Festa de' Noantri in Trastevere

The Festa de' Noantri, an important annual festival, takes place in the Rome district of Trastevere until 29 July. Central to the festival, which dates back to the start of the 16th century and whose name "Noantri" (noi altri) translates as "ours", is the religious celebration of the Madonna of Mount Carmel.

The main event is the procession at 18.30 on 20 July when a bejewelled and splendidly-dressed statue of the Virgin Mary is carried through the streets of Trastevere from the church of S. Agata towards the church of S. Crisgono, where it stays for eight days before returning home again on 29 July.

The origins of this popular festival date to 1535 when a group of local fisherman discovered the statue of the Madonna at the mouth of the river Tiber during a storm. The statue was entrusted to the Carmelite friars at S. Crisgono in Piazza Sonnino, and became the patron saint of Trastevere.

It was originally housed in a chapel specially built by Cardinal Scipione Borghese but in 1890 this was demolished to make way for Viale del Re, now known as Viale Trastevere. The statue was then moved to the church of S. Giovanni dei Genovesi, where it stayed for a few decades, before being moved to its present home at S. Agata church in Largo S. Giovanni de Matha, halfway along Via della Lungaretta.

According to tradition, the statue only leaves its home once a year: on the first Saturday after the feast day of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel on 16 July.

The full religious programme, including the routes of the procession can be found on the Festa de' Noantri website. However unlike in previous editions, this year there is no parallel programme of cultural events in Trastevere, allegedly due to lack of city funding.