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Guardia Sanframondi

Guardia Sanframondi is a town and comune in the Province of Benevento, Campania region, Italy. It is best known for the penitential rite held every seven years.GeographyThe town is dominated by a medieval castle. Most of the old section of town is accessible only by foot along stepped streets. Much of the old town is vacant, as citizens prefer the new homes and shops that ring the old town, because they are accessible by automobile. Some houses in the old town are being purchased and rehabilitated by Neapolitans as weekend retreats. The town is the center of the Titerno "Local Action Group". Below the town is one of the largest cooperative wineries in Europe; it produces both Guardiolo and Sannio wines.Penitential riteGuardia hosts a riti settennali di penitenza or penitential rite every seven years. The rite honors the discovery of a Madonna and Child statue found in a field hundreds of years ago. The rite consists of a series of processions the week following the Assumption. Until recently, the rite was only known locally, but as residents moved elsewhere in Italy and abroad, word of the rite has spread. It has become something of a homecoming event. There are four components of the rite:MysteriesThe four quarters of town each form committees to organize a parade of "mysteries", with volunteers in period costumes from the Old Testament, New Testament, and Lives of Saints. The neighboring towns of San Lorenzo Maggiore and San Lupo join with the committees to stage a few of the mysteries. In 2003 there were about one hundred mysteries in all. During the week each quarter of town has a separate procession through its own neighborhood. On Sunday all the quarters form a grand procession. The participants hold a pose depicting a particular moment of the mystery as they walk through town—they do not act out events. The committees informally compete with each other to put on the finest mysteries.
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