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Polizzi Generosa's Good Friday procession, 2019

Posted by Suzanne Turrisi on 01 Apr 2021

Good Friday (Venerdi Santo) is the most solemn day in the Christian Church's calendar and two years ago, when spending some weeks in Polizzi Generosa, I witnessed (for the first time) the sacredness and dignity of Polizzi’s Good Friday evening procession under the Easter full moon.


The Madonna, robed in black, grieves the death of her Son.

The statue of the sorrowful Madonna (Madonna Addolorata -Madonna of Sorrows), leaves from the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie on Via Carlo V and is carried slowly through the softly lit streets of Polizzi on a litter, supported on the shoulders of devoted men, members of one of Polizzi's  confraternities. 

The grieving Madonna follows the dead Christ.

The confraternities of Maria SS. degli Agonizzanti (agonosing), Maria SS Addolorata (grieved/sorrowful) and Santa Maria Gesu (Jesus) Lo Piano all participate.

Polizzi Generosa's statue of the grief-stricken Madonna dressed in a floor length, black French lace cape decorated with gold filigree and adorned with a gold crown sits on a golden platform both studded with precious stones and crystals. 


Candles, prayers & music

Tall candles, carried by confraternity members, glow red in the dim light. The women dressed in black walk in front of the Madonna. Their heads draped with black lace mantillas. 

Mournful music and prayers echo through the streets. A statue of the dead Christ (attended by sweet, cherubic angels in a clear glass casket) is carried, followed by the black clad fervent women, the sorrowful Madonna and the faithful.

It is a deeply sombre procession.


Beautiful details, dignity and the thought of returning

The Madonna’s glorious robe, the women’s dresses and shoes (I recall shoes with a jewel clasp), lace mantillas and the men's striking black capes and suits are all dignified and traditional.

The robe, black clothes, bejewelled crown and platform are the work of Domenico Dolce. The robe and the clothes were gifted to Polizzi by him. (Domenico Dolce is from Polizzi Generosa.)

I look forward to returning to Polizzi to witness the Good Friday procession again and to take in every detail both sacred and secular more closely.


I wish you all a Happy Easter.






Some of these images have appeared in one of our previous blogs "Spring and Easter in Sicily", May 2019.

Names of the confraternities and some details are from the Venerdi Santo poster.

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