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