MAY
16-17
   
The worship of St Albert dates back to the 12th century, the town and diocese of Montecorvino honoured their bishop St. Albert with a public worship until he died. After the complete destruction of Montecorvino, the worship of the Saint was kept on by the inhabitants of Pietra, Motta and Volturino who had collected the historical heritage and memory of the ancient Montecorvino. According to the tradition, St. Albert came in a dream to two women from Pietra asking them to leave on a penitential pilgrimage to the ruins of Montecorvino. In 1889, following a serious period of drought, the people called on the help of their patron saint, holding processions within the town. Tradition says that St Albert (S. Alberto), appeared in a dream to two women of Pietra, advising them to go on a penitential pilgrimage to the ruins of Montecorvino. So on 16th May 1889 the people of Pietra, along with the devout from Motta and Volturino made a pilgrimage to Montecorvino carrying the statue of St Albert on their shoulders. The long awaited rain came immediately after they came back to the town, and as the farmers themselves said, that year they harvested “more grain than straw”. Since then, every year on 16th May the statue of St Albert is carried by a procession to the ruins of the ancient cathedral in Montecorvino. Hence, on 16th of May 1889 the people from Pietra, together with the faithful coming from Motta and Volturino, walked towards Montecorvino carrying the statue of St. Albert on their shoulders. From that moment on, the 16th of May of every year the statue of St. Albert is carried in procession to Montecorvino up to the ruins of the ancient cathedral.
The statue of the saint is accompanied along the whole path by the peculiar palij: long tree trunks covered with multi-coloured tissues, carried upright by a group of people. The palio used to be decorated 3 to 4 days before the celebration day with tissues and shawls, hold together by means of swaddling bands, collected from different houses and returned at the end of the celebration. Some days before the celebration, the palij are decorated with the tissues kept by the different groups. On the top of each palio, long colourful ribbons are added as well as a plume which characterizes the different teams of carriers. In the mourning of May 16th, the palij are taken to Largo Rosario where the “oldest” palio will be taken ahead and closest to the saint while the others will walk in procession. After the mass, a propitiatory ceremony is celebrated in Monte Corvino in favour of farming with the blessing of the cardinal points.
The statue of the saint is taken to the four sides of the cathedral's ruins and placed with the face turned towards the fields and the crops are blessed.
   
 



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Testi e Foto di Carolina Niro