Every year on the 4th of September the Macchina di Santa Rosa procession takes place in Viterbo. This originally ordinary procession was later called Macchina, referring to the construction with which the statue of the saint is carried through Viterbo.
Macchina di Santa Rosa Festival Viterbo
History and description
The parade that carries the “walking bell tower” is carried through the town starts at the Chiesa della Crocetta and ends in the square in front of the Santa Maria delle Rose Church.
As the last part of the route is very dangerous, it is forbidden to stand there during the procession. Only the families of the bearers of the colossus can obtain special permission to do so, as they are the ones to give the facchini (the name by which the bearers are known) their coats at the end of the procession to cover their sweaty, tired bodies.
The alley on the right of the Via di Santa Rosa is where the “miracle of the roses”, a miraculous event in the saint’s life, took place. She had hidden bread under her apron to give to the poor, but when her father, who was not one of the wealthier citizens of the city, asked her what she had was carrying, she said it was roses. When she opened up her apron, rose petals fluttered down.
In Viterbo there is also a museum dedicated to this annual event, the Sodalizio dei Facchini di Santa Rosa, where photographs and scale models of the Macchina over the years are on display.