Corpus Domini in Orvieto is a colourful two day festival celebrating the miracle of Bolsena. It is held on the Pentecost weekend which in 2011 is 25 & 26 June.
The townsfolk dress up in splendid medieval costumes, the women on Saturday, the men on Sunday, children on both days.
The miracle is said to have occurred in 1263 and the cathedral of Orvieto was built to house the sacred relics. The story goes that a Bohemian priest celebrating mass in Bolsena on his way to Rome and overcome by doubts about the transubstantiation (the turning of the bread and water into the actual body and blood of Jesus) was reassured when the host started to bleed and spattered onto the cloth. The stained linen has been preserved as a sacred relic in a fine enamel reliquary on show in the cathedral, but now too fragile to be paraded through the town.
Corteo delle Dame: June 25, 4.00 PM.
Corte Storico: June 26, 9.30 AM
The city of Orvieto is a little jewel which shines even more brilliantly on occasions such as these.
Rome-Orvieto: Train from Roma Termini takes about one hour. Be warned: the platform for the regionale train is at least a 10 min walk from the station concourse. At Orvieto station take the Funicular up to Orvieto – show your train ticket and you’re entitled to a 30 cent discount.
By car, drive up to the top (the rupe) and just before arriving at the summit (Piazza Cahen) on the right are the huge red barracks – park free on the former parade ground.
Another typical ceremony in Orvieto is described here.
Photo and text by Patrick Nicholas, http://www.photonicholas.com