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Its origins are uncertain. The Brotherhood of Santa Maria di Loreto that organizes it (called the Lauretani) preserves a photograph of 1861, but the tradition could date back to the Middle Ages.

The feast of the Madonna that escapes evokes the encounter between the Madonna and the Risen Christ.

After the Mass celebrated by the Bishop in the Church of Santa Maria della Tomba, the procession of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Loreto parades through the streets of the city.

The green banner of the Confraternity stands out, followed by the confreres with the lamps, the statues of the Risen Christ and the saints John and Peter.


madonna-2The statue of the risen Christ stands on a canopy that is placed at the entrance of the square, under the central arch of the Swabian Aqueduct. At the other end of the square comes the statue of the Madonna, dressed in mourning and waiting for the two Apostles John and Peter.
The statue of Saint John approaches the statue of the Madonna symbolizing the announcement of the resurrection of the Son.

According to legend, the Madonna does not believe in the news and St. John returns from St. Peter's in the hope that he may believe him.
la madonna che scappa

In the tradition of Sulmona, Pietro is na n'zegna fauzone (a liar, with reference to the 3 denials "before the cock crows") and therefore Maria does not even believe in St. Peter's. But St. John makes another attempt and finally the Madonna agrees to follow the Apostles in the church of San Filippo.

At the exit Mary recognizes the Resurrected Son and suddenly the black mantle and the handkerchief of the Madonna are raised with a complicated and secret mechanism of threads, known only to the brotherhood and the family of Erasmus.

The moment is exciting because it shows the green dress embroidered with gold of the Virgin, on which stands a red rose. Meanwhile 12 doves are raised in flight.
At noon on the dot, the Madonna begins her run to meet the Christ, accompanied by the band's notes, by applause
madonna-4 of the crowd and the firing of the firecrackers. When it comes before Christ, the moment is touching and the brothers embrace and are moved.

Tradition wants that if the sequence of the phases of the feast of the Madonna that escapes flows without obstacles the year will be propitious; on the contrary, if something does not work, we foresee misfortunes or natural calamities.

The worst premonition occurs if the statue of the Madonna falls during the race.

In Sulmona they recall that in 1914 and 1940 falls occurred, a prelude to subsequent wars.


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