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Tuscia festivals: the Machine of Saint Rose from Viterbo

The biggest festival in Viterbo and in the whole Tuscia is the one dedicated to the Viterbo patron, the Machine of Saint Rose.

Every year, exactly the third of september, there is a magnificent precession, called the Machine of Saint Rose, which is famous all around the world.

During this day, 100 porters carry for 1 kilometer, through the narrow streets of the city center, a structure over 30 meters high and  heavy over 50 tons, up to the Saint Rose Sanctuary.

Machine of Saint Rose Viterbo tuscia

Machine of Saint Rose

This event is very popular and attended by all the citizens for all the year.

The porters are the protagonists of this day because they risk their life during the transportation. It is so dangerous that, before starting they receive the last unction in the San Sisto church.

Santa Rosa porters

Santa Rosa porters

The procession starts from Porta Roman, goes through the Viterbo center, stops in the main squares, and end in front of the Saint Rose sanctuary. Here the machine is left to allow all the people to admire it.

Who was Saint Rose

She was born 1235 and died the 6th march of 1251. During this period there was a bloody war and Viterbo was under siege.

Her parents, with humble origins, educated her according to Saint Francesco d'Assisi teachings. She wanted to become nun but, because of her humble origins, she was refused by the Clarisse Monastry.

Thus, she decide to live a life of charity, helping the sick people and profess the peace in her city. 

She was well known in Viterbo and, for this reason the emperor, Federico the second, banished her from the city.

She was force to abandon the city with all her family and she had to go to San Martino al Cimino. She lived here and later in Vitorchiano for some years.

She cold go back to her city only in the 1250, when the emperor died.

Saint Rose from Viterbo

Saint Rose from Viterbo

It is said the she worked many miracles during her life. Even her life is considered a miracle because she was born without sternum and the doctors forecasted she would have died within two years.

Instead, she lived for many years more until she was 18. The young woman was buried in Santa Maria in Poggio cemetery, and from that moment on, many people go to pray next to her grave asking for miracles.

Only 2 years after her dead, thanks to many inexplicable things and miracles she did during her life, the canonization process was started. The current Pope, which was Innocenzo the fourth, decided to begin the exhumation and her body was found perfectly preserved, with the roses, used for her funeral, stille fresh. Another miracle.

Later, she appear in a dream to the new Pope, asking to be moved to the Clarisse Monastery. So the Pope did. He organized a solemn procession and her body was moved.

100 years later the chapel, where the body was hosted, got burn and everything was destroyed except for her body that was just a bit blackened.


Saint Roso body

Saint Roso body

Still today the body is pretty well preserved and it can be seen in the Sanctuary dedicated to her. 

Santa Rosa all'Expo Milano 2015

The Machine of Saint Rose is changed every five years and the next third september of 2015 will be inaugurated the the new machine, called "Fiore del Cielo", which means sky flower.

The last version instead, which has illuminated Viterbo for the last five years, will be exposed in Milan, at the Expo 2015.

We are proud of having this symbol of our lovely Tuscia exposed at the most important worldwide event of the year.