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Passion Play Sordevolo

Since about 1490, the play was performed on Good Friday in the Colosseum, by the Roman Company of Gonfalon Confraternity, with a large attendance of people, pilgrims, travelers and notables.
This tradition was interrupted in 1539 by Pope Paul III ‘s prohibition of such representations, due to the dramatic Reformation period and the subsequent Luther’s, Calvino’s and other religious movements
detachment from the Roman Catholic Church.

The “Roman” Passion text reached Sordevolo through still mysterious ways. The first hypothesis is that the original text may be arrived in Piedmont thanks to the relationships existing between the Roman Gonfalon Confraternity and Sordevolo St Lucy Confraternity, its direct affiliate. A second hypothesis takes into consideration the commercial contacts between the family Ambrosetti, weavers and merchants of Sordevolo “fine cloth”, and its own buyers in Rome.Since about two centuries, the entire community of Sordevolo has been representing the Passion of Christ, in a complete organizing and artistic autonomy.
The next appointment with the public is foreseen for June-September 2020. Sordevolo, 650 metres
above sea level, is situated on the first hills north of Biella, protected by the next Mt Mombarone and Mt Mucrone, more than 2,000 metres high. The village may take its name either from super Elvum, the brook which flows close to it, or from surdibulum, a vulgar Latin word indicating a spring waters site, or else from the idiom Solo riverir Deo volo, written on the front façade of an ancient pilgrims hospice.
In this natural setting of hills, woods and mountains, for over two centuries from the beginning of ‘800, the representation of the Passion takes place every five years. Expression of the ancient popular theatre, the
event actively involves the entire community of Sordevolo, about 1,300 inhabitants.

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