THE “LUMINARIA OF SAN DOMENICO” IN PRAIANO
This event, handed down from generation to generation since 1606, the year of the coming of Dominican friars from the quarter of Naples “Sanità” to Praiano, is deeply rooted in the cultural and historical heritage of this small town that amazes tourists with its beauties.
by Annalisa Russo
The “Luminaria” or the “Night of Lights” of San Domenico, in Praiano, is some of the most evocative and eagerly-awaited events of the summer on the Amalfi Coast. So, if you want to enjoy a traditional festival, don’t miss it!
Every year, between the end of July and the beginning of August, the alleys, the streets, and the little squares of Praiano are illuminated with thousand candles and torches to celebrate San Domenico, the Saint venerated in the Church of S. Maria a Castro on the slopes of the Mount S. Angelo a Tre Pizzi (about 364 meters above sea level).
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Praiano - The guys of the Luminaria await the start for the ignition
So, during the days before the feast (on August 4), the square (Piazza San Gennaro) in front of the Church of San Gennaro in Vettica Maggiore, a village of Praiano, is illuminated with about 2000 candles that cover the ceramic floor tiles.
It will be a unique experience: young people from Praiano “the guys of Luminaria” placed along the perimeter of the majolica floor, start lighting up many candles with the help of a torch.
Soon the atmosphere will be magical and evocative, thanks to the musical background together with the sound of church bells and a spectacular view over the gulf.
Church of San Gennaro in Vettica Maggiore
The ancient legend
As you will understand, the fire and the light have a starring role in this event that recalls an ancient legend: Giovanna, San Domenico’s mother, pregnant with the Saint, dreamed about a dog with a torch in its mouth getting away from her. The dog was the symbol of loyalty, meanwhile the torch represented the ardor of charity with which San Domenico would inflame the world becoming the faith’s spokesman.
The “Luminaria of San Domenico” is a good opportunity to spend a special night and get carried away by the popular traditions of Praiano in a unique and evocative atmosphere. Every year this event welcomes great international artists and for the 2021 edition, Vesta, a fire artist, has had a starring role with his dances and choreographies. Well, you should experience this event at least once in a lifetime.
- The Church of San Gennaro in Vettica Maggiore (Praiano) is easy to reach, as a matter of fact, it is well-visible from the State Road 163 thanks to its majestic dome and its bell tower covered with majolica tiles.
- From the square “San Gennaro”, you will enjoy one of the most beautiful and romantic views of the Amalfi Coast. So, if you arrive before dusk, you will enjoy one of the most amazing sunsets of the Amalfi Coast.
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