Each year, the 21st of September 3, helds in Viterbo the transportation of the Macchina di Santa Rosa, a tradition of faith and passion that is renewed since 750 years.
The machine consists of an illuminated tower, 28 meters high and weighing 50 tons, lit by torches and electric lights, carried on the shoulders through the dark streets of the city on a path not without pitfalls by 100 men, called Facchini; the procession has always been loved and many people, along the way, encourage Facchini (dressed in traditional white uniform with red sash – white symbolizes the purity of the spirit of the patron and red is about the cardinals who in 1258 translated the body of Santa Rosa) in completion of an impressive display of strength and faith.

The festival is dedicated to the patron Santa Rosa, lived in the XIII century and died only 18 years old, who was adored and revered by inhabitants of Viterbo since Pope Alexander IV, on 4th September 1258, ordered the solemn transfer of the intact body of Santa Rosa from the modest grave in Santa Maria del Poggio to the Monastery of Poor Clares; the simple canopy on which the transfer was made, grew with the years in great detail, arts facilities and additional height. With time, a statue of Santa Rosa on its top replaced the one only with the body, which was preserved in the dedicated church, and the celebration was divided into two distinct parts: the afternoon of September 2nd with a parade of Corteo Storico (in which the relic of the heart of the saint is carried in procession) and on the evening of September 3rd with the actual transport.

The church is given the so-called benedizione in articulo mortis by the Bishop along with the Cavalieri of Santa Rosa (ie Facchini), who prepares the Facchini themselves to the sacrifices they will face heroically to carry with strength and faith the immense weight of the machine for over a kilometer. The Facchini are divided into various categories depending on the position they have and the tasks they perform, for instance the ciuffi, the spallette and the stanghette take place under the beams at the base of the machine ready for the orders of the Chief of the Facchini shouting “Sotto col ciuffo e fermi!”, “Sollevate e fermi!” and then “Per Santa Rosa, avanti!” .

After five stops (in Piazza Fontana Grande, Piazza del Plebiscita, Piazza delle Erbe, Corso Italia and Piazza Verdi or Theatre), the Facchini have to carry the great final effort, to climb a steep path that leads uphill to the shrine. Is made almost at a run, with the aid of strings in addition to front and rear beams which push some levers.

The machine is changed every 5 years, with an ideas competition sponsored by the Town Council.

For ticket reservations and other information: InfoViterbo.it
To see all the machines: Antonio Bracandoro