The third weekend of June celebrates the patron saint of the city with the feast of the Madonna del Soccorso. The religious festivals culminate with the Sunday morning procession, when the ancient painting of the Madonna is carried on shoulders along the streets of Cori. The festival is repeated from that of 1521 and the devotees carry candles to the Virgin.
The festival celebrates the apparition of the Virgin Mary in Cori in May 1521 to the three-year-old Oliva who had been lost in the mountains near the city. The girl was found eight days later and told of having been assisted by Our Lady in person.
On the place of the discovery they found a fresco of the Madonna and there was built the current Sanctuary of the Madonna del Soccorso. In the following years the fresco was detached and transformed into the painting that is now kept in the sanctuary. Sant’Oliva di Anagni is today the patron of Cori.
The procession participates in a historical parade in Renaissance clothing of the time. On Sunday evening there is the traditional fireworks show.
The Palio of the Madonna del Soccorso is the second event of the Carosello Storico of Cori, a town in the province of Latina, which includes three events: the Oath of the Priors and blessing of the Palios, the Palio of the Madonna del Soccorso and the Palio di Sant’Oliva.
Since 1992, the Municipality of Cori has decided to set up a special body that is permanently involved in taking care of the event.
The Historical Carousel of Cori is a historical re-enactment of the celebrations that, from the first half of the sixteenth century, were held to celebrate the Madonna del Soccorso, according to many who appeared in Cori in 1521.
Since then the city gathered in prayer and participated in the offering of candles to Our Lady to thank her for the graces received and to implore protection for the community. According to tradition, in order to highlight the best preparation of the personnel responsible for the defense of the doors, a race was called, the Bravium, today Palio. The competition highlighted the skills and the preparation of the defense personnel of the Gates (to each “door” corresponded a district of the city or the village).
The Palio is preceded by the historical parade, consisting of about 400 people wearing costumes from the first half of the 16th century, divided into 4 groups: the Cori Community and the three groups of the Porte (Rioni), or Porta Ninfina, Romana and Signina .
Each of the three doors is characterized by a motto, colors and a coat of arms. Porta Ninfina (“Viribus unitis”) has red and blue colors and in the emblem a castle with a bridge, Porta Signina (“Excelsior”) has yellow and green colors and in the coat of arms a mountain and Porta Romana (“Per aspera ad astra “) is characterized by yellow and light blue and in the coat of arms there is a bow with an arrow.
The groups of competitors are accompanied by the Cori flag-wavers who perform in the city streets during the long run of the parade.
The procession winds through the narrow streets of the medieval town, where the ring race begins. The knights will have to insert the rings with a dagger. To win the Palio the Gate that will have totaled more rings.
The Taverne dei Rioni, where you can taste the excellent traditional products (including the excellent wine from Cori) will remain open until late at night. It is here that the evening before the two Palios, the participants gather for propitiatory dinners with abundant libations.