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The “Mysteries” of Campobasso

Every year in Campobasso, on Corpus Domini Sunday, the procession of the “Misteri'' parades through the streets of the city giving life to a rare and spectacular festival.

Corpus Domini or Corpus Christi (from Latin: “Body of Christ”) is an important Catholic holiday that celebrates the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Its date varies every year since it is celebrated 60 days after Easter, which is observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox (March 21). Corpus Domini then falls between late May and June, when it is starting to get warm outside and every citizen of Campobasso gets out on the streets to celebrate the traditional procession.

The “Misteri” (literally “Mysteries”) are 13 different allegorical floats, each representing different stories of a saint's life or biblical figure.

The floats are made of wooden bases on which are applied tall iron structures with branches that support the people that impersonate the various figures of the story (angels, demons etcetera). Since they are lighter in weight, the characters are mostly children. From the ground, it really looks like they are floating in the air!

The floats - which are very heavy considering the added weight of the various characters - are carried on the shoulder by a group of 12/18 young men, guided by the “leader” of the specific “mistero”.

One of the wooden and iron structures, called "ingegni"

The wooden and iron structures are known as “ingegni” and were created centuries ago by a local artist, Paolo Saverio di Zinno, in 1748. It is almost impossible to believe but some of the structures are still the same from that time!

If you ever visit Campobasso, you can go to see those mesmerizing creations at the “Museo dei Misteri”, a museum created by the same association that takes care of their maintenance all year long, getting them ready for the spectacular procession day.

Museo dei Misteri is located in Via Trento 3 in Campobasso.


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