The Italian Town That Welcomes Winter With a Procession of Fire

Dec 14, 2023 896

YOU HEAR THEM BEFORE YOU see them. It’s a distinct crackling sound, like hundreds of dry leaves being stepped on at once. Then they emerge from the dark, wreathed in ripping fire that billows behind them like a flaming phoenix’s tail, streaking a trail of warmth in the chilly December air.

A procession of hundreds of torch bearers make their way through the town’s narrow center in a ritual that has been maintained for hundreds—perhaps even thousands—of years. From above, the image is of a glowing primordial serpent weaving its way through ancient stone streets.

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