The Easter Arches – also known as Bread Arches – whose tinted shadows envelop the main street in the small Sicilian town of San Biagio Platani, Agrigento – have a long history that started way back in the 18th century, recorded for the first time in 1776.
They are made by the members of two confraternities: one devout to the Holy Sacrament – “Signurara” in the local dialect, from the Italian “Signore”, meaning “of the Lord” – and the other devout to the Holy Rosary – “Madunnara”, meaning of the Madonna.
In great secrecy, during the months leading to Easter Sunday, the two groups work to make domes, vaults, fountains, bell towers and many more intricate architectural dreams come true – using laurel, asparagus, canes, rosemary, dates, willow branches, citrus fruit, bread and other natural elements. It all adds up to a gorgeous gallery, set up like a church with a façade, a nave, and an apse for the joyous reunion between the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus, after his resurrection.
Obviously the two confraternities challenge each other in grandiosity and beauty. But in the end, Easter here is a triumph for all.