I noticed in the news today that the Carabinieri have uncovered a stash of 400kg of illegal drugs, money and weapons, the latter hidden under a statue of Padre Pio in a notorious district of Naples (Scampia, where scenes from the film Gomorra were shot). Early today, on the Venetian island of Burano I took another photograph of a statuette of Padre Pio. Recently made a saint, this south Italian hero priest was a pretty controversial figure and not always popular with the Catholic authorities. However, his overwhelming popular appeal with devout working-class Catholics, especially in the south of Italy, means that you'll see his image almost as often as the Virgin Mary, and certainly more than either the Pope or Jesus. Look out for the bearded brown-robed priest next time you're walking through an Italian village or passing a religious souvenir shop. Some would say that this tale of a Padre Pio shrine concealing a Camorra/Mafia stash embodies all the problems of Italy's South.
> My photo gallery of Padre Pio images
> Repubblica: Scampia, sequestratati 400 kg di droga
trovato arsenale sotto statua di Padre Pio
> Padre Pio (Wikipedia)