Madonna di Montagnola

July 3, 2009 / Events
Chiaravalle, Le Marche

Non ce la faccio. Arriva la Madonna,” my grandmother says, when I asked her if she was coming to lunch on Sunday. Nonna skipping lunch is quite rare as she has the body of an 88-year-old but the appetite of a prize fighter. Nothing usually stands in the way of Nonna getting her much-anticipated Sunday lunch. Nothing, apparently, except the Madonna.

The Madonna coming to Chiaravalle is not quite as strange as it would seem, and has nothing to do with Mary coming back to life. La Madonna is actually a rather beautiful painting of the Madonna della Mercede, liberated from her usual home in a small church in the Montagnolo-Pinocchio neighborhood of Ancona. Every third Sunday of May, she comes down from the mountain (more of a large hill, really), to tour a few small towns, strapped to a makeshift pedestal on the roof of an unassuming Italian car, with flowers and speakers on either side. Perhaps very contadino (in this sense “rural”), yet so awesome.

The most amazing part about a Madonna who “makes rounds”, however, is the crowds of people of all ages who come out, just as they used to a hundred years ago, when she was carried down to Chiaravalle on foot. Everyone welcomes her with rose petals laid out in driveways, streets, and town squares, in various shapes of sacred imagery.

As she makes her way to the Abbazia di S. Maria in Castagnola, where she will stay for a few hours before moving on to another little town, she is greeted by all: the town band, the town priest, children who just received their first communion, babies, senior citizens in their Sunday best, freshly-coiffed ladies, adolescent teens on their way home from their weekly soccer game . . . and just about everyone in between.

Pretty ladies always get lots of attention. And this one is most certainly no exception.


– Contributed by Enrica Frulla, a marketing consultant and copywriter living in Le Marche.

Enrica Frulla

by Enrica Frulla

Enrica was born in Italy, raised in the United States and is now living in Senigallia, on the coast of the beautiful Le Marche region. A marketing consultant in a past life, Enrica is now a freelance translator. Recently, her creativity and passion for telling people what to do has also  “translated” into an event planning business.

2 Responses to “Madonna di Montagnola”

  1. Harold Mancusi-Ungaro Sr.

    I can not tell you how very much your daily articles such as today’s on “La Madonna di Montagnola” are. Each one gives an insight to some special place, person or event and it is done so tenderly. I have been to Italy many times, as often as twice a year back in the ’60’s and ’70’s but I never saw it all!!! Your interesting articles help fill up the blanks that I failed to fill. I look forward to your daily
    features that somehow bring me home again. Thank you so very much.

  2. Claudia McCadden

    God Bless the people of these little towns. How well that they still keep the tradition. It must be so beautiful to have everyone of each town come out and adore the Madonna.
    What a beautiful sight. Thank you for sharing this wonderful and inspiring story.


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