Quadri Viventi - Living Paintings
If December 10 falls on Sunday, the day proceeds normally at Anghiari: workers will be at the factory, farmers in the fields, students in school. For women instead, especially mothers, the day is a little special from the early morning. This because an unofficial but scrupulously observed law requires them to turn into many dressmakers, set designer and decorators.
December 10 coincides with the festival in honour of Our Lady of Loreto and Anghiari venerates a statue of Holy Mary traditionally considered of the same hand of the one preserved in the basilica of Loreto. And to to do this, the anghiaresi women organize a proper show that goes on stage on that very evening.
While in the church of Badia, where the sculpture is preserved, preparations for the procession are made, in every house where there are women and children, hard work is made for what will happen a few hours later. And when the statue, taken by hand by the young anghiaresi, leaves the church and takes the first winding alley down towards Porta Sant'Angelo, the fruit of the work of all the women is shown: any small space - the junction of two lanes, a small garden that overlooks the front of a house or under the arch of an old shop - will recreate scenes inspired by the Gospels or the sacred history.
Players and children are dressed in costumes sewn during the day; only vaguely do they recall the time when Jesus lived. There is the "Madonna della Miseria", or the "Christ among children", or "Saint Lucia" and so on, in a succession of living paintings - very much in simplicity and charm - for the entire procession along the varied and steep alleys of Anghiari, until its return in the Badia church.
Where: Anghiari. In the alleys and squares of the town centre.
When: 10 December (fixed date)