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15 July1952
Feast for Saint Rosalie
Giuseppe Damiata
Music by Lorenza Ceregini & Mix audio Théophile Gagnard | Biennio di Sound Design del Conservatorio di Musica di Bologna

Legend has it that Saint Rosalie, 'a santuzza miraculusa', saved Palermo from a terrible plague epidemic in 1624: the saint - who died as a child - appeared to a hunter in the woods of Monte Pellegrino and told him where to find her remains, to bring them to Palermo in procession through the city streets. After the procession, the plague miraculously ceased: from that moment on, Saint Rosalie began to be venerated as the patron saint and protector of Palermo. After that episode, every year the saint's remains descend into the city from the sanctuary and are accompanied by the people of Palermo for several days in a 'granni festa', a popular festival that culminates on 15 July, the day of Saint Rosalie. "Lu festinu' is an unmissable event, and evidently so for a Palermitano doc like Giuseppe Damiata. The filmmaker, aware of the cinematic potential of everything that goes on, and therefore also of the processions, takes to the streets with his 9.5 mm camera that allows him to represent the city and portray its inhabitants at a juncture in which they all participate. But are the bones carried around on the catafalque really of the saint and are they really that miraculous? "Historically, it is all very tenuous. About the bones, scientists of the last century spoke of the remains of a prehistoric hominid. As for the figure of the Santuzza, in Norman times there must have been a Rosalia daughter of Sinibaldo, but there is no real historical trace,' said Massimo Ganci. Something to ward off the plague must be found, but the real miracle probably lies in the fact that a pile of bones can move a city for five centuries.