While the July tourists are parading in Piazza San Marco, peering into shop windows, or tucking in to a lovely piece of branzino or a slim pizza, Venetians are gathering to support their parish. Every summer the folks in the neighborhood of San Giacomo dell’Orio throw a party to benefit their community. It’s marked by food, families, music, and the general idea that these things are a good excuse to get out of the house and enjoy the company of others.
The guys grilling the meat deserve a medal for enduring the 95 degree temps added to the heat wafting off the grills. And they joke and laugh and dance the whole time.
You’ll see lots of volunteers in these t-shirts serving food and wine, picking up trash, and generally making things run smoothly. My favorite is this guy, who I’ve seen at the event for a few years now. He wears a blinky tiara and sells other blinky items that look like they belong at an SF rave from the 90s. Here he is unsuccessfully trying to sell something blinky to nonna.
These tables might be my favorite part, though I haven’t partaken in the rite. They raffle off stuff like paper towel holders or salad spinners, plastic trucks and water guns and Nerf ball hoops. Does anyone needs this stuff? No! But you can see that after four days of the festival, many of these items were already gone, in support of the community.
Then of course, there’s the music. Fun local bands every night for over a week! Sometimes tango or salsa dancing in the campo. You may remember that last year I reported on a few bands that I was lucky enough to catch. This year I only got to see Ska-J, and what a great night! Despite the 95 degree temperature at nine o’clock at night, the campo was packed and the band was rockin’. Lead singer Marco “Furio” Forieri even sprayed the audience with his mister a couple times. They played a couple classics from Marco’s Pitura Freska days, such as “Ridicoli,” but they also played some new classics like “Vivere a Venezia” and “Santamarta.” I smiled to see audience members passing by singing the lyrics. Here’s my quick clip of one song, with a nice horn section and some love for Venice:
If you want a longer fix, here’s someone else’s video from that show, which I found on YouTube, with ten minutes of “Santamarta.”
I didn’t have my glasses with me and couldn’t read the song titles on the CDs, so I asked the woman there which album was her favorite. She pointed to Socco, so I bought it, happy to discover that these two songs are on it. She was tickled that I bought her recommended album. Here’s a pic of the newest Ska-J t-shirt. Last year I bought the Zoccoli underwear. (Sorry, no photos of that one!)
If you’re in Venice this summer, try to make it to the Santa Marta festival, and next year plan on joining the folks in Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio if you want to feel like a Venetian!