Holy Week processions of great intensity are celebrated in many towns of the Etruria/Tuscia region where ancient traditions continue, often enhanced by modern technology.
In Vetralla the story of Christ’s passion is re-enacted by young people in realistic costumes and make up. The procession, directed by Agostino Cecchini, is actually a religious sound and light show with drummers, Roman soldiers on horseback and weeping crowds.
Barefoot penitents in hooded robes drag heavy chains in the processions staged in Bagnaia, Orte, Bagnoregio and Tuscania. In the village of Blera candles light the narrow streets where the only sound is that of horse hoofs on the cobblestones and the chanting of litanies that date back hundreds of years.
Saturday is set aside for preparing the Easter feast based on roast lamb and some families still make the traditional cakes known as pizze di Pasqua which will be eaten on Easter Sunday brunch along with sliced meats and hard-boiled eggs, symbolizing the resurrection,
At 5 p.m. on Easter afternoon, Tarquinia, 100 kms north of Rome, is host to the most picturesque celebration-the Resurrection Race when the prized statue of Christ in Glory is carried through the streets to the music of the town band, pealing church bells and colorful confetti being shot from guns.
Nine tall crosses decked with leafy garlands similar to Celtic crosses are carried on an uphill run. If the sun shines and the Christ statue “dances” Cristo che balla during this uphill race, it will be a good year, tradition says.