mistero, the Glorification of Sant Cristina.

            Fabio, the Devil, stops at our table – and server Teresa approves

His son Francesco had portrayed the beatific cherub launching a good kick at that black-winged, horned Diavolo (his  Papa’!)

            In the final Mistero, Cristina ascends into Heaven, born by the angels as the Devil is booted into Hell

          Francesco launches a forceful kick at the Devil (his own papa’, Fabio)

With a festa lunch at Trattoria Da Picchietto, all Fabio’s family was celebrating the Misteri and their Francesco’s first appearance in the martyrdom scenes.

Young Francesco posed happily for me with his papa’:

This may be his first year participating in the Misteri di Santa Cristina. I’m sure it won’t be his last; after all, his papa’ Fabio has interpreted personages in the Misteri for fourteen years.

He and Pino talked for a long time about the significance of I Misteri for the bolsienesi, Fabio telling Pino proudly that Il Diavolo is the most prestigious male role in all of the ten martyrdom scenes.

We had scene Fabios’s excitement just after the Misteri while celebrating with his fellow participants, all of them toasting Cristina:

        No longer the black-winged Diavolo, Fabio (in red) celebrates the Misteri with the other participants

Matteo, too, will probably join in his Mistero again next year; afterwards, he’ll slip out of  his Roman loin cloth to wait on tables at his family’s Trattoria Da Picchietto.

Read more about I Misteri di Santa Cristina

Read more about why we love Bolsena

See Matteo here at Picchietto with his family – as a young boy

Click here to read about – and see! –   a favorite Bolsena gelateria

Read more on the Misteri, the July living tableaux of Bolsena

Click here for more on another favorite Lake Bolsena spot


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Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)