Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A Papal Visit to Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, This Afternoon

At first glance I thought a cult had occupied the campo, this seated crowd dressed in matching black hoodies. Then I saw the signs: "VILLAFRANCA AMA IL PAPA," said one. Strange, there was no news of Pope Francis visiting Venice today, and what is Villafranca? Perhaps this was just one of those splinter sects within the Catholic Church with their own particularly fervent devotions. (There's a group centered in the church of Santa Maria Formosa, for example, whose young married couples fervently devote themselves to procreation, unto the point of financial ruin.)

But from a distance the color and form of the image on the hoodies looked almost Nepalese or Thailandese. Until I walked close enough to recognize the old-school beehive papal headgear and that face--clearly not the face of Pope Francis, but familiar nonetheless (as you can see in the image below).

It's a commonplace to describe Venice as a city of stage sets, and yet it's always a surprise to find it literally being used as such. In this case for a series I've never seen, The Young Pope, with Jude Law. I didn't wait to see if he appeared or what happened next, I had real life errands to run.

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