Rosalia in Palermo: the Saint and “the Festino”

It’s quite impossible to find any girls named Rosalia in Milan, Turin or in the North of Italy. But this name is very often used in Palermo.  Santa Rosalia (Santa Rusulia for the native) is the Saint Patron of Palermo.

Her personal history is quite complex and charming.

She was born in Palermo on 1130 in a noble family called Sinibaldi and she died very young, she was only 26 years old during her pilgrimage on Monte Pellegrino (the big Mountain that overtops Palermo).

Before the 1624 a.c. Palermo had four different Saints: Oliva, Cristina, Ninfa e Agata.

That year, she became the Saint Patron of the city when during the plague, some citizen carried her restive around the town and in this way they won the terrible epidemic.

From that event, Palermo dedicates her  a spectacular Holy day on July 14 called “il festino” (“ u fistinu” for the native). It starts in the evening from Piazza Vittoria (where you can find the marvellous gardens of Palazzo dei Normanni) with a big procession accompanied by the musical band.  It takes about two hours to continue across via Vittorio Emanuele, to stop in the middle of the  “Quattro Canti” (the real heart of Palermo with four similar buildings built where the main street crosses via Maqueda) and to arrive in front of the sea.  When the process joined the biggest part of the promenade marvellous pyrotechnics start.

Moreover, there is another important appointment dedicated at the “Santuzza“….it takes place on the 4 Septmber ….. the traditional “acchianata” (“walk up” in dialect) to Monte Pellegrino to join the Sanctuary.

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