The cult of the Madonna della Rupe is of particular importance in the history and habits of the Sanmartinese people. Twice a year, the ancient wooden statue, placed inside a finely craftedreliquary, is carried in procession from the Mother Church dedicated to the Maddona della Rupe through the streets of the town and up to Mount Raparello, where there is a chapel , also dedicatedto the Madonna. In the month of May, departing early in the morning, the Madonna “comes out“, asit is customary to say among the inhabitants of San Martino, to be carried in procession, crossingthe village, up to Mount Raparello, along a path of about 7 km . It is still customary today, after the celebration of mass, to stop on the slopes of the mountain to celebrate the ascent of the Madonna to the Chapel. During the procession, the statue is preceded by a series of “Cente“, or houses of candles or woven wheat, made every year by hand, which are carried on the head by women as a symbol of devotion to the Madonna. A more rigorous version of the procession was performed by barefoot women or even on their knees as a symbol of ex voto.

Monte Raparello becomes, during the months of the Madonna’s stay, a place of pilgrimage for the faithful, not only locals, being the Madonna della Rupe one of the so-called seven sisters, 7 statuesof Madonnas, venerated in various centers of Lucania and as far as Cilento.

on 19 August, still in procession, the statue is brought back to the village, at the culmination of a suggestive procession followed by a torchlight procession, here a mass is celebrated near the Church of San Francesco. On the evocative day, in the height of the celebrations, an occasion for the return of many Sanmartinesi who have also emigrated abroad, a new procession takes place, which from the Church of San Francesco, sees the Madonna cross all the main streets, stairs and squares of the village to end with the entrance into the Mother Church named after her, where shewill remain until the evocative May.


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