Index Museo Civico


Among the oldest traditions that have been passed from century to century among Tolfa’s people are certainly those with a religious background because of the presence of numerous religious brotherhoods from the early 16th century onwards. They organized, and still today organize, certain processions.
Probably the most evocative and beautiful of these is the Good Friday Procession, organized by the Brotherhood of Humility and Mercy. It involves more than 300 people who are dressed to represent the various phases  of passion and crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As the procession makes its way around the town, it is accompanied by the “Giuseppe Verdi” Musical Band and  the Popole Meus male choir. This choir is dressed in the black habits of the Humility and Mercy Brotherhood, while near them in the procession is a group of flagellants who are barefoot, have their faces covered by their cowls, and  drag heavy chains from their ankles as penitance.
Another attractive procession is that of St. Anthony Abate, the protector of animals and, therefore, the Patron Saint of the livestock farmers. It is organized by the Università Agraria and the St. Anthony Society. The statue of the Saint is carried along the main streets of the old town on the shoulders of many shepherds, while hundreds of onlookers illuminate the scene with burning wax torches.  In addition, on January 17 each year, the Saint’s day, there is the traditional blessing of animals.
After the St. Anthony procession, there is the celebration of St. Egidio, the Patron Saint of Tolfa. This is marked by, among other things, the release of small hot air balloons, an event typical of the Maremma and Tuscia parts of Italy. In Tolfa, it goes back to the first part of the 1800s when, following the Roman Republic, there was a small garrison of French troops in Tolfa. They were lodged in the ex-Episcopal Seminary, now the Town Hall. One of the French officers, in addition to creating a small botanical garden in what is now the town’s park, copied his compatriots, the Mongolfiere brothers, and amused himself by making small hot-air balloons out of paper.

A young Tolfa man. Giacobbe Marazzi, learned the skill so well that he soon outshone hs French master.
In fact, over time, he made some estraordinary hot-air balloons. Old people remembered some of them being in the form of camels or horses. He left his skills to his family, and despite the modernizing influences that have cancelled out many traditions, the making of hot-air ballons remains intact in the hands of the Marazzi family. They still delight Tolfa’s Tolfa’s people to this day after many processions.