Calcata Vecchia and the Holy Foreskin

It’s hard for me to wrap my frazzled head around the idea of religious relics. They don’t really gross me out; I’ve excavated many ancient graves. A bone is a bone. Dried flesh is, well, odd. Then again, when those teeth come into view, it’s a bit of an unsettling moment. Teeth, you see, look the same whether you’re living or not, and there’s the telltale wear on them you get from doing things you probably shouldn’t do with your teeth, like eating acorns pounded with phallic basalt pestles to make gruel, a sandpapery dish that made teeth wear quite oddly.

But I’m far off the point. This week, with the publication of David Farley’s An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town, we’re celebrating the holy foreskin. It’s lost, but still.

Yes, Jesus’ foreskin was once said to be found in a grotto in the Italian village of Calcata. Calcata Vecchia—the purtier, doomed village to be exact. Of course, we have to take all these “facts” with a bit of salt. It’s not like these foreskins are stapled to an index card with their provenience written in fine hand upon it. But faith is all you need, some say, then you can ignore scientific fact (that which God’s design has allowed us to know) and make more money (only 6% of scientists in the US are Republican —just sayin’).

In any case, I suspect there will be many folks who will make the pilgrimage to Calcata just because they’ve read the book and have a vague interest in a tiny place that came to house such a famous relic. Besides, at a party where only moderate drinking was involved, many of the expat revelers living in Lazio recommended the quaint artist’s village to me as a worthy destination, even if foreskins of the famous were of no interest at all. So, being it’s yet another Saturday in which I have no plans whatsoever, I’ve prepared a map and some travel information: Calcata Map.

I’m just wondering if Farley’s book and this blog post will revive interest in modern saintly foreskin relics. It’s been a while since I’ve written about Rick Steves, His Foreskin, and the Cinque Terre, but I’m thinking I’ve become a bit of a prophet, considering the circumstances. Now if only someone knows where mine went…

Calcata Vecchia and the Holy Foreskin originally appeared on , updated: Oct 17, 2022 © .

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