A castle on fire, a gulf filled with colorful flames

August 1, 2013 / Events
Rapallo, Liguria

The Riviera town of Rapallo celebrates it’s patron saint in style.  A 3-day celebration of fireworks and processions honors the Madonna di Montallegro, whose santuario and basilica lie in the mountains above the village, accessible easily by car or more amusingly by cablecar, which swings through the Ligurian mountains over the Gulf of Tigullio below.

As the town divides itself into “quarters” based on districts, each year a different district is responsible for honoring the patron saint of the city on the day that she first appeared to a farmer in the mountains above.  The different sestrieri are all color coded and full of neighborhood pride, as the long seaside promenade is filled with food stands and long picnic tables serving local food, each neighborhood eyeing the others nightly offerings with a healthy rivalry.

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Dinner is served!
Dinner is served!

After dinner, the sestrieri salute each other with fireworks, and honor the Madonna with a breathtaking display that takes hours.  Perhaps the most incredible is the symbolic burning of the castle, during which the stone castle that normally stands guard somberly in the gulf is covered in firework flames, dripping in red, white and green, drawing smiles and gasps from visitors and locals alike.

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Christine Mitchell

by Christine Mitchell

Christine has a Master’s Degree in Food Studies and Culture from New York University, and spends most of her waking hours cooking food, serving food at La Cantina Di Miky, happily talking about food and writing about food – and wouldn’t have it any other way, except maybe with an Italian craft beer in her hand.

You can follow her adventures on her blog, www.lifeinliguria.blogspot.com and you can follow Monterosso’s continued progress on www.rebuildmonterosso.com.

5 Responses to “A castle on fire, a gulf filled with colorful flames”

  1. Christine, With all the things going on in my life at the moment it would a welcome treat to take a load off by watching something this beautiful, not to mention the food and the people you are enjoying it with. Great article.

    Reply
  2. Anna Mangus

    What are the dates of the 3 day festival? Would not want to miss it!

    Reply
    • Christine Mitchell

      July 1-3! It’s a blast (literally), you should really check it out!

      Reply

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