Matera Italy Tradition and the Future ~ Romancing Italy

Apr 2, 2009

Matera Italy Tradition and the Future

Matera ChiesaWhen I visited Matera at the end of August in 2008 there were a few things that were immediately noticable. The first was the intense heat (magnified by the black protective motorbike pants I had donned for our ride). Another was how barren the land was, due to the heat and to large quantity of rock (sassi). How and why do people live in places like this?

The Festa della Madonna Bruna

The quiet that greeted us, although the old center is a tourist draw, could very well have been because every sane person was well within the shady cover of their homes or hotels. So when I ran across James's Wandering Italy Blog and the post about the Festa della Madonna Bruna in Matera in July(!!!) I decided that the locals are either die-hard traditionalists or really very bored.

In brief, an intricately made float of the Madonna, made in paper, is carted throughout the streets during the hot daylight hours. Towards nightfall, the float is then protected by the town police, only to fall siege to marauding youth. A real fight ensues and at some point the youth tear the float apart. And everyone is happy.

Matera's Tradition is Meaningful

Read James's entertaining account for a better 'view'. For those who just see the action, it seems the citizens of Matera have succumed to the intense heat. But the festival is symbolic; an acting out of their hopes for themselves and in the future of their youth. In James's words:
"The youth, representing new ideas and rebirth, had torn apart the old, established order. And this sign of rebirth meant that fertility would come to the fields, and the hard life being scratched out of Basilicata's soil would be a little less tedious with the harvest to come."
On a personal level, it makes me think of what things in my life need to be ripped out in order for me to see more growth in my life. I know I get too comfortable and habits, good and bad, set down roots which prevent any other good thing from growing. Time to go weeding.


  1. Some deep thinking going on here. I suppose certain things you see and experience have that effect. Not a bad thing at all.

  2. Greetings from the city of ceramic art-Deruta


Whisper sweet somethings