Tuesday, July 3

Montepertuso Festival

Last year, when I wrote my version of the legend of the pierced mountain (the Madonna was on th mountan here and the Devil challenged her to a duel, punching holes in the mountainside to determine who was more powerful. The madonna won by punching a house sized hole through the mountain.) I annoyed a few people by not taking their legend seriously and I am sorry. It is taken very seriously here and whenever I have raised the question of why the Madonna would travel all the way to a small village in South Italy I have been angrily told that I musn't make fun and it is a serious business. Jokes about the Madonna having unfeasibly large fists have not been well received either.

Last night the village with the hole in the mountain celebrated as it does every July 2nd with a midnight re-enaction of the legend followed by a firework display

Here is the Devil trying to punch a hole in the rock:

Once the Madonna has proved her power there is a torchlit procession from the hole in the mountain back down to the church, followed by a firework display set around the hole. As soon as the display finishes with an extra loud explosive that resonates around the valley, everyone starts to leave. The only road back down to Positano becomes crowded with cars and motorini weaving in and out of the pedestrians, all heading down at the same time.

Most children are forced to have a sleep in the afternoon so that they can stay up late and go to the festa. Along the streets of the village market stores set up for the evening, catering almost exclusively for children: balloons, candy, toys, goldfish and popcorn.

Last year I tried to buy Skye a candyfloss (cotton candy in American English) but for some reason she was terrified of it and ran away screaming. This year I prepared her and she couldn't wait to try a 'pink cloud thing on a lolly stick'. Most importantly for her was the gem she found in the toy stall...a real make up kit that 'really really works Mummy!' She sat with her friend and I watched in horror as they plastered blue eyeshadow and orange glitter onto their faces. She ran around for the rest of the evening looking like a mini transvestite with good dress sense.


  1. Reading this almost makes me want to change my trip next year so I can witness this in person...but that would mean I have to wait two extra weeks to be there!

  2. Yeah I'd love to see this for real as well. If I plan it right, perhaps I'll be able to when I go travelling in a couple of years time.

  3. this is the thing that always got me into trouble as a kid growing up in a catholic country. they ask you to believe the most preposterous things and get really quite irate when asked perfectly pertinent questions.

    but since it's italy, and if it means a lovely evening with fireworks and all that italian charm and sense of fun, then I'm all for it.

  4. Wasn't it awesome?
    As a local I confess to have never missed these fireworks.
    They're my favourite and whoever can travel aroudn that time, should defintely not miss them.
    Oh, and Poppy looked just adorable.
    Yet again, doesn't she always?

  5. Poppy Izzard.......excellent.

  6. I am very glad to know that I am not the only one giving you a hard time when you mock things like Holy Week Processions and A' Maronna.

    P.S. that story of that kid of yours with the makeup was priceless. You and Carlo must get such a kick out of her.

    Salutamme A' Maronna.


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