This year's edition of the traditional procession in honour of Santa Rosa, the patron saint of Viterbo (Lazio) has had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, for the past couple of weeks, it has been possible to have a rare close up view of the spectacular 30 metre-high tower set up in front of the City Hall.
The “Macchina” is re-designed every few years according to a chosen theme. This year's version is “Gloria”, which succeeds “Flower of Heaven”. Constructed with fibre glass, resin and other materials supported by a steel frame, it is covered in elaborate carvings and weighs something like 5 tons. In normal years it is carried along a steep 1 km route through the narrow streets of the historic centre by over 100 “Facchini” (bearers). The task is almost superhuman and the difficulties involved in transporting such a heavy and unwieldy construction have caused some dramatic incidents in the past, fortunately without fatal consequences.
The “Macchina di Santa Rosa” event is listed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Text & Photo M. STENHOUSE