- Festa dei Ceri :: (Holy Candles feast) :: 15 May
- Palio della Balestra (Crossbow Palio) :: last Sunday of May
- Processione del cristo morto (Procession of the dead Christ) Good Friday
- Festa di Calendimaggio (Calendimaggio feast) - Assisi :: 3 May

Ceri_1.jpgThe three wood structures, which rest on stone bases, are kept in the Basilica and brought to the city on the first Sunday of May; then, on 15 May, they are brought back through an exciting run on the “chosen hill” in honour of Sain Ubald. The sacred and the profane, remains of primitive spring rituals and Christian religion, converge into the Festa dei Ceri, which makes Gubbio famous all over the world, in addition to the episode of Saint Francis and the wolf. The three holy candles are also the official emblem of Umbria.

It’s not easy to tell the story of this particular feast: it’s probably the most ancient traditional event of Italy.

The feast has always had a great importance for the entire community of Gubbio.

There are two main explanations about its beginning: one is religious and the other one is pagan.

The first hypothesis, which is well-documented, claims that the feast started in 1660 as a solemn and devout act from the citizens for the Bishop Ubaldo Baldassini’s death.

Since then, every 15th May, the eve of his death, this devotional offering for the patron saint has become a regular appointment and the Eugubini citizens have started joining a mystic procession to create a huge “Luminaria” (illumination) made up of candles, walking through the city towards the Ingino mountain, where the body of Saint Ubald lies.

The holy candles, donated by the Arts and Trades Corporations, probably became too heavy to carry and were replaced with the three modern and lithe wood structures in the late XIV century, which preserved their original shape up to the present day.

Also the date and most part of the course haven’t change over the centuries.


 The second hypothesis, which isn’t documented very much, relates the Festa dei Ceri to the extremely ancient pagan rite in honuor of Ceres, the goddess of growing plants, which changed  through the Medieval communes, the Reinassance lordships, the Papal domination and the fights occurred during the RIsorgimento.


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Agriturismo Santo Stefano
Carbonesca - 06024, Gubbio, Perugia
Phone: +39 339.5981843 Email:agristefano@agristefano.it

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Last Update 29 03 2019