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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Santa Marta Processione con le barche - Santa Marta Procession with boats.


Santa Marta di Betania


The 29th of July is the Saints Day for Martha who was the sister of Mary and Lazarus of Bethany, a village about three kilometres from Jerusalem in the time of Jesus.  In honour of sharing a name with Santa Marta, the town of Marta celebrates in her honour. The celebrations start with a Procession the previous evening by the fisherman in their boats on the lake and a procession along the streets of Marta culminating with a service and blessing. The next day in honour of Santa Marta is a local holiday with everyone in a festive mood with a large market during the day and finishing with a magnificent Firework display at 11pm.  Today I am sharing with you a few of my photos from the procession on the evening of July 28th and a very short video.  The complete album of the event may be viewed on Flickr.com Santa Marta July 28 2011.

The first part of the procession takes place simultaneously on land and water. We sat on the wall that runs along the lakeside towards the Fisherman’s beach where the procession was heading, from here we had excellent views of both the processions and the fireworks.

The bust of the Virgin Mary is placed on a boat decorated with lights and starting from the harbour travels along the lakeshore to the Fisherman’s port at the other end of the town, accompanied by a procession of decorated boats. After docking and a blessing the Virgin Mary or Madonna is carried back through the streets accompanied by many of the citizens of Marta. Arriving back in the centre there was a service and blessing conducted from the Commune building.


Candles were placed all along the wall beside the lake.

The Madonna statue can be seen in the first boat.

Madonna and Procession arriving at the Commune Buildings in centre of Marta.

Blessing conducted from commune office window.

The Madonna

A very short video of fireworks showing the Madonna arriving at her port destination.


I also wrote about this event last year and the post can be read here.

If you are interested in reading more history about this saints day, there is an explanation in Italian at the following link La Festa di Santa Marta.

Thanks to http://www.parrocchiamarta.it/ricorrenze/SMarta.html for the first picture, the rest are all my own from LindyLouMac Photo Collection.

The complete album of this event may be viewed on Flickr.com Santa Marta July 28 2011


  1. A beautiful procession. I like the fact it utilizes both land and water. Lake Bolsena is important to Marta, and this is reflected in the Lake being one of the focal points of the procession.

  2. This is a beautiful procession and your photos are excellent. We are so lucky to be able to appreciate these sort of ceremonies. Take care Diane

  3. Such rich traditions. That is why I love going to mass. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great post. It seems like every town in Italy pulls out all the stops for the Saint's Feast Day. In my cousin's village of Ferla in Sicily, the two main annual events are Easter and the Feast of San Sebastiano. People that were born in the town and have moved return from locations across the globe to be there for their Saint's Feast Day. Love that this procession extends to the water!

  5. We have a similar event coming up at our town's festa in early September. Yours seems much more evocative, though. Ours happens during the day and involves a lot of drunks diving into the dirty waters of the harbor! :-)

  6. I'd love to see something like that one day! So fascinating!
    I'm going to South Tuscany next week, only 4 days though...won't be able to reach you for a coffee :-(

  7. What beautiful photos...especially those on the water! It's interesting to learn more about traditions in Italy! ♥

  8. Looks like a really special occasion Linda, I have seen it or something similar on T.V.,but I can imagine it is quite something to be actually there. Many thanks for your visit, glad I can give you some ideas. Love Linda x

  9. For me this is one of the many things I love about blogging. Seeing things I wouldn't normally. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  10. This is truly beautiful and an event like this touches the heart. These traditions are so important.
    Thanks for sharing this joyous news
    Helen xx

  11. Thanks for sharing these pictures! The festival looks spectacular! Oh, how this makes me miss Italy!

  12. Your photographs are lovely and gave me the opportunity of "attending" and observing a festival I knew nothing about. What a treat! Thank you :)

  13. Italy does have some wonderful Festivals and I feel like i'm a little part of them, when you post such gorgeous photos as you have here. The procession on the water looked quite magical. The statue of the Madonna looks amazing.

  14. What a gorgeous post. I love the religious festivals in Italian villages and cities. You are making me homesick!

  15. I always marvel at these festivals . I wonderful post.


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