Transit of Saint Anthony is a religious ceremony and, at the same time, a historical reenactment dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, held every year in Padua, on June 12, on the eve of the Feast of Saint Anthony, recalling his last moments on earth. On this occasion, a procession starts around 8.30 am from Piazzale Azzurri d’Italia, in Arcella, a district of Padua, and winds along the streets of the city. Around 9.30 am, the procession reaches Sanctuary dell’Arcella, a church that preserves the room in which St. Anthony of Padua died, and the concert of the bells of the entire city begins. SHORT HISTORY Born in 1195, in Lisbon, Saint Anthony was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. He is known for his powerful preaching and for his devotion to the poor and the sick. In 1231, at the age of 35, sick and aware of his approaching death, Saint Anthony asked to be taken from Camposampiero, a town about 20 kilometers north of Padua, to the city where he wanted to be buried. He was taken to Padua in an ox-drawn cart and, once he arrived on the outskirts of the city, Read more [...]
Luminara di San Ranieri is a candlelight festival that takes place every year in Pisa, on the night of June 16, and is dedicated to San Ranieri, the patron saint of the city. On this occasion, the city lights up with thousands of candles, creating an evocative and unique effect that seems to bring the visitors back in time. Every year, approximately 100,000 candles placed on wooden frames outline the architectural forms of the palaces, bridges, churches and towers that overlook the River Arno. Later, many of the candles are placed on water, on the same river, between the Fortezza Bridge and the Citadella Bridge, creating an enchanting play of lights and reflections. Along with the Palio di San Ranieri, the Gioco del Ponte and, every four years, the Regatta of the Historical Maritime Republics, the Luminaria is part of a series of events entitled Giugno Pisano (Pisan June). SHORT HISTORY The first historical document attesting the tradition of illuminating the city of Pisa with oil lamps dates back to 1337. Before 1688, the feast was held on several occasions. Notable are the 1539 edition, in honor of Vittoria della Rovere, Grand Duchess of Tuscany and the wife of Read more [...]
Festa della Madonna della Bruna, commonly known as Festa della Bruna, is a religious feast held every year since 1389, on July 2, in Matera, in honor of the patron saint of the city, Madonna della Bruna. SHORT HISTORY The origins of the festival are not very clear. The custom, handed down from one generation to the next, has been enriched over time by innumerable variations. The legends tells that a farmer, in his way to Matera, took a young lady in his cart. Near the town, she got out of the cart and asked the peasant to tell the Bishop that she was the mother of Christ. When he heard that, the Bishop, along with the clergy and the townspeople, rushed to welcome the Virgin, but they found a statue in her place. The statue of the Madonna was brought to the city on a decorated triumphal chariot. Today, the statue of the Madonna is located in the transept of the Matera Cathedral. Until the 16th century, the feast was characterized mainly by a procession that took place at dawn, called the Procession of the Shepherds (Processione dei Pastori), in which the shepherds, early in the morning, wandered along Read more [...]
Festa di Santa Rosalia (Feast of Saint Rosalia) is one of the most important religious events in Sicily, held every year in the first half of July, in Palermo. The feast is dedicated to Saint Rosalia, also called La Santuzza (Little Saint), the patron saint of the city, and it commemorates the miraculous appearances of the Saint from 1624, when Palermo was hit by plague. SHORT HISTORY In 1624, the Viceroy of Sicily, Emanuel Filibert of Savoy, who resided in the city, brought to the port of Palermo a ship from Tunis, containing many gifts. Muhammad Calavà, the captain of the ship, and some of the crew, were suspected of being sick. Shortly after, the disease, carried by rats, spread rapidly all over the city. A 47-year-old woman, Girolama La Gattuta, suffering of strong fever at the Hospital of Palermo, had an angel vision. The angel told her to go to Monte Pellegrino and pray. Three days later, Girolama miraculously recovered, without going to Mount Pellegrino, but she fell ill again on May 7, 1624, when the plague hit the city. A few days later, Girolama climbed the Mount Pellegrino, drank some clear water that dripped from the walls Read more [...]
