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Santa Maria al Monte


St. Mary’s day is observed on September 12

Also this year thousands of pilgrims will visit the seventeenth-century church, which stands 500 meters above sea level, surrounded by lush greenery. It was renovated in '57 thanks to grandmother Carmela Picarelli. She has represented the soul of the celebration for many years along with other locals, devoted to the Madonna, like Luigi Luongo, surnamed the Bijoux. Once again, in a symbolic place of worship for the people of Our Lady of the island, the tradition will be renewed in the name of prayer, devotion and of being well together. Come to mind the unforgettable days spent with own grandparents, own aunts, friends of the family who once populated the historic piedmont area of Forio.

People of earth, humble farmers, but with a strong sense of friendship. And so they spent their days playing cards, looking for mushrooms, collecting firewood for cooking but also to light the traditional bonfire in Punta Callotta to greet Forio from the highest part and "communicate" with those who remained in the country. There was no telephone, no mobile phone and the tank water was collected during the winter rains and the electricity, for the lucky ones, was that of the gas or the generator, but for many was still light of the candles..

Who had the good fortune of having the house or be a guest of a friend, went up a few days before the celebration (on foot only) for the preparations for the decoration of the church, but most of the people night before the party came up and found refuge in the woods adjacent to the Church. Not sleeping, the favorite game was to wake up those who tried to sleep, maybe with a nice "cushion" and the battle began.

The St. Mary’s day is in sign of acceptance, friendship, traditions, the cult of the Madonna. The Eucharistic celebrations follow at noon the procession to Punta Callotta with the Blessed Sacrament, the singing of the Regina Coeli and the Blessing. After Mass, in the church courtyard, banquets are prepared where guests can enjoy pasta and beans, rabbit, grilled meats and delicacies prepared by many willing ladies.

Even today the tradition continues with the same enthusiasm, times have changed, but the energy and appeal that comes from the Church for many of us remained the same. It will be nostalgia, will be the fond memories of our childhood, will be the devotion to Our Lady, the desire to convey a beautiful tradition to our children, but it is always nice to return to the Church on that Mount.


Priest: Don Pasquale Sferratore
Via Bocca - Forio
Seventeenth-century church founded by the Sportiello brothers next to the small hermitage, now become a house. Around 1930 the church, after centuries of activity, was abandoned and destined for animal shelter and firewood storage. All this until a former monk of St. Nicholas on Epomeo restored the cult. In a short time he managed to open it, completely renovated, decorated and furnished with furniture. There was a great opening party and since that moement on Sept. 12, S. Maria del Monte becomes a place of pilgrimage. The church in recent years has been retained by the Picarelli Carmelin’s family a and her husband Scipione Di Meglio. Click on S. Maria al Monte church for more info.

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