Month: July 2018

Our Lady of the Carmel of Terracina. At the origins of Devotion.

Our Lady of the Carmel of Terracina. At the origins of Devotion.

Your Terracine
Honours and worships you
Celestial Lady
With tender love

With these words, which are part of the popular lauda “Evviva la Bella/Regina del Cielo”, the people of Terracenza greet and honor Our Lady of Carmine. Patroness of Fishermen, She is celebrated, together with San Rocco, in July.

A Spasso Con Sara in search of the true origins of the Terracina Sea Festival.


On the places of the Feast

Borgo Pio is a reference point for celebrations. Also known as the “Marina” district, it is the lower historical centre of the city of Terracina.

Numerous archaeological remains (Appia Traianea, remains of the Roman port, Forum Severiano), attest to the existence of a low terrace since the Roman Imperial Age.

But a remarkable development of this part of the town occurred only towards the end of the eighteenth century, thanks to the work of Pius VI Braschi. In fact, the Pope made Terracina the physical terminal and the organizational pole of the grandiose work of reclaiming the Pontine marshes promoted by him.

At that juncture the Borgo Pio was born, the quarter of the fishermen, and the neoclassical church of the Santissimo Salvatore that guards, to its inside, the Statue of the Madonna of the Carmine.

The Church of the Santissimo Salvatore di Terracina (Credits:


The Brotherhood of the Carmelite

The religious organization of the celebrations of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is coordinated by the confraternity of the same name which has been dealing with it since the beginning of the twentieth century, when the Virgin was elected patroness of the fishermen of the city.

Born in 1852, thanks to Don Bonifacio Saporiti and some notables from Terracenza, such as Altobelli, Capponi and Risoldi, and most of the fishermen, the Brotherhood of Carmine assisted the parish priest of the Church of the Most Holy Saviour in the exercise of works of mercy towards the needy of the Borgo Pio and gave a special cult and honour to the Most Holy Virgin of the Carmel.

The brethren, as can be seen from the first statute, originally wore a carmine or lion coloured sack, with a white hood and hub, the coat of arms of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on their chest, and a leather belt on their sides woven with the rosary crown.

Even today, the male members of the Brotherhood wear an outfit that makes them perfectly recognizable: white shirt and black trousers. They carry on their shoulders the statue of the Madonna through the streets of the city.

Women, however, especially the most religious, wear on their heads a white handkerchief embroidered with the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Some mebers of the confraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in an old photo

Some members of the confraternity while preparing to carry the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (photo by Jolly Barone)

The Feast

The celebration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel begins on July 16, the day of the apparition of the Virgin to St. Simon Stock, the first Superior General of the Carmelites.

The last three days of the festival, however, will be staged during the following weekend that today, just like yesterday, is still the most anticipated by all the people of Terracina.

The highlight of the festival is the Holy Mass on Saturday afternoon in the Church of the Holy Savior, followed by a procession in which the Statue of Our Lady of Carmel with the Child Jesus in her arms, accompanied by that of San Rocco and the Cross, runs through the streets of the lower town of Terracina to the port to embark on paranze.

The Virgin of the Carmel and San Rocco in procession through the streets of the city (photo by Jolly Barone)

The parance that has the honour of carrying the statue of Carmine, according to tradition, is chosen by chance with a “tombola” in the Fishermen’s Cooperative, the other responsible for organizing the festival.

Decorated with lights and flags, the parances start for the evocative procession to the sea that covers about 4 or 5 miles and two hours of navigation. On the edge of the promontory of the Circeo, a crown of flowers is thrown into the sea in honour of the fallen and the boats return to the port late at night.

A paranza ready for the procession (Credits:

The return of the Virgin of Carmel is greeted with a moment of thrill. The paranza with the Statue of the Madonna stops at the mouth of the Port and watches a fireworks display in his honor. The entire population and a large group of tourists gather at the dock or along the pier of the port to attend the return of the procession.

the Madonna del Carmine during the fireworks display (photo by Jolly Barone)

Disembarked, the Virgin is accompanied back to the Church of the Savior by a suggestive torchlight procession. At the moment of returning to the Church, Our Lady is then turned towards the square to greet the faithful. This is the most exciting moment.

The Church therefore remains open for a few hours to allow the faithful to venerate the Virgin.

The Virgin of Carmel as she returns to the church and looks upon the faithful to bless them (photo by Jolly Barone).


The origin of the festival

The festival, which combines religious celebrations with different moments, such as the town fair, the fish festival, the traditional concert, has its roots in history.

