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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Festa della Madonna del Monte, May 14th 2012


The Festa in celebration of the Madonna of the Mount is held in Marta annually on May 14th. Also known locally as the Barabbata or Broom Festa. The streets are decorated with broom and during the festivities broom petals are scattered, often by young women onto the good looking young men in the procession which is strictly males only!
This spectacular spring festival has taken place in Marta for centuries. It consists of noisy and colourful processions that take place throughout the day, composed of local males that work the land and the lake professionally.  Farmers, fisherman and all the associated professions, bakers, cheese-makers, wine producers etc. Many different local organisations and businesses participate with floats that parade through the streets displaying their offerings from the land and the lake. 
Throughout the day various celebrations and masses take place in thanksgiving for the produce that the land and lake has provided over the last year. When the floats eventually arrive at the little church of the Madonna del Monte a special rite of thanksgiving takes place, which involves, entering and exiting the church three times.
I will give you an outline of the earlier part of the programme which started at 4.30am, yes really. I confess to never having been up early enough to witness this event but I know of those who have done so.

4.30am: Sunrise is greeted with fireworks, drums, church bells and a parade with a choir that starts in Via Laterza and proceeds around the centro storico.
6.00 am: At the shrine of Our Lady of the Mount, holy mass is  celebrated.
9.00 am: Parade of the Marta town  band who will accompany the procession.
9.30 am:  The parade of floats, led by locals on horseback, through the town and onwards uphill to the church of the Madonna del Monte.
11.30 am: On arrival at the church a holy mass is conducted. After the religious ceremony the rite of passing in and out of the church three times takes place.

We participated this year in the Festa from just before 9am until lunchtime which meant that we were able to find a little parking space for the Smart car just outside the main centre having arrived before the road into Marta was closed. This is a big local event for which people arrive from all over the Viterbo region including coachloads of visitors.
As we were there early I was able to walk along the lakeside before the procession started and watch the last minute preparations for the parade, which is always interesting as one gets a real close up view of the floats.
This year the weather did at least stay dry but it was cold in the extremely strong wind that blew all day, as you will see from some of the photos!  There are other activities throughout the day but it was just too cold for us by 1pm so we went to one of the local restaurants for lunch, many people had the same idea and it was lovely to see everywhere busy.

As catch up is the name of the game at the moment here on News From Italy, as much as I enjoy making collages of my photos to share here, they do take time that I do just do not have at present. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of positive response I got to my slideshow in the last post, so have included one today. If you do not have time to view the slideshow which will take time due to the number of photos I took, just over two hundred, there is also a short video which I was able to put together within a few minutes thanks to a programme on the VAIO called Make A Movie! I have a lot to learn but for a first attempt I am fairly pleased.  Of course for those of you that just prefer to view the photos you can view the album entitled  Festa della Madonna del Monte 2012  on My Flickr.com account.

Slideshow - Festa della Madonna 2012

Short Video - Festa della Madonna 2012 by LindyLouMac



  1. It sounds very interesting. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Such lovely photo's! Just looking at all the fresh foods makes me wish I was there.

  3. Wonderful, wonderful, muto bella! Just popping in to say HI and thank you for visiting me so often despite my being away so long...I hope if we do come to Italy, some how, some way, we can arrange to meet. Ciao!

  4. Hello Linda:
    These centuries old traditions hold a great fascination for us and we are always pleased when they are obviously cherished by local people and continue to be observed. We rather like the idea that time honoured events continue to be practised as it gives a reassuring comfort in these times of ours which seem to be about constant change.

  5. May 14 is my birthday! One year I'll have to make a trip there and celebrate this festa with the locals. :)

  6. I much prefer these photos to the collage so I am happy you have not the time :-) Love your header your garden is way ahead of ours. I have had one rose out to date and the poppies are just starting to bud!.

    Looks like you had a great time, so nice to be able to join in with these traditional days. When do you ever see this sort of thing in the UK? Keep well Diane

  7. Lindy,

    I wish I could have been there! What a fantastic celebration! Funny, how many celebrations or festivals, in Italy, start off as being religious and than end up very more like Pagan festivals, than Christian celebrations! But that is just how we like it, Like Lorenzo il Magnifico (De' Medici) said , in his "Canzone di Bacco :" Chi vuol essere lieto sia, di doman non c'e` certezza!"... Carpe Diem! It's our motto!



  8. Fantastic photos of this day, Linda. :-) I love the donkey and those boots at the end. :-)

  9. Wonderful shots!
    You must have had a great time there!
    Thanks for sharing. And thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment;o)

    Happy day****

  10. What a nice festival ! Folklore is mostly beautiful (there are some exception like the bull fighting in Spain !)

  11. It looks like you had a great time. Those are some great pictures.

  12. What a wonderful day to capture!! I loved reading about this festa, but I wouldn't have wanted to get up at 4:30am for it -- LOL!

  13. Your new header is so beautiful! I really enjoyed the slice of life you presented in this post. Traditions and special holidays give meaning to everyday and I really enjoy seeing how others celebrate. Thanks Lindy

  14. Some great photos of what looks like a lovely annual event. I can see how many people attended as the day wore on. Good thing you got there earlier!

  15. Lovely photo that you are using as a header. Your garden I presume. Very impressive.

    Those festivals must take ages to prepare for, which is probably why we do not have them in the UK.

    Thank you for getting back to me about the River Mole. I do not think that it did flood, but we have more bad weather forecast for this weekend.

  16. Hi Lindy! So excited to see you back and had to tell you that I totally love your slideshow! Every thing looks so Italian, and i do love Italy so much. How fun to go to this festival, and looks as if it is in a lovely spot! Will be keeping my eye out for your posts! Best wishes from texas! Jeannwe

  17. Beautiful celebration! Thanks for sharing it with us and welcome back to blogland.

  18. I enjoyed your pictures and it must have been a wonderful experience.
    Thank you for sharing.

    :-) Dorthe

  19. What a great collections of photos.

  20. I love the photos! Parades are a fantastic way to really expose the richness of the culture. Very beautiful poste.

  21. What a fantastic post! How I love these traditional Festas in Italia. I think I am the type that would force myself to get up for half 4...and I am in no way a morning person.

    I love that bread made into rings. I can never remember the name but ate a similar sort all the time when I lived in Puglia in the mid 80's :)

  22. I forgot to say that:

    a) your garden photo at the top is absolutely stunning, and

    b) it has taken me days to read this. Blogger just would not allow me for some strange reason known only to itself! It was worth the wait :)

  23. I can see you love your garden as much as I do.


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