Don’t miss the chance to join the Marsican town of Collelongo’s traditional & very unique communal celebration for the Egyptian hermit, San’Antonio Abate that dates back 4 centuries!
Enjoy songs, a glass of wine and a bowl of ‘cicerocchi’. This is cooked by 7 local families who soak dried corn kernels in the lead to the event which are then cooked in a copper pot called a cottora and seasoned with oil and peperoncini. Helping to stir the cooking corn is believed to bring good luck! Expect to find the rooms where the cottora is slowly simmering lovingly decorated with rows of oranges, baskets of eggs, dried fruit and in the middle a painting of Sant’Antonio Abate.
The church’s statue of Sant’Antonio Abate is also beautifully decorated with citrus fruits and eggs. Aa bonfire is lit outside the church for townsfolk and visitors to gather around & sing the traditional songs of the saint and spend a spirit warming dark winter’s night out together.
At the first light of dawn the distribution of the cicerocchi begins: first of all the girls of the town wearing traditional old costumes and holding copper conca decorated with flowers and ribbons, go to the church to offer the saint a large quantity of cicerocchi, which is then consumed by ‘devotees’ and guests. Afterwards the families who have lovingly prepared the cicerocchi get to eat!
Marriage, Now Just a Prize
There is a prize for the most originally decorated ‘rescagnata’, originally the girls would decorate these with sugared almonds to subtly state they were eligible for marriage. The festival continues throughout the day with religious and popular ceremonies in honour of the saint.
Watch the Town’s Video
Programme for Collelongo’s Cicerocchi
See the Facebook event page for the full time schedule for the 2-day event.
Text adapted from Maria Concetta Nicolai’s book – Abruzzo, 150 Antiche Feste
Read the local folklore story – Collelongo & the Werewolves that Washed in its Fountain
How to Reach Collelongo
Collelongo is a large village that sits on the slopes of Mount Malpasso in the Transaquana Valley, 915 meters above sea level and at Km 86 from L’Aquila.