A lady during the fish festival of Terracina (credits:

The characteristic procession by sea was in fact established in 1938 on the instructions of the parish priest Monsignor Di Manno who was struck by a procession on the Danube during his stay in Budapest for a Eucharistic congress.
The organization of the event at sea was only possible in the late ’30s, when Terracina now had a large fishing fleet. However, the tradition was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War. In that temporal period, the Terracina parances were in fact requisitioned and used as minesweepers and then sunk in Tunisia.

The remarkable resonance of the procession, beyond the boundaries of the city, is due to Don Vincenzo Rozzi. Nominated parish priest of the Holy Saviour in 1948, when Terracina was still under the weight of the ruins of the war, he focused his pastoral programme on the brotherhood and the feasts of the Carmine, to give vital and spiritual life to a community strongly tried by the war.

Terracina destroyed by bombardments during the Second World War (credits:

In 1950, he developed the idea of the Coronation of the ancient statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, inserting this solemnity in a double and significant spiritual setting: it was the holy year and the centenary of the founding of the confraternity. The event took place in Piazza Garibaldi, the square in front of the Church of SS Salvatore, where the gold crowns, made by Giuseppe Sarracino with gold offered by the faithful, were blessed and placed on the head of the Virgin and Child.

The Coronation brought with it a new approach to the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as the procession by sea, originally very opposed to the risk to which civilians who boarded the boat were exposed, became the crucial and best known moment of the entire celebration of Our Lady of Carmel. And since then, the feast of the Carmine rightly assumed also the denomination of “Feast of the Sea”.


Southern Influences

The devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has links with the South of Italy, where the Blessed Virgin is also honoured. Terracina is intimately linked to the Mezzogiorno, not only for its geographical position (it is just over 100 km from Naples), but also for historical reasons.

On the occasion of the birth of the Borgo Pio, Pope Braschi called numerous families of fishermen from Torre del Greco and other places of the Kingdom of Naples to teach the art of fishing to the people of Terracenza. And it was in this way that they brought new traditions and new cults to the charming town on the coast of Lazio, including probably that of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The fishermen of Terracina in an old image (credits:


Posted by Sara Pandozzi in ART & CULTURE, 0 comments

A trip to Rome should certainly include a visit to the ruins of ancient Rome, evidence of the greatness, richness and majesty of the city that once dominated the entire known world.

But how can you find your way around the many monuments and archaeological sites of the Eternal City? Follow the #aspassoconsara guide and include in your visit these 5 monuments / archaeological sites to ensure you visit and learn about the best of Ancient Rome.


1) Colosseum

Among the seven wonders of the modern world, it is perhaps the most impressive monument of Ancient Rome. The amphitheatre, built by Vespasian and inaugurated by his son Titus in the first century AD, could hold up to 50,000 people. Used for gladiator fighting, it was later transformed into a large quarry of materials. Its marbles and some of its internal parts were used for the construction of the Basilica of San Pietro and Palazzo Barberini. In 1749, Pope Benedict XIV consecrated him to Christ and the Christian Martyrs.


2) Roman Forum and Palatine

The most important archaeological area of Ancient Rome. The Roman Forum was the ancient religious and political centre of ancient Rome, the true beating heart of the city. From the Tarquini, the ancient Etruscan kings who built a system for draining the marshy waters that invaded the area (Cloaca Maxima), to the construction of temples, basilicas and honorary columns … a story that not even the fall of the Western Roman Empire (476 AD), was able to stopThe Palatine, one of the seven hills of Rome, is instead the hill on which Romulus, first of the seven kings, founded the first city of Rome. Beginning with Augustus, the emperors then decided to establish their residence on the hill, which was then enriched with new monumental buildings decorated with precious marbles.




3) Circus Maximus

Built by Tarquinio Prisco, one of the Seven Kings of Rome, it could accommodate up to 300,000 people. It remained in use until 549 AD. It was used for the racing of chariots that started simultaneously from a series of starting structures called “carceres”. The quadrighe were to perform seven rounds around the central plug. Today it is used as a large public space for events and concerts.




4) Imperial Forums

Not to be confused with the oldest Roman Forum, they consist of squares built between 46 BC and 113 AD. Surrounded by grandiose buildings, such as temples, basilicas and libraries, they formed the heart of the Rome of the emperors. The archaeological complex, cut into two sections by the opening of the current Via dei Fori Imperiali, was occupied by rural houses in the Middle Ages. Today it is still the subject of numerous studies and archaeological excavations that are highlighting all its beauty.




5) Baths of Caracalla

Second only in size to the Baths of Diocletian (306 AD), were built on the small Aventine by the Emperor Caracalla between 212 and 216 AD. They are one of the greatest examples of Roman architecture. For the water supply of the baths, it was necessary to create a branch of the Aqua Marcia. Completely abandoned with the end of the Roman Empire, were the subject of excavation since the sixteenth century AD, returning masterpieces such as the famous Farnese Hercules and Farnese Bull, both at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.




