The Feast of Saint Rosalia

Saint Rosalia, also called “La Santuzza” in Sicily, is the patron saint of Palermo. Here I’ll tell you a concise biography of Santa Rosalia and what is the “festinu” (feast of Saint Rosalia).

santa rosalia festinu

Nico here, your resident Palermo storyteller, ready to take you on a whirlwind journey through the incredible Feast of Saint Rosalia. Buckle up and get ready for a wild ride!

Picture this—Palermo’s historic center bustling with excitement, the air filled with anticipation. The Feast of Saint Rosalia, also known as “The Festino,” is about to kick off, and you don’t want to miss a single moment of this vibrant celebration.

In this article, I’ll give you a sneak peek into the life and work of our beloved patron saint, Saint Rosalia, and then dive into the thrilling festivities of the Festino. So, hold onto your hats, my friends, and let’s get this party started.


Nico’s Take:

These colorful festivities take place on the evening of July 14th when Saint Rosalia’s relics resting in a grand chariot are paraded from the Old Town to the Marina, culminating in a grand spectacle of fireworks.

Dive into Palermo’s Spectacular Festino of Saint Rosalia!

Let’s begin with a brief history of our Palermo heroine, Saint Rosalia.

Born in 1126 to the aristocratic family of Count Roger I, she had a different calling in mind than the arranged marriages of her time.

Instead of walking down the aisle, she chose to cloister herself in a convent. But even that didn’t satisfy her adventurous spirit. She sought solitude in a cave atop Monte Pellegrino, where she would spend the rest of her days.


Nico’s Take:

Saint Rosalia took the saying “me time” to a whole new level. If you ever need a break from the world, a cave might just do the trick!

Now, let’s fast forward to the Festino itself.

This magical event takes place on the evening of July 14th, when the streets of Palermo come alive with a spectacle that would make even the most seasoned circus performers jealous.

The star of the show?

A magnificent float carrying the statue of our Santuzza (Little Saint) Rosalia.

As the procession winds its way from the Old Town to the Marina, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a sea of joyful revelers. The energy is palpable, my friends!

People cheer, pray, shout, and, of course, indulge in our famous street food as if there’s no tomorrow.


Nico’s Take:

It’s like being part of the grandest circus ever created. Just don’t forget your popcorn—or in our case, arancini!

Now, let’s talk about the pièce de résistance—the fireworks.

Mamma mia, the fireworks! As the night sky lights up with a breathtaking display, you’ll be left in awe. Colors explode, sparks dance across the heavens, and the cheers of the crowd blend with the crackling sounds above.

It’s a feast for the eyes and a symphony for the soul.


Nico’s Take:

This is not your average backyard fireworks show, my friends. It’s a full-blown pyrotechnic masterpiece that will leave you speechless. Just make sure to keep your jaw from hitting the ground!

As the festivities wind down, it’s time to bid farewell to Saint Rosalia for another year. But fear not, for her relics are carried throughout the city the following day, returning to the Cathedral to receive the blessing of the Archbishop of Palermo.

It’s a moment of reverence and gratitude, bringing the Festino to a close with a sense of fulfillment.


In summary, my fellow adventurers, the Feast of Saint Rosalia is a celebration like no other—a perfect blend of history, culture, and sheer joy.

So mark your calendars, gather your appetite, and prepare for an experience that will ignite your senses and leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Before I go, I want to hear from you! Have you ever attended the Festino? Do you have any questions or tips to share? Leave a comment below and let’s keep the conversation going.

Until next time, my friends!

Viva Palermo e Santa Rosalia!

Nico Barcellona

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About Nico

I am a 100%, authentic, full blooded Sicilian loves Palermo like Romeo loves Juliet. I will talk obsessively about this city and I know every part intimately. I know all of Palermo secrets. I want to share with you everything great about this city, but I will not hide its flaws. After all, love is made out of flaws as well.

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