The Bread Arches of San Biagio Platani


In the mountain town of San Biagio Platani (Agrigento), they are currently celebrating their Easter feast, “Archi di Pane,” or “Bread Arches.” Annually during this feast, which started on Easter Sunday and lasts until May 3, 2015, artisans and townspeople create elaborate archways using river reeds, willow, asparagus, bay leaf, rosemary, cereals, dates, and bread that are outfitted with colorful details depicting natural elements and that celebrate Christ’s triumph over death. Town elders couldn’t tell you how long they’ve been recognizing the Easter season in this way, but it’s believed to have started in the 1700s when townspeople sought to forget poverty and hunger and display their gratitude for abundance. The town’s Corso Umberto (or main street) sports the archways, chandeliers, domes, and bell towers constructed in the days leading up to Easter. Decorative details are made from a colorful salt-dough (similar to Play-Doh) and shaped like fruit, flowers, keys, doves, angles, chapels, and other images created in homage to the Madonna and Christ. On Easter Sunday, the town’s two confraternities process their statues of the Madonna and Christ, re-enacting their reunion after Jesus has risen from the dead. This photo was taken by one of Experience Sicily’s guides, Sebastiano Garifo, at this year’s feast.

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