- 03. 09. 2024
- All Day
La Macchina di Santa Rosa
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La Macchina di Santa Rosa
A spectacle of light and tradition in Viterbo
The unique tradition of transporting the Santa Rosa machine in Viterbo
In the picturesque town of Viterbo, Italy, there is a fascinating annual event that captures the hearts of locals and attracts visitors from all over the world – La Macchina di Santa Rosa. This impressive celebration, which raises the statue of Santa Rosa, the city’s patron saint, high above the rooftops of Viterbo, combines religious devotion with spectacular lighting and captivates the crowds.
The history of the Santa Rosa machine
The origins of the Santa Rosa machine date back to 1258, when the transfer of the relics of Santa Rosa took place from the church of Santa Maria in Poggio to the church of Santa Maria delle Rose (now Santuario di Santa Rosa) in Viterbo. To celebrate this important event, it was decided to transport a larger-than-life statue of the saint on a canopy, and over the centuries this machine became more and more imposing.
In 1967 the tradition was revolutionized when Giuseppe Zucchi won the competition for the new Santa Rosa machine. The machine called “Volo D’Angeli” broke with previous traditions and became the first sculpture created for the occasion. The era of modern Santa Rosa machines began, and the color scheme was uniformly white and gray.
The Modern Era of Santa Rosa Machines
Since then, various architects and builders have realized their own vision of the Santa Rosa machine. In 2003, Raffaele Ascenzi’s “Ali di Luce” was born, introducing materials such as fiberglass and modern lighting technologies. In 2009, the “Fiore del Cielo” was presented, designed by architects Arturo Vittori and Andreas Vogler, using state-of-the-art materials.
The Santa Rosa machine has undergone many changes over the years, but its importance as a symbol of the city of Viterbo and its patron saint Santa Rosa has remained constant. It is the most important event in the city calendar and attracts locals and tourists alike.
The transport of the Santa Rosa machine
The highlight of this event is the spectacular transport of the Santa Rosa machine through the narrow streets and squares of the historic center of Viterbo. This transport, carried out by hundreds of men called “Facchini di Santa Rosa”, begins in the evening of September 3 and covers a distance of a little more than a kilometer.
The street lights are turned off and the city plunges into darkness while the glowing machine takes center stage. The transport is not only a visual spectacle, but also an emotional journey, with people shouting “Evviva Santa Rosa!” and recreating the symbolic transfer of Santa Rosa’s relics.
The importance of Santa Rosa for Viterbo
Santa Rosa is not only a religious figure for the people of Viterbo, but also a symbol of unity and pride. The Santa Rosa machine unites the community and shows the determination of the locals to keep their traditions alive.
The event has faced numerous challenges over the years, including technical difficulties and even accidents. But the tradition of the Santa Rosa machine lives on and remains a unique event that impressively represents the culture and pride of Viterbo.
The future of the Santa Rosa machine
The Santa Rosa machine has evolved over the centuries and will continue to do so in the future. New generations of Facchini and architects will continue the tradition and take the Santa Rosa machine into a new era.
The event remains an integral part of life in Viterbo and will continue to attract visitors from all over the world who want to witness this unique spectacle.
In a world where traditions are often lost, the Santa Rosa Machine remains a living example of the importance of preserving cultural heritage and celebrating history and faith together. It is a shining light in the darkness and a symbol of unity and pride of a city.
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Photos: © facebook – macchinasantarosa / Amras Carnesîr, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons / By Dd11 CC BY-SA 3.0