Festa del Redentore (Feast of the Redeemer) is one of the most beloved Venetian celebrations, held every year in Venice, in the third weekend of July. At first, Festa del Redentore was a purely religious feast, but, over time, profane elements found their place alongside religious manifestations, and today the event includes a party, a regatta and one of the most impressive firework display in the world. SHORT HISTORY Between 1575 and 1577, Venice was hit by a merciless plague that killed about one-third of the city’s population. Due to the precarious conditions in which the people were living and to a high population density, the disease spread rapidly and was difficult to control. In 1576, the Venetian Senate decided to build a church dedicated to Jesus the Redeemer (Il Redentore), hoping to get rid of the disease. A year later, in July, the city was declared cured, and the Venetians initiated a new celebration called Festa del Redentore. Today, the feast takes place in the third weekend of July and, on this occasion, a bridge is built across the Giudecca Canal, between Zattere and the Giudecca Island, that people cross in a short pilgrimage to the church built Read more [...]
Festa di Santa Margherita d’Antiochia is a religious celebration held every year on July 20, in Vernazza, dedicated to the patron saint of the town, Santa Margherita d’Antiochia. Margherita was a Christian girl who have been martyred in the year 304. She is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church and by the Orthodox Church, who consider her to be the patron saint of pregnant women. FESTA DI SANTA MARGHERITA D’ANTIOCHIA 2019 will be held on July 20. On this occasion, throughout the day, on the main street of the town leading to the Piazza Guglielmo Marconi and the small marina, there will be stalls offering local specialities. In the evening, a nocturnal procession with crucifixes will start from the Church of Santa Margherita. The feast will end with a fireworks display.
Festa del Santissimo Salvatore della Trasfigurazione (Feast of the Most Holy Savior of the Transfiguration) is a religious feast held every year in Cefalù, between 2 and 6 August, dedicated to the patron saint of the city. During these five days, farmers, who have just finished the harvest, find themselves resting and rejoicing. SHORT HISTORY The Transfiguration is a moment in the New Testament, when the Christ and three of his apostles, Peter, James and John, go to a mountain, and the Son of God becomes radiant in glory, shining with bright rays of light. In the Eastern world, the festivity of the Transfiguration is to be traced back to the fourth century, when Empress Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, built the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, in Israel. In Sicily, the Transfiguration is celebrated starting with the 12th century, and is closely linked to the Rogerian period. Only in 1457, in gratitude for the victory obtained in Belgrade by the Christian army against Turkey, Pope Callistus III also established the feast of the Transfiguration in the Western Europe. The devotion of the city of Cefalù to the Most Holy Savior begun with the construction Read more [...]
Festa della Stella Maris is a religious festival of light held every year in Camogli, on the first Sunday of August. The feast is dedicated to Stella Maris (Star of the Sea), the Madonna who protects those who sail the seas. On this occasion, a procession of boats is held in the morning, from Camogli to Punta Chiappa, located a few kilometers to the south, at the foot of Portofino Mountain. In the evening, thousands of lit candles are released on water from the Camogli Beach, lighting the sea, which looks like a sky full of stars. The night will end with a fireworks display. SHORT HISTORY The tradition was born in 1924, when Don Nicolò Lavarello, rector of the church of San Nicolò di Capodimonte, thought of restoring the statue of the Madonna from the promontory of Punta Chiappa. A procession of boats was organized then, which, starting from the Port of Camogli, accompanied the statue of the Madonna to the Punta Chiappa. But the origin of the veneration of Stella Maris is much older, lost in the 15th century, when the fishermen of Camogli began to rely on her, so that their time spent at sea will Read more [...]
Festa estiva di Sant’Agata (Summer Feast of Saint Agatha) is another religious celebration dedicated to the same Saint of Catania, that takes place every year on August 17, recalling the Translation of the Relics of the Saint from Constantinople to the sicilian city located at the foot of Mount Etna. The August feast does not have the magnitude of the Feast of Saint Agatha held in February, which lasts for three days, but still attracts thousands of local people and tourists in the main square of the city, Piazza del Duomo, in front of the Cathedral dedicated to the same Saint. SHORT HISTORY The relics of Saint Agatha were stolen in 1040 by the Byzantine general Giorgio Maniace, and taken to Constantinople. In 1126, two soldiers, Giliberto and Goselino, stole the relics and brought them back to Sicily, to the Castle of Aci, where were taken into possession by the Bishop Maurizio. On August 17, 1126, the Relics returned to the Cathedral of Sant’Agata and, starting with that day, a new feast was born. In 2019, FESTA ESTIVA DI SANT’AGATA will take place, as usual, on August 17. The celebration will begin in the morning, but the most Read more [...]