Posted by Sara Pandozzi in GUIDES, 0 comments
Find Yourself…Fiorditè

Find Yourself…Fiorditè

Selected blends of tea. Cookies and sweets for all tastes (even for veg friends). Chocolate, sorbet and artisanal beers.

The secret garden where the articles of “A Spasso Con Sara” are born.


Wake up, work, shopping, gym, home. Repeat. The big metropolises impose tight and frantic rhythms on us every day. In a running city, relaxation increasingly resembles a mirage. But there are times when we need silence and, why not, also to stay there on our own. So, if you do not have the opportunity to take refuge in Tibet like a Buddhist monk, follow my advice straight away.

Your solution is in the heart of the Eternal City. In a secluded street, a few steps from Piazza Re di Roma (not far from the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano), there is Fiorditè. Tearoom, but also tea shop, this little jewel “hides” behind a sliding door discovered by chance while I was looking for a Japanese teapot for my new apartment in Rome.

Wrought iron and wood are the souls of the beautiful counter that opens immediately on the left, as soon as you enter. The bright smile and the gentle soul of Laura, the owner, will win you over in a moment.


The tea route…

Behind it, like precious boxes, some shelves hold numerous red containers. Inside, selected blends of tea and infusions from every corner of the world: China, Japan, India, Arabia and Turkey, just to name a few. The place offers two rooms where you can enjoy them.

Microfiltered water, controlled and studied melting temperature for each specific type of tea, quantity of leaves weighed and infused with the right time scrupulously controlled with the help of a timer, teapots and cups suitable and differentiated according to the type of tea, are the many and exclusive attentions that Laura gives to the preparation of tea for its customers.

Personally, I recommend Kekecha, a yellow tea with a low caffeine content (less than 1%), which originates from the high mountains of the Guangdong province, in south-eastern China. The taste is fresh with nut aroma.

In the first place of my ranking, however, there is the fragrant Jasmin Yin Hao A, a particularly precious tea with a sweet taste, flavored five times with the best jasmine shoots.



…And chocolate and coffee

Not only leaf tea, herbal teas and infusions. Fiorditè is in fact also the realm of designer chocolate and fine coffee.

Chocolate is only of the highest quality. It is currently prepared, especially for customers, with real chocolate, available in dark versions (my favorite one!), milk, spicy, spicy and white. For those who, like me, are always attentive to the line, no fear. There are chocolates without sugar. Fiorditè can also please celiac friends, offering gluten free chocolate.

Coffee is of the highest quality: 100% BIO Arabic blend. And for lactose intolerant people (like me), you can request cappuccinos (and more) made from vegetable milk, soya or almond.



Sweetness for all tastes

Those who know me know how much I love pastry. For this reason, as soon as I entered Laura’s place, I loved all the sweets that I’ve seen. Talking to her, I discovered that all the cakes and biscuits that accompany our snack, are homemade, with quality raw materials and genuine recipes. All the preparations are vegetarian and vegan.

Don’t miss: a slice of Caprese cake (my favourite cake) and the soft chocolate cake. You can’t miss the brownies or the fantasy of biscuits.



In winter, but also in summer…

You will be surprised to know that Fiorditè is not only the right location for cold and dreary winter days. It is actually also the ideal place for hot summer days.

Tea, infusions, chocolate and coffee, can be drunk both hot and cold. From shaken coffee to flavoured cold chocolate, from artisan sorbets to BIO soft drinks and fruit juices, and again, ice-cream cups and milkshakes. Laura’s summer proposal is rich, genuine and tasty!




…the right place for every moment of your day

But Fiorditè is not just breakfast or snacks. A glass of Chardonnay or Nero d’Avola, a craft beer or a gourmet apple juice, can accompany a chopping board of savoury delicacies and make the place the ideal place to meet your friends and enjoy an aperitif of excellent quality. 


My secret garden in the heart of Rome

In addition to two tea rooms, the restaurant also features an indoor garden.
This is my corner of paradise here in Rome, the place where I love to spend time and converse with people I love, read a good book, write for you and forget, if only for a while, the infernal rhythms of my days.

Tables and gazebos, no noise. Relaxation is total.

The garden often hosts evening events: the astronomical evening is very interesting. Next Thursday I will certainly participate in the meeting – tasting on the cuisine of the ancient Romans.


Fiorditè is not just a tea room. it is a sensory journey between mind and body. it is the place where you can find yourself.



Address: Via Tuscolana, 30 (Piazza Re di Roma), Rome

Web Site:

Phone: +39 06 88653263

Posted by Sara Pandozzi in EATING & DRINKING, 0 comments