Rocco Maggiore and the Calendimaggio

I wandered through the quaint town of Assisi,its architecture predominantly medieval, untouched by time.

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Dominating the skyline is the Rocco Maggiore, a fortress built sometime in the 12th Century. According the the ‘Tale of the Three Companions’, when St Francis of Assisi was born in 1182, a pilgrim visited the city and held him in his arms and said “On this day, a man of God (St Francis of Assisi) has been born and also on this day is born another one of the Devil”. Locals believe this man of the Devil to be Frederik II, future emperor of Swabia who allegedly grew up in the Rocco Maggiore.

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The Rocco Maggiore consists of two forts, the larger fort connected to the smaller fort by a kilometre long fortified tunnel.

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As luck would have it, the main fortress hosted a photo exhibition of the Calendimaggio, a medieval festival held each year within the walls of the fort and the town of Assisi, celebrating spring.  The Calendimaggio celebrations in Assisi trace their roots back to very ancient customs of celebrating spring that were used by civilisations including those from outside Italy. The dramatic festivities include a recreation of the 13th Century rivalry between the Sotto and Supra areas of the city lead by two families who engaged in a bloody struggle which lasted some two centuries. Nevertheless, I leave you with some pictures of the photographs in the photo exhibition and all is not as it may seem.

 

 

In Search of ‘The Devil’s Prayer’

In 2016, I visited Assisi from Rome whilst conducting research for my book, The Devil’s Prayer.

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The purpose of my trip was to visit the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi and to photograph the painting by Giotto which features in The Devil’s Prayer. The painting depicts St Jerome reading a Bible in Mongol script. I expect the Caledimaggio warrants further investigation for inclusion in the sequel to “The Devil’s Prayer”. The Devil’s Prayer is available world-wide on amazon, ibooks, google play and kobo.

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