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The green meadow in front of Saint Francis Basilica in Assisi Italy

Assisi Culture

All of Assisi's religious festivals involve feasts and procession. An especially long dramatic performance marks Easter Week. On Holy Thursday, a mystery play re-enacts the Deposition from the Cross, and traditional processions trail through town on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Assisi welcomes spring with the Festa di Calendimaggio. A queen is chosen and dubbed Primavera (spring), while the upper and lower quarters of the city compete in a musical tournament. Ladies and knights overtake the streets crooning amorous melodies in celebration of the young St. Francis, who wandered the streets of Assisi singing serenades at night. Legend says that  it was on one of those nights that he encountered a vision of the Madonna della Poverta' (Lady of Poverty).

The Festa di San Francesco (October 4) kicks off in Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angeli, the site of St. Francis's death. Each year a different region of Italy offers oil for the cathedral's votive lamp, and traditional dances and songs of that region are performed.

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