The “Talami” of Orsogna represent one of the most interesting popular manifestations in the region and in Italy itself. They carry the same name as the stage on which the liturgical dramas were represented in medieval times. Sacred representations in honor of “Our Lady of the Refuge”, whose church was destroyed during the bombardments in 1944. In this church was conserved a huge affresco which represented the Virgin with a black face as was the custom in the Byzantine style. The painting was venerated because it was retained prodigious; the population retained that each year, at dawn, of Easter Tuesday the Madonna revealed her face, no longer black but white, or that she moved her eyes.

To be able to assist this miracle each year a multitude of pilgrims would congregate in the church for a night of vigil with songs and prayers in honor of the “Black Lady”. One long ago Easter Tuesday morning, the believers saw in the church a representation of what was depicted in the painting: the Black Lady covering with her blue mantle four people who loocked towards her and prayed. This was depicted by boys and girls dressed in order to represent the picture. This representation staged by membres of the congregation was given the name: Talamo.

This initiative was repeated through-out the years to follow and the “Talami” became six, one for each neigbourhood of Orsogna, and were carried on the shoulders of voluntary believers. With the passing of time the carriers were replaced by vans and recently by tractors.

Now only one Talamo, the seventh, which moves from the spot where the church of our “Black Lady” was originally built, is carried on the shoulders by the Alpine Army Corp discharged in Orsogna.

The Talamo represents a stage which has a painted back-drop with a ray on top where a child, representing Our Lady of the Refuge is situated. On the stage boys and girls dressed accordingly represent Bible scenes by remaining immoble through-out the procession.

The scenes although richly furnished have not lost their original character but conserve all their fascination, poetry and mysticism. Through-out the centuries this Sacred Representation of Orsogna has continued it’s walk and has ofthen passed the confines of Orsogna, (with the exception of the war and other calamites).

  • 1576 – to Chieti for it’s Jubilee.
  • 1930 – to Rome in occasion of the festivities for the wedding of Prince  Umberto of Savoia;
  • 1953 – to Chieti for the first exhibition of Abruzzese Agriculture;
  • 1991 – to Pescara;
  • 1995 – to Chieti for the feast of Saint Giustino;
  • 2001 – to Lanciano for the Provincial Day of  Thanksgiving;
  • 2010 – to Cesano Boscone on honor of the “Madonna del Rosario”;
  • The 1990 Edition boasts a “Special Edition Stamp” in collaboration with the Ministry for the
    Post and Telecomunications and from 2003, another “Special Edition Stamp”;
  • 2011 – Awarded the title “Patrimony of Italy for Traditions” by the Ministry for Tourism.
  • 2012 – Talami twinning – Mystery Plays City of York.
  • 2014 – Talami in York – Twinning

Plinio Silverii