Our Lady of the Snow and its legend

  • 84065 Piaggine SA, Italia
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For a long time Mount Cervati was wild and unexplored, the realm of wolves, wild boars, eagles, sparrow hawks, owls and little owls, as well as other more harmless and less frightening animals: the people of Piaggio were frightened and kept their distance, not daring to venture to those heights. One day a hunter, driven by curiosity, started climbing among beeches, turkey oaks, firs, hornbeams, holm oaks, ashes, larches and elms, meeting some marten, hare, deer or some woodcock, some partridge or some blackbird, but no wolves. In that earthly paradise he never once thought of shooting. There, where the mountain is higher, overhanging, he sat down on a rock and admired the landscape around him: thick woods, mountains, villages clinging to the hills, below a green plain with grazing sheep, far away the sea. A little dove came cooing on an alder branch hanging over his head. He tried to scare it away, but it continued to coo; he then took up his rifle and stood up. The pigeon, flying from branch to branch, cheerfully gulled him. At the end it disappeared among the brambles. Angry, for having seen his hunting spirit mortified, he began to cut the brambles with his knife. Suddenly he stopped in front of the narrow mouth of a cave. He peered inside: what did he see? The statue of a Madonna looking at him together with the little dove, which was at his feet. A shiver went down his spine. It seemed like a miracle to him. He fell to his knees and prayed. Back in the village, he told his fellow villagers about his adventure. Since then, Monte Cervati has been frequented by the people of Piaggio, who have never stopped worshipping the Madonna della Neve. The interior shows two different structures: a sign that it was built in two different times. The innermost part has a surface of 29 square meters and the walls are 2.40 meters thick. It receives light from a very small window. This is the chapel built before 1000. After about 6 centuries was built in front of another of 1599: the latter has an area of about 23 square meters and the walls are 1.50 m thick. The external facade is covered with chiseled stones, which, on the side facing east where you can admire the Vallo di Diano and the sanctuary of Viggiano (PZ), are numbered, so that falling due to the harshness of the climate, they can be put back in their place. On the 26th of July, with a great concourse of people, the wooden statue of the Madonna della Neve is transported from the village to its sanctuary. The pilgrimage back takes place on August 5 at 4 am. On August 5th at 9,00 a.m. with the celebration of the S. Mass we celebrate the FEAST OF THE MADONNA DELLA NEVE DEL CERVATO.

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