Sunday, 22 January 2012
This event is celebrated in Santa Maria degli Angeli the Sunday closest to when it happened (January 17th). The feast starts with a procession which leaves the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli after a morning Mass. The members of the guild of Sant'Antonio, the Priori, carry the statue of the Saint through the streets followed by people with all types of animals on leashes, in boxes and even in their arms.
The procession ends at the entrance of the Basilica where the animals are blessed and bread is distributed. Afterwards, the people will have lunch in the local restaurants. A special meal is served: the Piatto di Sant'Antonio. This consists of pasta with a meat sauce, meatballs, sausages and some fruit, everything on one plate. The best part is that each participant is required to bring a dessert for their table. At the end there are so many desserts that everyone starts walking around exchanging desserts (and wine) with other tables. Needless to say all this creates a very convivial atmosphere. Definitely an event to make one appreciate living in Italy!