Holy Week Processions in Mendrisio (TI)

Old Town Mendrisio

The Holy Week processions in Mendrisio, a municipality in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, are part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage and set the stage for history. This 400-year-old tradition is a fascinating mixture of popular religiosity, mysticism, theatricality, and art. Mendrisio citizens of all ages participate in this special annual event that is deeply rooted in tradition but may perhaps seem anachronistic. But it is precisely the observance of a ritual handed down by the forefathers to revive, punctually every year, the unique spirit that breathes through the ancient streets of the village, during the processions and on the days before them.
The processions take place on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Already at the beginning of Holy Week, 100 "Transparenti"—paintings on transparent material—are unfolded in the old town, some of them dating from the 17th/18th century. They show motifs from the Passion of Jesus. Starting on the evening of Maundy Thursday, they are illuminated from the inside with lanterns, providing a special atmosphere for the processions that start and end at the church San Giovanni di Battista, starting at around 20:45.
The historical parade on Maundy Thursday consists of an actual play with around 200 individuals illustrating the journey of Christ to the Calvary. The performers are lay people wearing costumes acquired from the La Scala theater in Milan in 1898. For this reason, the event will be canceled in the event of rain. Tradition demands that the identity of the person representing Christ is kept secret until the end of the parade.
On Good Friday, about 700 people representing confraternities and pious associations take part in a procession, carrying along lanterns patted with drawings of the Passion of all shapes and lit by candles.
If you would like to experience this unmissable and unique event, make your way to the Centro Storico in Mendrisio and watch history come to life in the perpetuation of tradition.


Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista
Piazzetta dei Serviti
6850 Mendrisio

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