The symbolic "wedding" between two giant oaks decorated with veils and garlands is performed and a notary's document is read and signed.
|veils and garlands of yellow broom decorate the wedding of the trees|
|Viva la Madonna!!|
(the month of May, mother Nature) is honored by the exclusively male participants.
The origins of the ritual, officially dedicated to the Madonna del Monte, are lost in time but athropologists explain that this magic-popular-pagan feast is an earthy celebration of fertility rites dating to pre-Etruscan times.
Led by horsemen, the slow procession of fishermen and farmers carrying the tools of their trades ( nets, guns and farmer's rakes) winds through town and up to the hillside sanctuary-Madonna del Monte- which is decorated for the occasion with garlands of fruits and flowers straight out of a Renaissance painting.
|home made floats carry fruits of the land and lake|
|a team of oxen pull a float|
(Learn more about the area's festivals in "Etruria: travel, history and itineraries in Central Italy" which can be ordered directly from my website .
Thanks to John Ferro Sims of London and Rob Mari of California for the photos.