Corpus Domini in Orvieto, Italy

Posted by Bill Steiner – Adventures In Italy

Corpus Domini is one of Orvieto’s most important community events. The day came about because of the miracle of Bolsena where a doubting priest found blood on the alter cloth while giving communion. The cloth was taken the 12 or so kilometers to Orvieto where the Pope was at the time. The Pope declared it a miracle, ordered the building of the cathedral to commemorate the miracle, and established Corpus Domini as a religious holiday, now observed by the Catholic church worldwide.

Now, Orvieto celebrates the event with a weekend long celebration. The culmination is the Corteo Storico, or historic procession. Over 400 men in beautifully handcrafted costumes parade throughout Orvieto. The pageantry is the result of the work of one Lea Pacini, who set about over 50 years ago to create this stellar event.

The Corteo Storico,  is simply stunning in its color, variety, pageantry, and majesty. Our friend Alberto, a protege of the late Pacini, is one of the main knights and organizers of the procession. (When he can, Alberto gives our spring groups behind the scenes tours of the costumes.) He directed us on where best to see the parade. We moved to three different spots in the city as the parade progressed. This was possible because they spend over three hours in procession covering much of Orvieto. We captured them as they emerged from where they dressed and staged the parade. It took a full 30 minutes for everyone to pass by.

There are bugles, drums for many of the different units and each of the four city quadrants. There are fighters with various weapons. There are flags and banners for the different guilds. There are the noblemen, knights, and a few women. Most of the women had gone in the parade the day before. It is truly a beautiful event, and one important to the history of Orvieto.

What follows are a few images capturing a bit of the character of the event. For  coverage in greater detail visit my blog where I began a series yesterday, June 19, covering the Corteo Storico. You can find more coverage of other events of the celebration at my blog on June 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9.

Enjoy!

The stained cloth that led to Corpus Domini

The back of the receptacle holding the cloth

The flags are beautiful!

These are the banners of the various guilds

Look at the tights!

Noblemen

And Noble Lady

Our friend Alberto the knight

The detail!

Over 400 hundred strong

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Kristi and Bill Steiner

Kristi and Bill Steiner began leading “learning vacations”  to Orvieto, Italy in 2003. Through Adventures in Italy they provide a cultural immersion experience. Many trips include the pursuit of some kind of creative work that complements and reinforces exploration of Italy’s culture. Relationships built over the years enable Kristi and Bill to provide experiences that a typical visitor to Orvieto never gets. Trips are held in May and September/October every year. Their Discover Orvieto and Girlfriend Getaway trips are available to groups any time of the year. Learn more about Kristi and Bill’s trips.

Stay abreast of Adventures in Italy developments, and follow Bill’s musings about travel and Italy on his blog Make Haste Slowly.

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One Response to Corpus Domini in Orvieto, Italy

  1. Christienne Werps says:

    THANKS FOR THE LOVELY PHOTOS, GRAZIE! I RETURNED TO ITALY AFTER LIVING FOR 13 YEARS IN AUSTRALIA, BUT I WAS HOMESICK FOR ITALY ALWAYS.
    I LIVED BEFORE IN ROME FOR 25 YEARS BUT I WAS BORN IN HOLLAND.
    IN ROME I WORKED FOR ALITALIA AS A STEWARDESS.
    NOW I JUST SETTLE IN CETONA, IN THE PROVINCE OF SIENA, LOVELY LITTLE MEDIEVAL TOWN, DO YOU KNOW IT?
    HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND AND MIGHT SEE YOU IN ORVIETO FOR THE NEXT CORPUS DOMINI AT THE END OF JUNE!! CIAO!

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