Tuesday, February 4, 2014

San Ciro Festival

Once a year the Comune of Grottaglie celebrates San Ciro, also known as Saint Cyrus of Cyrus and John. Saint Cyrus practiced the art of medicine and healed the sick without charge.  This festival is really popular, it seems like everyone in Grottaglie come out for the party.  
 This festival noted for having a large bonfire.  The structure built is about two stories tall, made with what looks like olive tree and grape vine branches and has a front door.
 I was not sure if this event would take place, on the morning of the bonfire heavy rains hit Grottaglie followed by strong wind.  The wind lasted into the evening, from the photos you can get a good idea what direction the wind is blowing (I'm facing north'ish)
 From the time when the bonfire was lit to the time fire started to burst through the walls of the structure was around 30 minutes.  Between lighting and fire was tons and tons of smoke that got blown over a large area of the city.
 But once the structure got a little dried out the fire took off, it was kind of amazing.
 All safe though, a small team of Vigili Del Fuoco, GRT's bravest fire-watchers were keeping an eye on the fire.   They also had a single fire truck off to the site just in case.
 The wall of the structure appeared to be several feet thick.  I guess this burned for a couple of days but I did not return to check.
 Beyond the bonfire, it was a typical Italian festival.  You could get some nuts and walk around looking at many shops and vendors setup to sell stuff.
 This is the statue of San Ciro.
The base of the statue reads: "San Ciro, Medico Eremita e Martire. 1997"  Or "San Ciro, Doctor Hermit and Martyr."
 Always easy to find the festival, just follow the arrows!