The Franciscan friars who built the chapel of the Madonna
of the Angels in the 1500s named it for the one in Assisi where St. Francis
founded their Order. Although the friars are gone, and part of the church
building too, it is still a focus of devotion for the people of Sternatia, about
a mile away in the heel of the Italian boot. Behind the stone statue of the
Madonna of the Angels on the main altar (right) is a faded fresco of the Virgin held to
be miraculous. On the Thursday after Easter, Sternatia celebrates its
pasquetta, little Easter, in her honor. After an early mass in Sternatia's
parish church, a procession goes to the Madonna's chapel, where another mass is
said. In the afternoon, there are festivities with games, music, and the
traditional tall greased pole topped with treats. The special food of the day is
cuddhure, rings of bread with hard-boiled eggs in the center.
|"Chiesa della Madonna degli Angeli - Sternatia,"
|Enrico Melissano, "Una giornata bucolica,"
Cicloamice Lecce, 13 Apr 2009,
|"Sternatia e la Madonna degli Angeli," Il Gallo,
08 Apr 2004, www.ilgallo.org/print.php?sid=344||
Photo by Pierluigi Luceri
uploaded 20 May 2008 to www.flickr.com/photos/pierluigi/2510178186/.
Other Apulian towns celebrate a Thursday pasquetta
of the Madonna:
|Madonna del Pozzo Faceto, Fasano, Brindisi, Apulia, Italy
(Madonna of the Strange Well)|
|Madonna dell'Arcona, Castrignano dei Greci, Lecce,
|Madonna dell'Itri, Nociglia, Lecce, Apulia,
|Madonna della Stella, San Cesario di Lecce,
Lecce, Apulia, Italy (Madonna of