I Misteri di Trapani (the Procession of the Mysteries), Sicily

There are so many things to love about our historic Italy, and the pride we have for our country.  One of the things that we love most is our commitment to traditions and time-honored, ritualistic celebrations.  The efforts that go into planning and preparing for these events is nothing short of miraculous!  The Holy Week in Sicily is just one example when we recognize not only the religious aspects of the Easter season but also the rebirth of spring.

Palermo, Sicily’s capital city, is a great place to begin your Sicilian journey.

Different villages on our island do various things to celebrate the Easter season including reenactments, parades, music, doves, and flowers with the culmination being the “ncuontru” or the moment Madonna encounters the risen Christ.

Since fantastic Italian Easter meals go along with all celebrations, why not enjoy a Palermo Street Food tour while you’re in the area?

One of the oldest and most significant celebrations is in lovely, seaside Trapini where Good Friday has been celebrated since at least 1612.  This tradition relates to the 17th-century brotherhood Confraternita del Preziosissimo Sangue di Cristo, founded in Trapani in 1602.  The group commissioned local artists to create statues representative of the moments of the Passion of Christ.  The Brotherhood later merged with an existing group known as Confraternita di San Michele.  Today the group’s name is the Confraternita di San Michele Arcangelo.  The enormous cost associated with maintaining the ancient statues became so great that the brotherhood involved local merchants in helping support the effort.

We can highly recommend a tour that includes Tripani.  Visit of the ancient town of Segesta, with its well preserved Greek Theater and the magnificent Doric Temple, dating from the last 30 years of the 5th century.  Then head off to the quaint medieval town of Erice, offering a charming panorama of the Aegadian Islands and the coast of Trapani.

The role of the merchants in the procession has increased over the years, and their competitive nature has led to top-secret decoration activities that aren’t available until the very last minutes when the statues are unveiled on the first Friday of Lent.  With the involvement of about 20 local merchants, some of the statues have become known by the group of merchants who maintain the work of art.  For example, the statue representing the is associated with the tailor industry.  Other merchants involved include bakers, butchers, grocers and others.

The Trapani procession lasts a full 24 hours and begins at 2 pm on Good Friday (March 30).  The statues travel through Trapani by the “portatori,” or volunteers who carry them on their shoulders and walk with a step called “nnacata,” which is akin to rocking sideways.

You really aren’t permitted to visit Sicily, without including our Fiat 500 tour following the steps of the second and third Godfather movies.  Follow our tour leader car to discover the beautiful villages of Savoca and Forza D’Agrò where Francis Ford Coppola shot the movies.  You will drive one of our fantastic Classic Convertible Fiat 500, and it will be like taking a giant step back in time.  And you don’t want to wake up to horse head!  This tour is, indeed, an offer you cannot refuse friends (thank you Don Corleone for the quote)!

Come back to visit our blog regularly, for more interesting Holy Week activities in Sicily.

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