Friday 16 August 2013

Ferragosto Fireworks

It may or may not have escaped your notice that yesterday, the 15th August, was Ferragosto - a Bank Holiday, as well as the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This traditional holiday dates back to the year 18 BC & I guess that's why the early Christians chose the date to celebrate Mary's assumption into heaven, in an effort to gain more converts to the faith. Here in the Cilento, 'The Land of the Madonna', we witness the processing of the statue of the Virgin Mary & Child on a circuitous tour from the Santuario di Santa Maria a Mare, along Marina Piccola, stopping at La Torre Perrotti to be venerated before meandering through the narrow alleyways and returning to her rightful place within the church. Yesterday evening, hubby & I watched this from the terrace of Bar L'Ancora before going to dine at Lo Sparviero (yes, we ate there again!).

By the time we'd eaten dinner it was 11 pm & the streets were thronging with people trying to gain a good position to watch the midnight fireworks. Hubby & I decided that our best option would be to sit on the beach, but the picnic blanket was in the car, so we trooped back along Corso Matarazzo & back up the hill to where we'd parked at the side of the main road (parking within Santa Maria itself during August is nigh on impossible). Blanket retrieved, we set off back to Marina Piccola & managed to secure ourselves a 'front row' spot, feet almost being tickled by the gentle lapping waves of the incoming tide. 15 minutes later, a large boom announced that it was midnight & the fireworks were about to begin.

But, this being Italy - and southern Italy at that - nothing happened for another 5 minutes. And then began an amazing pyrotechnics display, which had the thousands of us watching clapping our hands, whistling & whooping with appreciation.

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