The bellringers of Ferragosto
Ferragosto – next to Christmas, Easter, and New Years, Ferragosto is one of the most celebrated holidays in Italy. It’s Mid summer and Barga is in Festa. Yesterday was the Fiera di Santa Maria and today San Rocco. The background sound over the past two days has been the peal of ringing bells. Yesterday it was coming from the bell tower at the small church at the top of the Fornacetta – S.Maria della Fornacetta. (moving 3D image of the church here ). Today from further down in Barga Giardino at the San Rocco church. (moving 3D image of the church here )
In both cases the bell ringers were from the same group who for many years been practising their art here in Barga. In the centuries bell tower at S.Maria della Fornacetta yesterday were representatives of three generations of bell ringers working side by side. Their ages ranged from the youngest at just twelve years old to the senior member who has been on the planet for almost 70 years.
‘Ferragosto’ is an Italian holiday celebrated on August 15. Originally, it was related to a celebration of the middle of the summer and the end of the hard labour in the fields. In time, Roman Catholicism adopted this date as a Holy Day of Obligation to commemorate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary—the real physical elevation of her sinless soul and incorrupt body into Heaven.
Before the Roman Catholic Church came into existence, however, this holiday was celebrated in the Roman Empire to honor the gods—in particular Diana—and the cycle of fertility and ripening. In fact, the present Italian name of the holiday derives from its original Latin name, Feriae Augusti (“Festivals [Holidays] of the Emperor Augustus”) – source wikipedia
One of the older pages on barganews and starting to look a little dated but still of interest for many people (judging by the viewing figures) is the virtual tour of the churches in Barga – it can be seen here