Easter is a wonderful time to discover the true Calabria, rich in history and culture, thanks to the re-enactments of ancient sacred rituals dating back to the Byzantine, Roman and Greek era, which enliven the territory. Particularly exciting are the processions that pass through the medieval villages, such as the one held in Badolato, in the province of Catanzaro, on Holy Saturday.
Also known as the village of churches, Badolato today known as the model of hospitality and has played in the past an important religious role, having hosted the Basilian monks, Franciscans and Dominicans, who were responsible for the inception of numerous brotherhoods, and currently engaged in the management and preservation of magnificent churches and convents as testimony of past centuries.
In this village perched on a hill 240 meters above sea level, overlooking the charming Riviera of gelsomini, with breathtaking views, picturesque streets and solemn religious buildings, is every years renews the ritual of the passion of Christ in a procession that is able to convey the pathos of historical re-enactment that involves the whole community. For the occasion, the town is transformed into a “second Jerusalem” where over two hundred worshippers follow the carriers of the statue of Mary of Sorrows, those of “Varetta” with the dead Christ, the soldiers, the Thieves, the Centurions, the Jews who tug at Jesus under the cross, grievers, singers that at certain set places sing songs of Holy Week and the other brotherhoods of Badolato. Suggestive are the 70 Disciplinaries dressed in white hoods and wearing a crown of thorns and a rope and whip their shoulders with chains. A rite of Spanish origins dating back to 1802 and since then has always been respected, except for the period of World War II.
After this emotional moment and penance, Easter Sunday is a day of profound catharsis with “Cumprunta” taking place in three acts: the statues of the Risen Christ and the Virgin Mary dressed in mourning clothes carried through the streets and alleys of the village with young “tamburinàri” that act as messengers to announce the resurrection of Christ; the encounter, and finally the statues of Christ and the Madonna now no longer in mourning, brought on the shoulders of the brotherhoods; the time of the “dance of the banners” of the various brotherhoods of Rosario of the Immaculate and St. Catherine of Alexandria in honor of the risen Christ and the Madonna.
Remember though that you can leave Badolato without visiting its 12 churches, including the Chiesa dell’Immacolata, a church from the seventeenth century, mains street and the typical tower houses of three levels strictly built with “catoi” (special cellars dug into the rock).
After enjoying the beauty of the landscape, there remains only the doubt as to stay or go. A warning: there are various communities of Americans and Scandinavians who have decided to stay here! It is the authentic charm of Calabria.