Verbicaro, the ancestral charm of a terrible liturgy

Historical centres


Calabria preserves places full of archaic culture, theaters of ancient rites handed down from generation to generation through the centuries and now almost intact in spirit and representation.

The Battenti of Verbicaro

In Verbicaro, a village included in the Pollino National Park in the province of Cosenza, next to the ceremonies that precede Easter day, there is one of the bloodiest and most fascinating self-flagellation rites of the entire region, which takes its roots from a story of extreme religious devotion. The “Battenti” of Verbicaro (i Vattienti, in dialect) begin their ritual on the evening of Holy Thursday, gathering in catuvu, old cellars and warehouses, where they have dinner before going to other spaces where they discover their legs before beating them vigorously with baizes of raw wool to facilitate the flow of blood. Completed this preliminary operation, with the cardidd, pieces of cork in which some pieces of sharpened glass are inserted, they begin to strike the legs up to the escape of the blood that drips abundantly along the limbs. The ritual includes the presence of some men who have the task of spraying mouthfuls of wine on their legs as a practical disinfectant. At the end of this operation, the “Battenti” leave the premises that host them to run out along the Easter procession route, leaving bloody footprints on the walls of churches and sacred shrines. The path is repeated three times, under the watchful eyes of those who assist and in the almost divine respect given to the protagonists, suspended in a dimension that mixes sacred and profane in equal measure. The ritual is powerful, evocative, tragic: spiritually involves the 'entire population, in an organic representation of the civil and religious heart of the village. For the visitor is a mystical and unique experience, almost hypnotic, surrounded by a' suspended atmosphere that takes you back in time and space.

City of wine

Verbicaro is one of the Calabrian municipalities belonging to the national association “Città del Vino”. Verbicaro, along with Grisolia, Orsomarso, Santa Domenica Talao and Santa Maria del Cedro, are the centers of the province of Cosenza where the famous Verbicaro is produced, the only wine of the Riviera dei Cedri to boast the DOC label. The Verbicaro is produced in the types White, Red (also in the Reserve version) and Rosé. Its gastronomy is rich, based on simple products of the mountain tradition. The cheeses are delicious, among which the ricotta of sheep's milk in "custigni", rattan containers hand-woven and dried and the "ricottale", type of “ricotta” which is salted and smoked. The traditional cold cuts are also considerable, as the “capicollo”, sausages, ham, " vrina ", type of bacon.

Verbicaro DOC

It is the only wine of the Riviera dei Cedri to boast the DOC label. Produced in the White, Red (also in the Reserve version) and Rosè types.

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Last update: May 6, 2020 11:47 AM