During May Bari pays homage to its patron saint, Saint Nicholas.

Every year we rediscover the power and the charisma of this figure. The whole citizenry and the pilgrims from many places and religions come to Bari from all around the world to pay homage to the Saint venerated everywhere. Saint Nicholas projects new routes of hope and inclusion, like modern aereal routes, and confirms Bari as modern place of cult, hope and dept.

The Historical cortège recalls the epic challenge of the 62 sailors that brought the relics of the Saint from Myra to Bari. This year the homage, reaches families, children, wives and women that compose our society. Nicholas is the Saint that brings hope, feeds, saves, recreates and rebuilds: the eternal feminine that doesen’t depend on the gender of the person and recalls those characteristic marks of total love and push to elevation.

Composition of the Cortège

1st scene: Rostov Pilgrim – The West and the East

Greet the stranger / I am the stranger!

Barlaam from Rostov has been the first pilgrim who came to Bari to venerate the holy relics of Myra’s Saint. Leaded by the apparitions of Nicholas in his dreams, the monk Barlaam faced the long and dangerous journey from Europe eastern borders to the Mediterranean coasts. In name of Saint Nicholas.

Saint Nicholas instills bravery , suggests to overcome fears and face barriers and differences. Nicholas is the Saint that eliminates the distance between people and far cultures. In his name East and West meet to elevate to the sky in one big prayer for the humanity and for peace.

2nd scene: The lil’ bird

God is in the little things, and in details

A cute little bird flew on the heads of the 62 sailors coming back from Myra, caught in a terrible storm that seems to suggest them the worst possible destiny. The little bird lands on the shoulder of the young sailor Nicholas, son of the capitain Albert. Then moves to the relics of the Saint. The storm start sto end, everybody on board calm down. The ship can return to its journey to Bari with new faith and hopes.

The gratness of the Saint is in the small signs, untouchable but essential, slightly perceptible but saving. It’s up to us, true men, to be like the capitain Albert and learn to get them.

3rd scene: The University of the Saint from Myra

Ecumenic and universal, Nicholas’ message is kaleidoscope of identities that meet, talk to each other and collaborate to encourage men and women to imagine and create beauty. Each and every diversity is essential to seed words and beauty and make everyone’s souls, every community and the entire world a fertile ground for peace and hope.

4th scene: Generals

When you understand that you were wrong, be brave enough to go back on your steps. Forgive! Listen to your soul and not to the fake truth told you by your pride and by your insecurities.

Three generals are unfairly accused and sentenced to death. Saint Nicholas appears in the Emperor’s dream and defends the innocents. When he wakes up, the emperor understands that he misjudged them and with a act of extreme wisdom and bravery, voides the sentence.

Truth and justice are more important than pride.

5th scene: The sea during the storm

It’s you!, that can tame the waves during the storm, and you are also able to overcome your storms and become stronger and aware. I will be with you and I will guide you, by your side

The sea during the storm. On a ship fighting against the waves, travelers and pilgrims pray for the Saint’s help. Saint Nicholas suddenly appears on the deck. Gets to work, works between poles, hawsers and ropes and encourages everybody to pull the ship to safety. And it works.

The Saint helps bringing and guiding good will men during the storms of life. Because only who learns to arise from the storms of the soul with hope and sacrifice spirit can grow and become a strong and aware man.

6th picture: The Caravel: the people and the sea

With hands, each one of us, works everyday. But has also to give at least a caress and make a miracle

The 62 sailors of the translation represent all the people from Bari. Since the year 1000 the active participation of the people of Bari taking care of the Saint and of his places generation after generation is the most important aspect of the citizens identity.

It’s the people from Bary who supported the expedition to Myra, and the pople from Bari will, even today, support the journey of the Caravel and the Saint. Only if the people collaborate the Caravel will keep on sailing the sea that will lead it to Bari.

The shows

Palazzo del Governo. Piazza Libertà

Saint Nicholas comes from the sea.

Air, earth and water summon the deep bond between Saint Nicholas and the sea.

Water is Saint Nicholas’ main element: water of the sea that brought him to Bari; water of the seas for the sailors, seafarers, merchants, foreigners and travelers whose Saint Nicholas is saint patron of; water of the Holy Manna that has always been source of hope and healings.

The elements that fuse to create an original show to honour the Saint and his people.


Basilica di San Nicola

On the parvis of the Basilica gather the proofs celebrated in the Cortège for the final greeting: the timpanists, the flag jugglers, the dancing scenes and the Caravel with the Icon of the Saint, all together in a jubilation of pictures, sounds and movements. The three spheres of providence, symbol of the Saint who overcomes the borders between religions, show in front of the Basilica.

The little bird announces the arrival of the Cortège at the Basilica, the renewed rite, the renewed celebration.

Barlaam of Rostov, the first pilgrim, at the end of the long journey from Russia, will finally arrive to the presence of the relics of the Saint.

At the end, the narrating voice of Pino Insegno will declaim the still overwhelmingly contemporary message of the Saint of Bari, until the opening of the doors of the Basilica finally illuminated by Saint Nicholas, by men and women that had the revolutionary bravery to follow his teachings.

Path of the Cortège

A Piazza Federico II di Svevia, B Via San Francesco D’Assisi, C Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, D Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, E Teatro Margherita, F Lungomare Imperatore Augusto, Largo Papa Urbano II, G Piazza della Basilica