Also called “Festival of the Lumaghitt,”St. Johns festival dates back to earlier times when the townspeople liberated themselves from hailstorms that would appear in June and destroy the harvest. According to legend, the people sought the protection of St. John the Baptist by taking a solemn boat ride out to Comacina Island where a church stood that was dedicated to him. From that time on, the hailstorms ceased to exist and the trek to the island became an annual event, followed by many festivities and nighttime luminaries.
During the festival, it became a tradition to eat snails and polenta. Somehow, the empty snail shells were filled with oil and a wick was added to make small luminaries. From this came the name lumaghitt.
The fires ignited on the island and floating rafts also carry another meaning. In 1160, the people of Como, as an act of revenge against the Comacinians who joined with Milan to destroy their city in 1127, burned the island and all nine churches.
The festival takes place on Comacina Island at Tremezzo on Lake Como.
The Lumaghitt begins at dusk on Saturday, June 22nd, with fireworks beginning after 10 pm.
This pathway above the Mediterranean on the Amalfi coast indulged me with the most unforgettable exotic scenery imaginable. I’ve heard it said that the Amalfi coastline is one of the most beautiful in the world. Well, I haven’t seen them all, but I can’t imagine anything more intoxicating than this.
With just two days to spend in Amalfi, I was well on my way to a much-needed rest. I found a cushy chair in the mid-morning sunshine with an ocean view and settled back, inhaling the coffee and croissant smells from the nearby bistro bar. Birds chirped everywhere in their sing-song melody, the ocean breeze carrying it like tinkling chimes. Warm sunshine soothed away my Naples tension. I was ready for a tranquil retreat.
A busy harbor of ferry boats brought people daily to different locations along the coastline. When I first stepped off the boat into the warm Mediterranean sunshine, it felt wonderful. Judging by the looks of delight on other faces, I don’t think I enjoyed it alone.
No, I did not climb up through these villas. It was enough to gaze upon them from a cafe while sipping a cappuccino. I spent a few hours just pondering which villa I would choose to live in. It was a tough choice!
If I could, I would visit every one of these places. Later in the day, as I walked up away from the water, I found winding alleyways full of tiny shops selling anything from homemade jewelry, artwork, paintings, leather work, and ceramics with yellow lemon themes. Small dining restaurants with terraces offering spacious views spotted the shopping districts. Elegant green shade trees canopied some of the walkways, offering a cool respite from the afternoon heat.
Although not a sunbather by nature, I did soak up some morning sun. Afterward, I found a shady spot and watched the little white boats bob around the harbor.
I discovered that the tower on the right was one of several built by the townsfolk centuries ago as lookouts for pirates who once roamed the coastline.