By PAT HARTMAN
When does a trip become a quest? When the traveler is in search of a specific object or goal. In the case of David Farley, the goal has caused some raised eyebrows. Mike Barish, a New York freelancer who is fond of sports and whiskey, and also a TravelTalk blogger at Gadling, looks into the peculiar mission of this travel writer who has just published a book called An Irreverent Curiosity. Barish says Farley has written:
a truly enjoyable, educational and funny chronicle of his time in Calcata, Italy searching for Jesus’ foreskin…Along the way, he met a wide array of locals, each quirkier than the last. He deceived priests at the Vatican, befriended a woman who talks to birds and managed to put a tiny village back on the map.
Farley had visited the little Italian village of Calcata before, when he and his wife lived in Rome, and found a rather weird place populated by even weirder people — in the best possible way, of course — artists, mystics, actors, and other kinds of bohemians. What brought him back? Farley has written travel articles for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and quite a few other publications, and his essays have appeared in several anthologies published by Travelers’ Tales, so it’s not unusual that he should go to Italy. But what motivated this unusual mission?
We checked out David Farley’s own site, the better to, so to speak, flesh out the story. The holy relic was once in the keeping of the legendary emperor Charlemagne, but at some point in history was stolen by a soldier and somehow ended up in Calcata. Apparently, like any holy relic worthy of the name, it was responsible for a certain number of miracles, and people began making pilgrimages to the mountain town. Then, in 1983, the object was stolen. And to find out what happened after that… we would have to read the book, wouldn’t we?
Speaking of Rome, it will surprise no one to learn that Kevin Dolgin has been there, and written about it in The Third Tower Up From the Road. He has some rather unusual theories which are aired in “The Nesting Habits of Roman Cars.” The question is, has Kevin discovered a whole new field ripe for scientific inquiry? Or is all this speculation the result of too much vino? It’s up to the reader to decide.