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“It makes you stop for a moment and put the rest aside.”

Naples manages to make you appreciate the things that escape you.

The cult of the Madonna dell’Arco has accompanied spring Sundays in Napoli since I was little and so have the sounds of the bands that interrupt the quiet from the street.

For some years I have been approaching this tradition, even just to attend this representation followed by people of all ages. Hearing their stories along the way, without necessarily having to document them but getting involved in the feeling of the moment. Seeing the passion that the devotees convey with their looks as if there was no one besides them and the Madonna.

Festival of Madonna

Children and adults at festival of Madonna.

Adults and children at festival at Madonna.

A child holding a flag at Festival of Madonna.

For me, living in Naples is a bit like that, it manages to make you appreciate the things that escape you, and it makes you stop for a moment and put the rest aside.

Supporting the Madonna.

I followed an association of the Quartieri Spagnoli coordinated by president Giuseppe who has been dealing with it since 2015, and thanks to him I felt an integral part of the procession.

Man holding flag at Festival of Madonna.

Man in Naples staring at a wall.

Man visiting the festival of Madonna.

The festival of Madonna.

I tell the story in my own way of the procession of the fujenti of the Madonna SS, the Arco delle Grazie, a divine figure to which Naples is strongly linked.

During the celebration of Easter, the various associations of Naples and the surrounding area organise themselves with musical bands, ancient religious songs and ‘stannari.’

They put in place a real event by parading continuously for nine hours through the streets of the neighbourhoods, uphill and downhill, mostly barefoot, supporting the Madonna, through the alleys of the city, receiving offerings and paying homage to some inhabitants who have passed away.

‘’Nun ce sta male cha po’ sciogliere sto vuto” recites the song they perform during the procession, ‘There is no evil that can melt this void, so let’s not let it melt, let’s preserve it. It’s tradition.’

Families at the Festival of Madonna.

People taking part at the Festival of Madonna.

People in busy street.

Children sitting in busy street.

Busy street in Naples.

Busy street in Naples

Rosa Maria Apetino.

All our thanks to the wonderful Rosa Maria Apetino.

All Words and Images by Rosa Maria Apetino

To learn more about Rosa’s work, please visit here.

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