Finding Jesus in San Filipe, Italy

After an idyllic few days in SorrentoItaly, Bob, Joan, and I headed to the Adriatic and got lost somewhere in the middle of Italy trying to find San Filipe , a little hill town not on the map. The attraction was a personal tour of the town by Tony, an acquaintance of Bob’s who lives there part time. We were lost for only four hours, and the farmers and shop keepers we asked for directions were delighted to help out. They all said, “straight ahead.” The roads are curvy and fork frequently with no hint as to what “straight ahead” might mean.

Tony is a retired priest, which is a blessing for his parish. We took the free tour of San Filipe and enjoyed the homemade gelato, which his housekeeper made. I don’t think Tony has the humility to tie his own shoes.

Looking through a grated window beneath San Felipe’s only church, I saw a dusty glass coffin with someone in it, probably waxed, and dried flowers in the coffin. Of course I had to know the story, so Bob asked Tony, who didn’t know anything about it. Bob asked the church’s priest, who had been there six years, and he said, “Oh, we use that room for storage.” Bob asked an old-timer who, when Bob pointed to the grate, assumed he was pointing to the church, and said, “Jesus Christ is in there.”

“Straight ahead,” Joan said in Italian, a phrase we had all learned to speak flawlessly,

We dumped Tony, who wanted a free ride (and delivered home) to a restaurant only 40 miles away on dark, curvy roads. It was late, so we went to the restaurant without him. It was closed. We descended on the nearest sizable town, registered in a gloomy four-star hotel and were soon chasing our wine with pizza at the closest trattoria.

Hint: in Italy four-star hotel means ensuite bathroom and the manager had some gold paint.

to be continued…


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