Mercy [A Madonuccia] 

 

Every year, a few days before spring, Ajaccio celebrates Our Lady of Mercythe patron saint of the town.

 
 
The origins of this festival

In 1656an epidemic of plague severely affected Italy, including the city of Genoa, under whose yoke was Corsica. Fearing that this disease would devastate the imperial city, the Council of Elders decided to place the town of Ajaccio under the protection of Our Lady of Mercy. Processions took place in the streets of the town and the plague-infested Genoese ships never docked in Ajaccio.

Following this, the people of Ajaccio celebrate it on 18 March with a mass in the cathedral of Ajaccio and it has become a public holiday.

 
 
Procession and candles in the windows

 

The commemorations of the Madonuccia began on the evening of 17 March. The people of Ajaccio come to light candles on the Place Foch (known as the Place des Palmiers), at the foot of the statue of the Virgin.
The façades of the buildings shine thanks to the light of the candles lit in the windows and balconies that evening.
The following day, after mass, a procession takes place through the streets of the town with the statue of Our Lady of Mercy.

 

Religious and official ceremonies

The programme of the religious and official ceremonies of the Misericorde are published on the website of the city of Ajaccio. 

You can also find the key ceremonies, such as the one celebrated by his Eminence Cardinal Dominique Mamberti in 2015.

 

 

The 17th and 18th of March are key dates in the life of Ajaccio.
The villages in the hinterland also celebrate their patronal feast day.
This is an opportunity for the inhabitants of the commune to gather around the patron saint and to share a convivial moment over a spuntinu [a snack in Corsican].