Festa della Bruna

This extraordinary festival in honour of Patron Saint, Maria Santissima della Bruna begins at dawn with the shepard's procession, originally for those who were unable to participate in the Festa as they were busy tending their herds. They meander through about 10 kilometers of streets in town and down in the Sassi stopping at each piazza and church. In the Sassi, a painting of the Madonna della Bruna, accompanied by those devoted to her, is honoured with fireworks and peasant music. At midday the statue of the Madonna with Child, guarded by tens of horsemen in costume, is taken from it's usual home in the cathedral to the popular neighbourhood of Piccianello where the triumphal float stands. The float is entirely hand made out of papier machè and each year designed around a different chapter from the bible. It is built and kept in a warehouse near the church of the Annunciation.
From this point, at around 6 pm, the procession begins when the float, drawn by eight mules and adorned with fresh flowers, moves towards the centre of town. It is preceeded by tens of horsemen in velvet cloaks, the archbishop, bishop and clergy, all under the colourful street lights put up for the event. After about two hours the chiariot arrives in Piazza Duomo where it leaves the statue of the Virgin and returns to the centre of Piazza Vittorio Veneto where in the frenzy, the crowd of spectators rips papier machè relics off the chariot which is completely destroyed in a matter of seconds. These relics, jealously guarded by those able to obtain them, are believed to bring good luck for the entire year, until the next festa and the construction of a new chariot.

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