Passion, fervour and popular pity have for the past five century exploded every year on the first Monday after Easter in a little village located in the shadow of the Mount Vesuvius in Naples.
On such an occasion around 100,000 people called ‘Fujenti‘ (from fuggire, meaning to run away) arrive bare foot from all over the region at a sanctuary dedicated to the miraculous Madonna dell’Arco. Other and more complex expressions of the cult are to be found in dancing, singing, the continuous wailing and the uncontrolled abandon and trance of the groups of faithful on the day of the pilgrimage. Such aspects, with their pre-Christian roots and a hidden mixture of pagan origin, nowadays still present a subject of studies and a rare example of the manifest expression of the popular faith in southern Italy.

Madonna dell'Arco, ex voto ©Giovanni Piesco
Madonna dell’Arco, ex voto. Sant’Anastasia, Napoli 2003