Today is both the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi and National Vodka Day. Because after a long day of preaching to birds, taming wolves, and being generally selfless, you really need to throw back a few shots of Absolut.
My Petrini ancestors came from Assisi, so I have a special fondness for that region of Italy, and for St. Francis.
In fact, I took the photo in Assisi, of a plaque that illustrates the story of St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio. A ferocious wolf terrorized the town of Gubbio, attacking livestock and people, until Francis volunteered to help. When he approached, the wolf rushed at him, teeth bared. Francis made the sign of the cross and told the wolf to stop in the name of God, at which point the wolf trotted up to him and laid itself down at the saint’s feet. Francis offered the wolf a deal. The residents of Gubbio would feed it daily, and in return, the wolf would refrain from hurting people or livestock. The wolf became the town pet and never hurt anyone again. There is no word of whether vodka was involved.