Barbara Ell's Reviews > AN Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church's Strangest Relic in Italy's OddestTown

AN Irreverent Curiosity by David Farley
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's review
Nov 20, 2011

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bookshelves: non-fiction, written-reviews
Read from November 16 to 20, 2011

This is less a story on a Holy relic and more on the story of what it was like to live for a year in a small village in Italy. Actually when you think about it, the Catholic church has pretty much done away with relics and if they can go away quietly all the better. But what happened to the Santissimo Prepuzio ("the most holy foreskin")? Did it just vanish? Was it stolen?

David Farley set out to find out, but along the way he ended up living in the small village of Calcata, Italy where it was last seen. Moving from New York to any small town or village would give anyone culture shock, but he moved to an entirely different country and didn't know the language.

As I said this is more of his story about how he survived in the village and what he learned about the people there. The Holy Foreskin was just a side story as to why he was meeting those he met and why they treated him as they did. Like the Vatican treating the prepuzio as a curiosity, those in Calcata treated Farley and his wife as a curiosity.

It is a good and funny story, and as the New York Times summed it up, "Like a cross between 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'Life of Brian'..."

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