The first Thursday in May.
One of Italy’s strangest festivals, the Processione
It’s all very Raiders of the Lost Ark, except that these snakes literally have no bite. Around six weeks before the procession, on 19 March (St Joseph’s Day), Cocullo’s
On the morning of the procession, the village is stirred by an
Festivities start around
Centuries ago the snakes were supposedly collected at the procession’s end, cooked and eaten. Today they are released back into the forest, there to grow back their fangs for another year. In the snakes’ place on the menu, a sweet, ring-shaped bread resembling a coiled snake is baked. It’s a snack with a little less bite but it’s somewhat more
2 – be happy to watch the snakes from a distance.
Cocullo has no accommodation choices but it can be reached by bus from Sulmona (40 minutes) and by train from Celano (35 minutes). With the snakes released into the forest at the procession’s end, it may be a good idea to curtail any local exploration for a few days, even if the snakes are toothless.
Want to know more about Italy? Listen to the World Nomads podcast. A couple of places in Italy you won’t find in a guidebook – food that reduces you to tears – and what does it take to get your travel photos on the World Nomads Instagram page.
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The Italians’ factional tendencies can be seen in all their swaggering glory at Il Palio, a bareback horse race that last for about a minute and a half.
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