We don’t have a drop of Italian heritage in our blood. But any girl with four older brothers has definitely seen the Godfather Trilogy a few dozen times. So when we watched Vito Corleone jumping over rooftops during a parade where dollar bills hung off a religious pillar, we were always a bit puzzled. So this year, we decided to investigate such Italians traditions and jumped in on the festivities for the Feast of Saint Anthony, a tradition started by the hard-working Italians who settled in the North End, and created the holiday in honor of their patron saint, Anthony of Padua.
The streets of the North End were littered in confetti and lined with decorations as if it was Christmas day, while the crowds were treated to lively music groups with accordions in hand. The women danced in traditional Italian dress, with garlands and ribbons flowing through their hair. The parade included marching bands from local religious societies, and of course the traditional procession of Saint Anthony, covered in dollar-bill donations. The spirit of Italy was alive and well all weekend, but nothing brought that to life better than the food! The streets were lined in booths with families selling everything from manicotti to tripe. Gelato stands had lines wrapping around the corners, but of course the most popular stations were those where the cannolis were filled right in front of you.
If you didn’t have the change to head to the North End for one of this summer’s festivals, we definitely suggest popping by one of the delicious restaurants that create these infamous Italian dishes night after night. Bostonians are very lucky to have a neighborhood in their own backyard where such a lively European culture is upheld. We guarantee if you tour the winding streets of Boston’s Little Italy, you’ll sample the very best and authentic in Italian cuisine. Now That’s Amore!
[Photos: Megan Johnson]