You are in Home / Travel ideas / Religion and Spirituality / Italy's Easter Celebrations / Ischia and the Angel's Run

Ischia and the Angel's Run

Ischia and the Angel’s Run

Ischia and the Angel’s Run

One of Italy’s many rather characteristic Holy Weeks takes place on the Island of Ischia, in the Bay of Naples – every year come Easter it is invaded by celebrations with ancient roots. 

Along Ischia’s main thoroughfare, in the Borgo of Forio – the most extensive of the island’s six municipalities – the sacred portrayal known as “The Angel’s Run” happens every Easter morning. The Run is organized by an ancient Confraternity, the seat of which is in the Church of Santa Maria Visitapoveri (lit. trans. Visit the Poor) in Piazza Municipio. 

The representation reenacts the encounter between the Virgin and her Risen Son, and dates back to the 17th Century, period of Catholic Reformation and diffusion of similar religious portrayals (i.e. Christmas, the Passion and the Resurrection).  
In this reproduction, four are the participants: Christ Resurrected, the Madonna, St. John the Apostle (represented by wooden statues realized mid-1700s), and the Angel (also a statue in gilted wood, realized in the workshop of sculptor of Francesco Mollica around 1620). 
Today the original statue has been replaced by a more recent copy, but can be admired in the church of the Confraternity. 

The Angel’s Run proceeds slowly through the town’s main streets until, finally, the Madonna, her face veiled in white, meets the Risen Christ, and her veil falls, while bells ring and observers from the balconies above throw coriander. 
At this point the Angel takes the last run, again meeting Christ and the Madonna, and the “Regina Coeli” repeats while the Angel bows thrice, moving backward towards the bell tower. 
Christ has risen, and sends his Angel to deliver the news to the Virgin; accompanied by John, the Virgin makes her way to Jesus’s tomb. 
Both religion and folklore animate the traditions of this Ischian celebration.