Picture Background History
Rome is a city and special comune (named Roma Capitale) in Italy. Rome is the capital of Italy and of the Lazio region. With 2.9 million residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country’s largest and most populated commune (a city or municipality) and fourth-most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. The Metropolitan City of Rome has a population of 4.3 million residents. The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of Tiber river. Vatican City is an independent country within the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.
Rome’s history spans more than two and a half thousand years. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at only around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe. The city’s early population originated from a mix of Latins, Etruscans and Sabines. Eventually, the city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, and is regarded as one of the birthplaces of Western civilization and by some as the first ever metropolis. It is referred to as “Roma Aeterna” (The Eternal City) and “Caput Mundi” (Capital of the World), two central notions in ancient Roman culture.
Sorrento is a town overlooking the Bay of Naples in Southern Italy. We stopped in Sorrento for several hours on our way back to Rome after spending the day at nearby Mt. Vesuvius. A popular tourist destination, it can be reached easily from Naples and Pompeii as it is at the south-eastern end of the Circumvesuviana rail line. The Sorrentine Peninsulahas views of Naples, Vesuvius and the Isle of Capri. The Amalfi Drive, connecting Sorrento and Amalfi, is a narrow road that threads along the high cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Ferries and hydrofoils connect the town to Naples, Amalfi, Positano, Capriand Ischia. Sorrento’s sea cliffs and luxury hotels have attracted celebrities including Enrico Caruso and Luciano Pavarotti.
The two main processions that take place in Sorrento on Good Friday are the Procession of Our Lady of Sorrows (or the “Visit in the Sepulchres”), organised by the Venerable Arciconfraternita of Saint Monica and the Procession of the Crucified Christ, organised by the Venerable Arciconfraternita of the Death.
The first procession takes place at 3:30 a.m. on Holy (Maundy) Thursday and involves hundreds of participants dressed in hooded white gowns. The Madonna is carried aloft in the procession and is accompanied by several religious articles as she searches the town looking for her son. The procession starts in Corso Italia, turns through Piazza Tasso, and then visits each of the town’s churches—stopping in each one for a short ceremony. The Madonna is accompanied by aides carrying incense, and a large male choir and band. The procession concludes at 5:30 a.m.
The second procession occurs at 8 p.m. on Good Friday and reflects the Madonna’s mourning as she finds her son dead. Hundreds of participants, dressed this time in hooded black gowns, march down Corso Italia and then wind through the smaller lanes of Sorrento. This second procession is much larger and better attended.
Castellammare di Stabia is a comune in the Metropolitan City of Naples, Campania region, southern Italy. It is situated on the Bay of Naples about 30 kilometres (19 miles) southeast of Naples, on the route to Sorrento.