19 Jun In Loano on Saturday 23rd of June the “Festa del Mare”
The annual procession of the Madonna della Visitazione, organized by the confraternity of the Cappe Turchine under the patronage of the councilorship for tourism, culture and sport of the Municipality of Loano, will be accompanied by concerts and moments of prayer.
To begin with, a concert by the band of the Associazione Musicale Santa Maria Immacolata di Loano will be held in Piazza Italia on 23 June at 21:45, as part of the celebrations for the patron saint of San Giovanni Battista. Subsequently, on 26 June at 21:30 in the oratory of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (delle Cappe Turchine), there will be a concert by the “San Francesco” choir from Alassio.
On 28 June at 21:30, still in the oratory, Paola Arecco will perform on the piano, Alberghi Ghigliotto on the cello and Fabio Tessiore on the saxophone. On 30 June at 21:30, again in the Cappe Turchine oratory, there will be a classical guitar concert by maestro Riccardo Pampararo.
On 1st July there will be a parade and exhibition by the group of “Flag-wavers of the Palio di Asti” in piazza Italia and along the city streets. During the period from 23 June to 2 July, the city streets and the oratory will be splendidly illuminated by the Belli company of Genoa.
All these evenings are part of “Waiting for July 2nd”, a series of initiatives organized under the patronage of the councilorship for tourism, culture and sport of the Municipality to celebrate the feast of the Madonna della Visitazione.
Finally, on Sunday 2 July, the traditional procession of the Madonna della Visitazione, the patron saint of Loan fishermen and seafarers, will take place. The celebrations will see the participation of brotherhoods from all over Liguria, as well as the Santa Maria Immacolata di Loano and Moretti di Pietra Ligure bands. The procession will be presided over by the parish priest don Edmondo Bianco.
For more than four hundred years, the Blue Capes have been honoring this religious festival every year, which is very dear to the Loan people. The roots of this celebration date back to 1637, when on the night between 1st and 2nd July, the ships of the Barbary pirates appeared on the horizon of Loano, threatening to destroy the city. The inhabitants, realizing the imminent danger, turned to the Madonna of the Visitation and, armed with torches, candles, banners and crucifixes, joined in a procession. In the dark of night, the effect of the lights and the spear scared the pirates who, mistakenly, thought they were facing a defensive garrison and decided to give up the attack.
The festival is also known as the “Festa del Mare”, since during the event the sculptural group representing the Madonna della Visitazione, carried on the shoulders of the confraternity of the Cappe Turchine, stops to pay special homage to the sea. During the procession, the Ligurian confraternities will parade with their splendidly decorated crucifixes, and the group of statues depicting the Virgin with Saint Elizabeth, Saint Joseph and Saint Zacharias will be carried on the shoulders, covered with gold donated as a sign of grace received or invoked. Along the streets of the historic center, the candles on the windowsills of the houses will welcome the procession.
Starting at 20:45, the brotherhoods will leave from piazza Italia and, crossing via Doria, they will reach the seafront. They will make a first stop near the “Casetta dei Lavoratori del Mare”, where the bearers will carry out the movement of raising and lowering the sculptural group three times, called “brassa!”, “issa!”, “brassa!”, simulating a greeting . The second, longer stop will take place in Piazza Mazzini for the “blessing” of the sea. A particularly evocative moment is when dozens of bearers, with their arms outstretched in effort, raise the statue group above their heads and lower it three times, as a tribute to the sea and to those who have lost their lives in the hard work of the fishermen. After the blessing, the procession will resume its journey through the streets of the historic center, until it returns to piazza Italia.
The Feast of the Visitation will be preceded by various moments of recollection. The prayer novena at the oratory of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary includes the celebration of masses on Friday 23 June at 21:00, Saturday 24 June at 12:00 and every day from Sunday 25 June to Friday 30 June at 21 :00. On Saturday 1 July at 20:30 solemn mass celebrated by Don Bruno Scarpino, which will be followed by a prayer vigil. Finally, Sunday 2 July mass in the oratory at 6, 7, 9, 11 and 12.