Next September 3rd, according to a centuries-old annual tradition, the Machine of Saint Rose (or “Macchina di Santa Rosa”) will parade down the streets of Viterbo. The 30-meter-tall “tower of light” weighs five tons, and will brighten the evening of the beautiful city in Lazio.
The event is a symbolic reenactment of the transfer of the mortal remains of Viterbo’s patron saint, which in 1258 were deposed in the Sanctuary dedicated to her, where they can be visited to this day. Approximately one hundred porters carry a “walking bell tower” (according to journalist Orio Vergani’s definition) on their shoulders, for a little more than one kilometer, starting from the Church of San Sisto, near Porta Romana.
“That meteor that projects its radiance all the way to houses’ roofs, and reflects beautifully on the heads of the crowd, descended majestically from the square… emitting, as it quickly passes, light flashes in the side streets, in the windows and in the homes in front of which it moves…”
Roman scholar Gaetano Moroni’s description (from “Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica da san Pietro ai nostri giorni”) dates back to the second half of the 19th century, but still paints a beautiful picture of the feast of Saint Rose in Viterbo.
Every five years, the city issues a public tender for the project of a new tower. The one in the gallery below was used in the parades between 2009 and 2014: known as “Flower of Heaven”, it was designed by Arturo Vittori.
Photos via: ©Giorgia Basile, ©brunopagnanelli.it, ©Giovanni Simoncelli, ©edonx 2, ©www.stevebisgrove.com, ©www.tusciaweb.eu, ©www.lapresse.it, ©Claudia Perilli, ©Daniele Frediani, ©Tuscia Lets, ©Siggesigge