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Sicily takes quite a lot of things very seriously. Perhaps, as home of the Italian mafia, it has to. But luckily being serious doesn't mean dull or uninteresting. In fact, it's Sicily's connection to its history that makes it such a fascinating destination.
In particular, Palermo, its capital city, has legend, tradition and history stitched into its every day life. Perhaps the very best example of this is the enthusiasm with which it venerates its patron saint, Santa Rosalia. Palermo marks the occasion with all the pomp and circumstance you might expect.
The story goes that in 1694, Santa Rosalia saved Palermo's people from a lethal plague that was sweeping the land. The city's residents have given thanks ever since, not only to give thanks for that occasion, but to honour their saint every year to guard against bad luck ahead.
The festival takes place in the first half of July with five days of joyous celebration. There are a number of side attractions - dance, music, shows and events but the big event is the parade.
The parade is led by an enormous iron chariot with a troupe of musicians playing appropriate tunes sitting on its top. The chariot celebrates Palermo's wealth and status and also acts as a symbol to recognise Palermo's royal standing. Even today, Palermo's residents look upon Santa Rosalia as a great hope for their everyday lives. A trip to this destination will offer visitors this same hope for themselves.