Photos of Holy Week in Calabria

As I’ve written before, Holy Week is a huge deal here in Calabria. Here are some photos from the 2010 Sabato Santo (Holy Saturday) procession in Badolato:

I’m telling you, you really should come and see this in person.

18 Beans of Wisdom to “Photos of Holy Week in Calabria”
  1. Gil

    If only we had started getting acquainted with Italy earlier in our life. We spent a good part of Holy Week in Sicily my wife remembers being in Enna on Palm Sunday. I remember that it was nothing like I’d ever experienced. Thank you for posting all of the interesting information and pictures that you do.

    I’m sure you had a wonderful experience in Sicily as well; generally southern Italy takes these things quite seriously 😉

  2. Vanessa

    Wow that’s pretty graphic! I’m sure S would love it – maybe one year we will make it in person…..

    Well it *is* a crucifixion! The oddest thing is that this procession should really be held earlier in the week to follow the Biblical story (Jesus didn’t die only one day before he rose again); but somewhere along the line it was moved to accommodate something or other, and it stayed that way.

  3. 04.13.2010

    It’s not my favourite procession in Positano either. This year the Romans were on horses. Thank goodness they didn’t have to take the stairs!

    I can’t imagine the soldiers on horses! If I can get some videos uploaded in the next few days I’ll put those up too.

  4. Cathy

    I imagine that it would be quite something to see in person. It really would be nice to have the opportunity to explore more of southern Italy one day and hopefully we will get there one day. Thanks for posting these photos Michelle.

    Glad you appreciated the photos, Cathy!

  5. suzie

    wow, how scary…
    Didn’t children scream?!

    I saw a procession on Easter Sunday in Vibo Marina – molto piu allegro – of course, on Easter Sunday mankind got the hope for paradise…

    saluti (now back in Germany)

    We don’t have a procession on Sunday; instead we have “La Cumprunta” which is the reuniting of Jesus and the Madonna…very joyous and uplifting. I have posted video of it before. The children actually take part in the processions here from a really young age–basically as soon as they can walk for a good stretch, but even then, lots of parents carry them. I don’t have any photos of the smaller children this year b/c when they passed me they were kind of all over the place (surprise!).

  6. Molto intenso..very different from running around trying to find an Easter egg.
    .-= nyc/caribbean ragazza´s last blog ..SAID…A place in Rome for lovers of chocolate =-.

  7. 04.13.2010

    I would love to visit Badolato during Holy Week! I was in Rome for Easter Sunday, once, many years ago and that was such a wonderful experience.

    My husband wants to return one year for his town’s saint’s feast day –St. Rocco– he has fond memories of that!

    You should come Pat! And let me know when you’re in the area 🙂

    .-= Pat´s last blog ..Spring Angels, Flowers, and Beautiful Vistas =-.

  8. 04.13.2010

    I was in Sorrento last year for Easter and learned a lot more about the Settimana Santa processions, traditions etc. It’s quite remarkable, yes. My son did not scream, but was quite intimidated by the black cloaked Confratelli marching in silence thru the town alleyways. He shrieked only when one of them popped the hood and… it was our host, snickering at our surprize!

    Wonderful Michelle, as usual for sharing this here.

    Eleonora xx

    It’s a truly moving experience even for the nonreligious. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ele 🙂

    .-= Eleonora´s last blog ..other forms of Nurturing =-.

  9. 04.13.2010


    O….M…G… wow.

    That’s really something. Who orchestrates that whole thing? How long does it take?

    Very intense indeed. Glad I saw it here first!
    I immediately started wondering about psychology, religion, culture, history… all those things that when weaved together make something like this. Wow.


    Great photos

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

    The procession is organized by the different brotherhoods of the various churches; these things run in families, so basically the costumes are also handed down. Even though the churches don’t run anymore (except one), each family still has their loyalty to the parish their family belonged to way back when. It’s quite moving. This particular procession starts around 1 pm on Holy Saturday and finishes up around 10 pm…loooooong day 🙂

  10. 04.13.2010

    Very colourful but what is with the Ku Klux Klan members?

    The white hooded men and women are the penitent, the sinners; this procession has been around for centuries, so actually it’s the KKK who stole the hoods and made them into something horrible.

    .-= running42k´s last blog ..Monday =-.

  11. 04.15.2010

    Such somber photos, but fascinating, though! Lara and Terry from Gran Tourismo blog also posted some Holy Week photos from Perpignan in the Pyrenees. The penitents were all wearing those KKK cloaks. That’s too bad that these cloaks are more recognizable as “KKK” rather than as an element in old-school Christian customs.

    Will check out Lara and Terry’s photos…love their blogs!

    .-= jen laceda´s last blog ..Musée d’Orsay: On French Impressionists =-.

  12. Incredible and moving photographs, Michelle. Thanks for sharing! I saw the Venerdì Santo procession for the first time this year in Amalfi. But they hold it at night by torch light so my photos didn’t come out as good as yours. Need to get them up on Ciao Amalfi!

    I’m sure it’s a great atmosphere, though, even if it’s not great for photos!

    .-= Laura from Ciao Amalfi´s last blog ..Spring Blossoms on the Amalfi Coast =-.

  13. Mary Amabile Palmer

    Dear Michelle,

    Thank you so much for sharing those photos with everyone. I also enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. Keep up the very good work!

    Love, Mary

    Thanks so much Mary!

  14. 04.21.2010

    Thanks so much for posting these pictures! We saw similar processions this year on the Amalfi coast, especially Piano Sorrento and Sant’ Agnello, both near Sorrento. In Sant’ Agnello, the processions were on Thursday and Friday of Holy Week at night and the participants wore the same hooded robes. Since it was night we didn’t get very good pictures. The traditions are fascinating!

    Glad you got to experience some of the unique traditions, GG!

  15. Incredible to think this procession has been a part of the history of the town for so long, and that the costumes are handed down through generations. Wonderful vivid images and I find the devotion and tradition fascinating.
    ciao and Happy Easter

    michelle Reply:

    Thx Lisa; it’s an amazing thing to witness for sure.

  16. When you post photos like these, it helps me better understand why this holiday was so special to my grandmother. She would begin preparations weeks ahead, with her cooking, her special palm weavings and her holy cards. As a child I actually was frightened by the gore of the images of holy week…but seeing the Calabria depictions explain somewhat the history of these intense depictions. Thank you Michelle.



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake