The Feast of San Bernardino da Siena at Montefranco
On 11 May 1444, San Bernardino of Siena arrived - staying there for a few days - at Montefranco, a village in the Terni Valnerina connected to the road that leads from Spoleto to the Santa Rieti valley, from where the religious would passed to go to L’Aquila. Near Porta Spoletina stands a commemorative plaque which reads: “In this place stood the house where the illustrious San Bernardino of Siena was a guest; the Montefrancani wanted to pass on its memory by placing this marble”. In the home of the elderly woman who had hosted him, the Saint worked a miracle that over the centuries has kept alive the memory of his presence among the inhabitants of the village, of which he is Patron. The friar asked the old woman for something to eat; she had no food to offer but shortly after she realized that a basket kept in the cupboard was no longer empty but full of bread. The re-enactment of the arrival of San Bernardino and the miracle of bread represent the highlights of the celebrations in his honour, celebrated every year in mid-May. In the days of the celebrations, a blend of spirituality, history and local traditions, the borgo soaks into the atmosphere of that period, of which situations of daily life are recreated in the streets of the historic centre, animated by the representative figures of the society of the time, such as the craftsmen working in their shops. Location of the events is also the convent of San Bernardino, located outside the borgo, in the place where the Franciscan preacher performed another miracle before resuming his journey. A solemn Mass is held there after the arrival of the religious procession - announced by the shots of the shooters – accompanied by costumed corteo storico. At the end all the participants return to Montefranco. The Feast is also opportunity to taste the savoury dishes of local cuisine served at “taverne”.