I have always been fascinated by popular legends. Italy is full of tales that have been passed on from generation to generation and got to us containing a part of truth and lots of fantasy. In some cases, these stories give an aura of mystery to a place, while in others they give explanations to things and events that, if one only looks at them with logic, would be inexplicable.
Today I’ll tell you about the legend of Saint Domenica and the festival that every year the people of Scorrano, in Apulia, dedicates her with its spectacular light architectures that earned the town the name of World Capital of Luminaries.
CHURCH OF SAINT DOMENICA – SCORRANO, APULIA
But let’s take a step back. Back in the 1600s, when the people of Scorrano were going through a plague epidemic, Saint Domenica appeared to an old woman in a dream on the ancient town walls. She told her that she had spontaneously decided to become the town’s protector and, as a sign of benevolence, to free the people from the plague.
The Saint also asked the woman to tell the priest about that dream, guaranteeing that all those who were sick would be saved and, once they were healed, they had to make it known to the rest of the town by leaving an oil lamp alight on their windowsill. In little time, all the town’s windows were illuminated and the plague was definitively eradicated.
STATUE OF SAINT DOMENICA – SCORRANO, APULIA
Since then, every year that followed the people of Scorrano celebrated Saint Domenica on July 6th, just like she had requested, since it was the date of her martyrdom and they lighted lamps on their windowsills to remember the oil lamps the Saint had asked for.
Today there is electricity, therefore electric lamps have taken the place of the previous ones, while the whole town is masterfully decorated with every kind of luminary, by true masters who even export their light works overseas.
Arcs, espaliers, pediments, and galleries create extraordinary effects and light tricks, accompanied by a musical scenography enriched by fireworks. They are imposing implants, able to reach titanic dimensions: up to 36 meters of height and 40 meters of width.
Masterful architectures reproduce castles, towers, cathedrals and monuments, enriched by spheres, candelabrums, and other 3D elements that make thousands of spectators every year walk for several minutes with their eyes to the sky, leaving even the most exigent ones stupefied.
If you want to admire such beauty with your own eyes, you have time until July 9th, 2015.