From 22th to 26th july – Acireale (CT)
Baroque festival in honor of Santa Venera Vergine e Martire, main patron of the City of Acireale (Catania) and of the Diocese. The festival culminates with the “laps” of the Saint on the silvery fercolo accompanied by the characteristic Candelore on days 25 and 26 (solemnity of Santa Venera) on the streets of Acireale. The celebrations of Santa Venera begin on the first Sunday of July with the exit of the four characteristic candelore through the streets of the city. These are large and colorful candles in engraved wood, carried on the shoulders by skilled men representing the guilds of Arts and Crafts (shoemakers, bakers, fishmongers, masons and craftsmen). Usually a lively orchestra accompanies the typical “annacata” dance (shaking, shaking, in Sicilian dialect) of the candelore to the rhythm of a festive musical march.
Walking through Acireale one constantly comes across testimonies on Santa Venera which, according to what is said, repeatedly preserved the town of which it is patron from the eruptions of Etna and limited the damage of the many earthquakes in the area, such as that of 1693 which destroyed almost completely Catania. Its baroque chapel in the Duomo, built between 1658 and 1687, is decorated with eighteenth-century frescoes and the altarpiece by Antonio Filocamo; while in the sacristy is kept the silver fercolo which parades in the procession of July 26, liturgical feast of the saint.
From the beginning of the celebrations, on June 26th, we reach the climax with the Concert of Cantatas in Santa Venera Patrona on July 24th, the only concert of its kind that includes the execution of the most beautiful pages of the ancient musical chapel of the Town Hall, written in honor of Santa Venera by the most accredited Chapel Masters of the XVIII – XX centuries performed by the Musical Chapel of the Venerable Royal Chapel of Santa Venera and on July 26 with the Solemn Pontifical in the morning and the evening procession and Cantata of the hymn to the Patron Saint performed from the Musical Chapel of the Venerable Royal Chapel of Santa Venera together with some choirs of the Diocese of Acireale.
The party ends at nightfall when an audience of people gathered in the square greets the return of the patron saint to the church and the joyful sound of the bells of the Cathedral and the suggestive fireworks that color the Acese sky.