Yesterday evening, I left my B&B in Matrice and came back to Campobasso and checked into another hotel. I’m stayed Saturday night and I’m staying again Sunday night and leaving Monday morning. This weekend is Corpus Domini, a Catholic holiday, and in Campobasso it’s the biggest festival of the year.
Yesterday evening, after I arrived, I took a walk through the old medieval town of Campobasso, which sits on a hill. At the top of the hill sits Castle Monforte, the original castle of the area from feudal times. From the top of the hill there were very good views of the whole area, and I could see in the horizon the small towns I visited this week.
I also walked through the city where there were many booths on the street, street music, and street food. I had a pizza. I also discovered a bar/caffe/pasticceria that might be operated by distant relatives!
The highlight of the festival is the “Procession of the Mysteries” on Sunday morning. It’s a parade featuring little kids as “human statues” of religious figures, strapped onto a float which is carried by strongmen volunteers. The metal bars which hold the kids are cleverly hidden so it looks like the kids are floating.
My hotel had a perfect fourth floor view of the beginning of the parade. I was able to watch the whole thing, then go downstairs onto the street and watch it again two more times. At the end of the parade, in the city’s central Piazza, the local Monsignor gives a benediction.
It was a beautiful festival and it was surely the best day of the year to visit Campobasso. I have tons of pictures and videos (check my Flickr) but unfortunately I don’t have time now to edit it all nicely – I will do it when I get home. This blog post doesn’t do the festival justice.
I’m lucky my schedule lined up in this way. It’s amazing to think that one day, perhaps 120 years ago, my great-great grandparents were probably at this same festival before they came to the USA. It was a perfect finale to my visit to this area. I leave in the morning with zero regrets.