Saint Rosalia, the most famous icon of Palermo 500 years ago.
Once upon a Time…,
every known fairy tale begins in this way, yet the story of Rosalia Sinibaldi seems to evoke a classic of our childhood.
The troubled life of Rosalia takes place during the Norman domination in Sicily, around 1130. Of noble origins and destined, like the girls of the past, to marry a rich young man, she decided to strip all noble titles to move to a cave in Santo Stefano di Quisquina for about 12 years embracing the faith, to then move to Mount Pellegrino in Palermo, where she died.
It might seem like a simple story about Rosalia, in reality it represents a great example of female emancipation of the past!
A young woman who refuses her father's will and decides to transform her life into that of a hermit ... but why do we Sicilian venerate her? Why were Sant’Agata, Santa Ninfa, Sant’Oliva and Santa Cristina not enough as patron saints?
We must quickly go to the 17th century to find out how the cult of Santa Rosalia was born! Palermo was tormented by a strong epidemic, people died along the streets in conditions of absolute poverty and dirt.
Meanwhile, a young hunter was lost on Mount Pellegrino due to a strong storm and Santa Rosalia, with a wreath of white roses, appeared to the hunter predicting that the plague would only end if they found her relics there in a cave and carried them in procession through the center of Palermo.
The hunter warned the bishop of Palermo and in a few days they found the remains of the Saint which were brought in her honor in procession, freeing the city from any disease.
From 1624, from 9 to 15 July, Palermo celebrated her patron saint in this way, “a Santuzza”, so affectionately called by its devotees. The most famous event is “u Festinu”, on July 15, announced the day before by the holy procession around the center through a chariot which, traditionally, is done differently every year. “U festinu” is a celebration of Beauty: music and fireworks shows, street food, colors and voices make the city even more alive. On the 4th of September, the day of the saint's birth, the pilgrimage takes place to the cave of Mount Pellegrino, where the sanctuary was built.
We advise you to visit Palermo during the holiday period by staying with us and remember, "Viva Palermo and Santa Rosalia!"