MuzeuCamogli - San Fortunato Bonfires Exhibition
Dear Visitor, what you are going to start is a journey through time, that will get you to live a unique experience, a journey between myth and history...
Every year on the second weekend of May, on the occasion of the celebrations in honor of "San Fortunato", Camogli is illuminated for the festival.
During the Saturday, thousands of tourists fill the narrow streets of the town and come to admire the bonfires, spectacular constructions built on the beach, the procession, which ends with the chest of the patron saint rushed up the stairs of the Basilica Santa Maria Assunta, and fireworks.
But this is just the epilogue of the celebrations, which actually begin several weeks earlier and that for the people of Camogli represent the most important event of the year.
An anniversary that has its roots in ancient times, between legend and tradition...
It is said that at the beginning of the 18th century, Camogli mainly lived from fishing. Its inhabitants, since they spent long periods at sea, invoked the protection of "Nostra Signora del Boschetto" (Our Lady of the Grove), patroness of the city, to protect them.
This led to the need to find a saint dedicated to fishermen and sailors, and so it was that the priest of Camogli, Father Pellegrino De Negri, asked to Pope Clement 11th (1700 - 1721) to locate one. The Pope pointed to an unnamed Roman legionary, converted to Christianity, and killed in the circus by his own comrades.
In 1710, some people of Camogli, traveled to Civitavecchia aboard a galley, to recover the remains of the martyr assigned to them by the Pope, but on the return journey they were surprised by a terrible storm, and at that time turned their prayers to the anonymous saint they had on board.
Their prayers were heard, the storm subsided and the sailors did return to the harbor, safe and unharmed. The urn containing the relics of the saint was placed in the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta.
From that moment, it was decided that the second Sunday of May would be dedicated to the saint, called Fortunato, and was chosen to celebrate it with a solemn procession, during which the saint was invoked, asking to find good weather and abundant fishing.
Even today, the day before the "Sagra del Pesce", during the evening and the night the festival takes place: a procession carries an effigy of the saint through the town, followed by the band and by the faithful.
Around midnight the fireworks show begins and when it ends, two huge bonfires built on the beach are set to fire. The bonfires are prepared by the "Porto" and "Pinetto" Districts, competing for who produces the most spectacular and enduring.
The tradition survives thanks to the spirit of the guys of Camogli, so attached to their charming little town, and is handed down and shared rediscovering delicate details of a history that goes back in the centuries, and that comes back to light with this exhibition, which collects texts, photos and videos, creating a unique archive, so that all may know the modern Camogli starting from his past.
And where else if not at the "Castle of the Dragonara" (or Castel Dragun) monument and symbol of the town ...
Camogli Town Hall
"Pro Loco" of Camogli
City Library "Niccolò Cuneo"
Cassandra Azevedo Maggiolo (English Audio)
Martina Testa (Italian Audio)
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