Minturno Sagra delle Regne or Wheat Harvest Festival

La Sagra delle Regne is a religious festival dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie, the patron of Minturno. (There is a shrine to the Madonna delle Grazie in the Church of San Francesco.) The festival takes place every year on the second Sunday in July.  The term “regne” has Latin origins, meaning bundles or sheaves of wheat.

The festival has pagan origins. Local farmers would beseech the Roman gods of the earth to protect the wheat harvest and bless the fruits of their labours. During the Middle Ages the festival began to take on a  religious connotation. The Madonna delle Grazie was implored to grant local families, farmers and fishermen success in their endeavours.

There is a procession throughout the old town where the statue of the Madonna and child is carried on a rustic cart decorated with wheat sheaves, and pulled by a pair of strong oxen.

photo by Melinda Abbott

During the festival decorated carts are transported to the centre of the village, some are drawn by an ox or horse, others are towed by tractor.

Many local people dress up in the traditional costumes of this region.  Everyone gathers in the main square to see the wheat being threshed by the “vigilatori” in the old traditional way with wooden implements.

On  the final evening of the Sagra delle Regne Minturno hosts the International Folklore Festival.

There are also performances by several local dance groups and musicians dressed in Minturno’s Traditional Costumes and also dance troupes from arround the world.

The evening’s entertainment culminates in the castle being seemingly set alight, followed by a noisy firework display.