Before there were celebrities, there were saints
It’s hard to know what makes someone a celebrity, and harder still to know how someone becomes a saint. In the case of San Calogero, the road to sainthood consisted of hiding out in a cave on a hillside and generally avoiding the company of people. If there were miracles, their story is forgotten, perhaps Calogero saved the Sicilians from an earthquake or a plague.
Every year in Agrigento, seven days of joyful devotion are held in his honour, with special masses, a parade and lots of little loaves of bread baked with fennel and sesame seeds. Calogero’s statue is carried in a procession giving everyone in town the opportunity to kiss their saint.
The town of Naro is a quick run up the Strada Stratale from Agrigento. Once called fulgentissima (brilliantly radiant), Naro has been sitting on the hill for about a thousand years, overlooking fields of olives, almonds and wheat. The Castello looks more uncomfortable than grim but nevertheless was the home of the noble Chiaramonte family, who claim descent from Charlemagne.
Naro was also home to San Calogero.
Festa San Calogero
The festival is characterized by a procession of a statue of the saint, accompanied by a loud band of drums (tammurinara), through the historic center of the city.You can’t escape from the tammurinara.
During the procession pieces of bread smelling of sesame seeds and fennel made especially for the festival are launched from neighborhood balconies in honour of the saint. The vibrant celebration, with parades, bands, concerts and exhibitions culminates in a solemn procession on Sunday evening followed by spectacular fireworks.