Joe Virgilio and daughter Marissa
Years ago, there was an even balance of traditional “American Carnival foods” and “Italian Specialty Foods” sold during Fiesta in and directly abutting St. Peter’s Square. Growing up the entrance to Commercial Street was lined with vendors peddling their Italian delights of Pizza, Spinguini, and cannoli, to people as they passed by. I often dream of those days and can still smell the aromas of Italian food and I can hear the voice of the “Nut Vendor” repeating “Simenzi! Ceci! Roasted Nuts! Here!” like it were yesterday. Each Fiesta my cousins and I were sent over to the nut man to purchase Simenzi and Ceci for family member sitting in front of the bandstand/altar countless times throughout Fiesta weekend. Snacking on “Simenzi and Ceci” during Fiesta has been tradition for Sicilian Gloucester Families who gather together to listen to the Italian music during Fiesta weekend for generations! Simenzi and Ceci may no longer be sold at the Fiesta, but the tradition of eating them in front of the bandstand/altar still remains. Yesterday I stopped by Virgilio’s Bakery to stock up with enough Simenzi and Ceci to get my family through Fiesta weekend. Stop by before supplies run out and get yours!