my Marche
Tourism and Entertainment

On 10 May 1682 in Ripatransone the Marquis Filippo Brutti Liberati attended the first performance of what was later called the Fire Horse and was so impressed that he left a written testimony of the event.

Here it is: “The master who worked the fires, who was called by Atri, he rode a horse, which was completely filled with fireworks, with which he went around the square several times, always throwing rays and other oddities composed of bitumen and other similar incendiary materials. It seemed just like Pluto when on a fiery horse he came out of Mount Vesuvius to kidnap the daughter of Ceres."

But, what's it about? It all arose from the fact that the already centenary Confraternity of San Giovanni, devoted to the Madonna of Loreto, ordered an icon of the Virgin from the artist Sebastiano Sebastiani, which arrived in Ripatransone on Sunday in Albis of 1620, after having been dotted with miracles along the way. The wonders were repeated and so the adoration of the faithful was consolidated over time, until in 1681 the Golden Crown was granted to the sacred image by the Chapter of Saint Peter and the solemn celebration of this event took place precisely on the Octave of Easter of the following year. The festival, like all self-respecting popular festivals, included not only religious ceremonies but also the setting up of fires and the stoker improvised a fireworks display while riding his horse. It was so popular that from that time onwards the event is invariably repeated every year on the Octave of Easter, the Sunday in Albis, i.e. the first Sunday after Easter (the only suspension occurred during the Second World War).

Some testimonies report that for about twenty years it was a real horse, a live animal, that carried the fires, but over time the structure underwent transformations until it became the current equine-shaped sheet metal scaffolding, which weighs more than two quintals, it is three meters long and two and a half meters high. The bomb squad covers it with fires made from fountains, pinwheels, batteries of explosions, colored bombers. In the morning it is led to the cathedral square for the bishop's blessing and after sunset, as soon as all the lights are turned off, the horse is lit and pushed for more than half an hour, crackling with fire, along the course between the two squares and between the crowd that floods the center of the town, regardless of the sparks released. An unmissable show that involves, excites and fascinates. It is a great attraction that attracts many people from near and far. For more than 300 years. Today as then.

Leave a comment