Festa della Madonna Bianca (Feast of the White Madonna) is a religious feast which takes place every year on August 17, in Portovenere, in honor of the White Madonna, the patron saint of the village. SHORT HISTORY The celebration recalls the miracle of 1399, when, during the French occupation, the seaside village of Portovenere was struck by plague. The tradition states that on August 16, 1399, a certain villager named Lucciardo, while praying in front of the image depicting the Virgin Mary (a discolored parchment drawn by pen), saw the painting suddenly coloured. Once the plague was over, the miracle was attributed to the Virgin Mary, the painting was transported to the Church of San Lorenzo, and the cult of the White Madonna was initiated. It is said that the sacred painting of the Virgin Mary was washed ashore in Portovenere, enclosed in a cedar trunk, in 1204. During those times, ships returning from the Holy Land had trunks on board, in which were stored precious objects, which were sealed and thrown into the sea when attacked by pirates. FESTA DELLA MADONNA BIANCA 2019 will take place, as usual, on the evening of August 17. Around 8.30 pm, a Read more [...]
Cavalcata di Sant’Oronzo (Cavalcade of Saint Orontius) is a religious feast held every year between 25 and 27 of August, in Ostuni. The procession, dedicated to the patron saint of the city, Saint Orontius, is the most important festival in Ostuni. The feast dates back to 1657. The procession was born as a way of showing gratitude to the saint who saved Ostuni from the plague, when it swept through Apulia. Since then, it has been an annual rite. On this occasion, knights on horses parades through the city streets towards the Cathedral of Ostuni, in honor of the protector of the city. Once in the Piazza Beato Giovanni Paolo II, they wait for the statue of the saint, which is then carried on shoulders throughout the city. CAVALCATA DI SANT’ORONZO 2019 will take place, as usual, on the days of August 25, 26 and 27. On the night of August 26, around midnight, a firework display will take place.
Luminara di Santa Croce is a religious festival held every year in Lucca on the evening of September 13, in the form of a candlelit procession unfolded on the beautiful streets of the city. The procession takes place on the eve of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated each year on September 14. In the Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrates the cross itself, as an instrument of salvation. On this occasion, the buildings are decorated with thousands of candles and the traditional mottettone, a polyphonic choral and instrumental composition, is performed. This tradition is now common only in Lucca and Pisa, for the Luminara di San Ranieri. On this day, the city celebrates the Holy Face (Volto Santo), a wooden crucifix measuring 2.24 x 2.65 meters, kept in a chapel built in 1482 by Matteo Civitali, in the Cathedral of San Martino. According to the legend, the crucifix was sculpted by Nicodemus, who assisted Joseph of Arimathea in depositing Christ in his tomb, and it was found and brought to Lucca in the year 742. At first, the crucifix was deposited in the Church of San Read more [...]
Festa di Sant’Eustachio is a religious feast taking place every year on September 20, in Matera, to celebrate the patron saint of the city, Saint Eustace. THE SAINT Saint Eustace was a Christian martyr and soldier saint, who lived in the 2nd century AD. Prior to his conversion to Christianity, Eustace was a Roman general named Placidus, who served the emperor Trajan. While hunting a stag in Tivoli, near Rome, Placidus saw a vision of a crucifix between the stag’s antlers, and he immediately converted to Christianity and changed his name to Eustace. In 994, Matera was occupied by the Saracens, the people invoked the Saint and the town was freed from the invaders. Since then, Saint Eustace became the patron saint of the town. FESTA DI SANT’EUSTACHIO 2019 will take place on Friday, September 20. During the day, a holy mass will be held in the Cathedral of Matera, to honor the name of the Saint, and during the evening, the procession with the image of the Saint will take place along the main streets of the town. A firework display will close the festivity late at night. TIP: In 2019, Matera will be the European Read more [...]
Festa della Madonna della Salute, commonly known as Festa della Salute, is a religious celebration taking place every year on November 21, in Venice. The feast, dedicated in particular to the locals and less known by tourists, has a strong religious character, taking the form of a pilgrimage which starts from San Marco, from the Church of Santa Maria del Giglio, and ends in Dorsoduro, at the Church of Santa Maria della Salute, crossing the Grand Canal on a votive bridge specially built on boats for this occasion. SHORT HISTORY Festa della Salute, like many local holidays, commemorates a painful moment in Venice’s history – the epidemic from 1630-1631. The disease had been brought from Mantova in June of 1630 by some ambassadors sent to ask for help, and spread rapidly throughout the city, killing almost 50,000 people in about a year. In the autumn of 1630, the Venetians organized a three-day procession involving more than 10,000 people, during which Nicolò Contarini, the Doge of Venice, invoked the help of the Virgin Mary and publicly promised to raise a church called Salute, if the city will get rid of the plague. In April, 1631, the Doge was killed by Read more [...]