As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
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Written by Norberto Gallo Monday 19 September 2005 Seventeen centuries of devotion: a long history of faith is that crossed by the Neapolitans beside their Patron, a history that today he renews still even though with different formality in comparison to the past in the two solemn annual occasions of party in honor of san Gennaro. Religious party indeed, but also event for the city from the depth cultural meaning: the two recurrences summon ancient traditions, they propose great testimonies of art, they disclose the deepest heart of the devotion and the soul of a people to the visitor that with the Ã‚Â«itsÃ‚Â» Saint has perhaps interwoven an unique relationship to the world. Well lower it is the atmosphere of the third festivity (that of on December 16 that he/she remembers the 1631 eruption stopped him after the invocations to the Saint), in the last centuries very felt but currently lived by a more narrow group of believers. The Saturday that precedes on first Sundays of May is the mobile date fixed for the procession of the relics: ancient party in the XV century dictates Transiatio S. lanuarii in which the translations of the bare ones of the Martyr are remembered through the centuries starting from the ancient procession that conducted the body from the place of the first burial to the catacombs of Capodimonte. In the past centuries it was said procession of the Ã‚Â«garlandedÃ‚Â», since as prescribed in 1337 by the archbishop Orsini the priests they had to participate you with the head crowned of flowers, and also the bust and the shrine of the blood beginning from the XVI century you/they had to be adorned equally. A tradition is goes lost in more recent centuries, but that it survives in some measure in the petals of roses that groups of devotees make to rain on the relics when the sacred procession passes in the alleys of the ancient center. Other change was that of 1968: in precedence the bust of san Gennaro was brought in procession from the cathedral to the basilica of Saint Chiara in the morning of Saturday, while from that year it established him to hold an only afternoon procession. More recent the number of the silver statues of the compatronis in Naples has been reduced (fifty-one) you bring in procession to the succession of the principal Patron: the not excellent conditions of many of these busts have dissuaded the transport of it. Certainly, today the procession of May doesn't mobilize about ten thousand of people anymore, as it for instance happened in the thirties. Photo and tapes of the past damage the image of a city that in that day it assembled him all around his/her Patron, with a stately procession that crossed the principal streets of the city. The today's devotion perhaps prefers to express him in more intimate way, but in every case to the appointment of May they always participate three faithful quattromilas, with the inevitable contour of passer-bys, curious, photographers and tourists, making some procession an appointment of first plan in the life, not only religious, of the city.
The Ã‚Â«mayor of the saintsÃ‚Â»
From some years the procession is inserted in the calendar of the Ã‚Â«May of the monumentsÃ‚Â», the rich program of cultural initiatives promoted by the Commune that it attracts in the city hundreds of thousand of tourists. To the procession they participate the maximum local authorities: among these, from the year of his/her election, you/he/she has been it always foresees the mayor Antonio Bassolino, political man of secular extraction that however show towards the Patron a particular attention. Ã‚Â«St. Gennaro has said on the occasion of a procession of some years ago it is the more saint of the Neapolitans and the more Neapolitan of the saints. Rather we could call him/it the mayor of the saints, for as his/her presence you/he/she has characterized the most important moments of the history of the cityÃ‚Â». You procession, driven by the cardinal archbishop, he/she sees to unthread the prelate and the canons of the chapel of the Treasure, numerous priests and seminarists and the members of the Deputation of St. Gennaro, organism risen in 1601 for sovrintendere to the jobs of construction of the chapel and that subsequently it represented the city authority in the care of the cult ianuariano and in the administration of the good entitled to the Treasure. From the XIX century the Deputation is presided by the mayor of Naples, use still vigente even if that of the first citizen is only nominal charge: all the functions are developed in fact from the vice-president, that is a descendant of the most ancient families of the nobility partenopea as the other members. The deputies of the Treasure are titular with the archbishop of the custody of the relics, and in fact the safe that contains the ampollines of the blood opens with two keys, one in possession of the ecclesiastical authority and one in the hands of those people that represent, for ancient tradition, the city. Dressed with a characteristic marsina, the deputies of the Treasure they alternate him in the honor to climb on the altar close to the cardinal to check happens him liquefaction of the blood: it is them the assignment to communicate to the meeting of the believers the Ã‚Â«yesÃ‚Â» of san Gennaro making to wave a white handkerchief gesture that always instigates enthusiastic applauses. We return to the procession. The fulcrum of the procession is represented from the gilded bust and from the containing shrine the reliquary of the ampollines, both brought to shoulder on special canopies; he departs from the cathedral crossing street Cathedral, then it is penetrated us in the ancient heart of the city long street St. Biagio of the Booksellers and street Benedict Croce, the all between songs and prayers, with the rain of petals from the tall and repeated applauses to the passage of the relics, in an extremely suggestive atmosphere. Later almost a hour of run he lands in the basilica of Saint Chiara. Here the cardinal guide in prayer the believers' meeting, waiting for the liquefaction of the blood: the experience, as we have seen, insignia that in May the prodigy makes him attend for a longer time (even if examples of the contrary one don't miss, to testify the absolute unpredictabilty of the event), and it is often therefore necessary to continue the invocations in the following days inside the chapel of the Treasure, where the relics are brought on Saturdays evening however, both that the miracle has happened both that has not happened.
In the street Cathedral, the heart in Naples
The solemnity of September 19, anniversary of the martyrdom of san Gennaro, from 1985 you/he/she is characterized by a prologue in the preceding day. Every year is invited in Naples, 18, a delegation of a different diocese bell and of the communes that make part of it, to underline the extension of the patronage of the Saint to the whole region. The guests come in the cathedral crossing in raced procession Umberto I and street Cathedral, in a frame of party organized by the Diocesan Committee St. Gennaro, the organism that takes care of the celebrations and other annual initiatives in the sign of the Patron as the prize Ã‚Â«Fidelity to the familyÃ‚Â» and the day of the donors of blood. The delegation invited in Naples symbolically offers a containing amphora the oil to make to burn a torch, said Ã‚Â«lamp sangennarianaÃ‚Â», what you/he/she is turned on on the church square of the cathedral the 18 evening, at the end of the liturgy of the evenings of san Gennaro, and he/she remains for the whole ottavario of exposure of the relics there. The great party is that of the 19 morning however. The stands of toys and candy invade street Cathedral, dam to the autos and stracolma of people. Schools and offices stay closed for the recurrence patronale and hundreds of thousand of Neapolitans which the tourists are added, had been returning in mass for a few years in the city they go to make san homage Gennaro, crowding the aisles of the cathedral waiting for the liquefaction of the blood. Bust and ampolline are extracted by the safe of the chapel of the Treasure and statements on the most greater altar in the cathedral, where in an atmosphere of great solemnity he/she presides the rite the cardinal archbishop, with its assistants, in front of a parterre of guests that picks up the maximum civil authorities of the city of the province and of the region. When from the altar it waves the white handkerchief, crowd explodes in a long applause and contemporarily, from the adjacent alleys the cathedral, roaring bursts of fire crackers are heard. The cardinal makes to kiss the reliquary, with the liquefied blood visibly, to the authorities and the believers; then after few a solemn mass is celebrated. The party, out, continuous for the whole day, as in the cathedral it continues nonstop the influx of the believers that, in the eight following days, they ask to be able to be blessed with the relic or to kiss her/it. In the aisles they are perceived elderly and young people, students and families, people humble and separate professionals: all Naples is represented in this free choral to the Patron, that on September 19 renews to the city its message of faith, courage and coherence there: actual values never to drive the city in a walk of rebirth and recovery from the thousand evil that torment her/it.