Collelongo’s Cicerocchi & Oranges for San’Antonio Abate

WhatsOnAbruzzo – Collelongo (AQ) – 16th – 17th January

Don’t miss the chance to join the Marsican town of Collelongo’s traditional  & very unique communal celebration for the Egyptian hermit, San’Antonio Abate which dates back 4 centuries!

Enjoy songs, a glass of wine, and a bowl of ‘cicerocchi’. This is cooked by 7 local families who soak dried chickpeas and corn kernels in the lead to the event which are then cooked in a copper pot called a cottora and seasoned with oil and pepperoncini. Helping to stir the cooking corn is believed to bring good luck!   Expect to find the rooms where the cottora is slowly simmering, lovingly decorated with rows of oranges, baskets of eggs, dried fruit, and in the middle a painting of Sant’Antonio Abate.

Collelongo San Antonio Abate Celebrations

The church’s statue of Sant’Antonio Abate is also beautifully decorated with citrus fruits and eggs.  A bonfire is lit outside the church for townsfolk and visitors to gather around & sing the traditional songs of the saint and spend a spirit-warming dark winter’s night out together.

At the first light of dawn, the distribution of the cicerocchi begins: first of all the girls of the town wearing traditional old costumes and holding copper conca decorated with flowers and ribbons, go to the church to offer the saint a large quantity of cicerocchi, which is then consumed by ‘devotees’ and guests. Afterwards, the families who have lovingly prepared the cicerocchi get to eat!

Marriage, Now Just a Prize

There is a prize for the most originally decorated ‘rescagnata’, originally the girls would decorate these with sugared almonds to subtly state they were eligible for marriage. The festival continues throughout the day with religious and popular ceremonies in honour of the saint.
Collelongo rescagnata


Text adapted from Maria Concetta Nicolai’s book – Abruzzo, 150 Antiche Feste

Read the local folklore story  – Collelongo & the Werewolves that Washed in its Fountain


How to Reach Collelongo

Collelongo is a large village that sits on the slopes of Mount Malpasso in the Transaquana Valley (AQ),  915 meters above sea level and just over an hour to Rome and Pesca.




Sam Dunham
Author: Sam Dunham

Sam is a very lucky midlife 'mamma' to A who is 12 and juggles her work as a self-employed freelance SEO food and travel copywriter and EFL teacher. She is the founder of the Life In Abruzzo Cultural Association, co-founder of Let's Blog Abruzzo. she is the founder of the 'English in the Woods' initiative, teaching English outdoors in a forest style school.

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