See also Tortoise
‘It’s like Pokémon,’ said my husband Andy, standing in the cool of a church in San Gimignano on our very hot honeymoon. And yes, I suppose saint-spotting is a bit like Pokémon, the creature-collecting game invented by Nintendo in the Nineties. Slogan: ‘Gotta catch ’em all.’ We weren’t hunting for Pikachus or Bulbasaurs, but for St Catherines and St Antony Abbots in fresco cycles and altarpiece panels. Catherine you’ll know by her wheel, instrument of her martyrdom, St Antony by his bell and his pig. A friend speaks fondly of childhood holidays with his church-crawling parents. He and his twin sister would be sent off to play saintly bingo. Could they find a St John the Baptist (lamb and sheepskin gilet), a Mary Magdalene (jar of unguent), an Apollonia (tooth and pincers)? Off they would go round cloisters, into side-chapels, standing on tiptoe for a better look at stained-glass windows. As with Pokémon, they knew their saints by their markers. Gotta catch ’em all.