Alessandra Belloni is a native of Rome who has traveled the land extensively, researching and practicing the lore and traditions of The Black Madonna. She will take you inside the heart of this land, sharing her knowledge, and giving you an authentic, local experience.
The Black Madonna is a traditional depiction of the Virgin Mary particular to Southern Italy and parts of Spain, France and Brazil. She is a unique and mystical tradition connected to Greek, Roman and Egyptian Goddess worship and the ancient rites of the Great Mother and Mother Earth. Alessandra Belloni has dedicated her life to researching these unique and powerful traditions and the healing power of drumming and dancing, and will make them all come alive for participants in this magical and one of a kind tour.
August 5th – Madonna Nera della Neve, Torre Annunziata
A spectacular feast along the sea near Sorrento/Pompei on the Amalfi Coast. In the late afternoon we will watch the re-enactment of the discovery of the Black Madonna by fishermen who puller her out of the sea. It is spectacular and very moving as she is connected to the legend of the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, also born from the sea. We will also do a ritual chant on the beach at sunset, a Medieval prayer to the Black Madonna.
August 6th -Visit to Black Madonna of Positano, also by the Sea, a beautiful Byzantine Icon, also connected to Aphrodites. Positano is one of the most beautiful towns of the Amalfi coast, and we will spend the day there. As last year I will lead a beautiful ritual of purification in the sea, with white flowers, drumming and chants, all dressed in white and blue we will honor the Madonna del Mare, Aphrodites/Yemanja in the Afro- Brazilian tradition.
August 7th – A visit to Pompeii -Led by writer/archeologist Armando Mei.
A travel through ancient Sumerian and Egyptian myths, among the ruins of the most famous ancient town of POMPEII.
Pompeii contains one of the most important temples dedicated to the Goddess Isis, a testament to Egyptian influence on ancient Roman culture and religion. Armando will focus on the connections between the origins of the Great Mother Culture and its evolution across the millennia. A travel through ancient Sumerian and Egyptian myths, among the ruins of the most famous ancient town of POMPEII.
Night of August 7th
We will meet the well known tammorra (large frame drum) maker Raffaele Inserra from Gragnano and the old singer, Zi Giannino, 84 years old, and the young one Gianfranco, for a great feast at the great restaurant il Vigneto where we will play and dance, and people will have a chance to learn the authentic tammorriata.
August 8th, we leave for the Black Madonna of Montevergine
also known as Mamma Schiavona (Serving Mother) located on a spectacular sacred Mountain near Avellino in the beautiful mountain region called Irpirnia. This is the most important of the “seven sisters,” an ancient site and temple of the goddess Cybele, a Black Mother Earth Goddess from Anatolia. We will go the famous throne (a special rock in the mountains called Seggia della Madonna ) where healing miracles happen, where last year many people had a very powerful mystical experience. Up in the sanctuary we will play the tammorriata drumming and sing for her. We will also enjoy the great local food and wine, as we rest in the restaurant up the mountain.
August 9th, Black Madonna in Moiano, near Benevento,
the powerful, beautiful MADONNA DELLA LIBERA, the one I am most devoted to and have personally received a miracle from her, she is the most magical! Also an ancient site of the worship to the Goddess Isis. Last year I had an incredible break down and felt reborn after asking her to free me from sad moments of the past. Many people had the same experience! In the chapel we will also chant her traditional songs, that I learned from the old women of the town during the procession.
August 10, LA MADONNA NERA INCORONATA DI FOGGIA (in Puglia, land of the tarantella!) We will travel to the famous Tavoliere delle Puglie, a beautiful landscape of agricultural land, to the Sanctuary of this mysterious Madonna Nera with the GOLD CROWN who appeared in the year 1001 in very magical way. While shepherds were working in the field 2 bulls ran away to a tree and kneeled down, as lightning and fire appeared for a long time. Suddenly a voice was heard saying I AM MARY MOTHER OF GOD! And I want my temple built here! And the Beautiful Statue of the Black Madonna Nera appeared right in the tree. And she made many miracles , also with a special anointing oil that always burns at here image and never goes out.
August 11, LEAVE FOR CALABRIA!!
We will stay in the beautiful town of Tropea, in a hotel with great food and a breathtaking view of the beach and the active volcano STROMBOLI! There we will finally have a couple of days of rest on the beach, swimming in the turquoise sea very similar to Hawaii. In Calabria we will meet and feast with my good friend and tarantella teacher Vittorio de Paola and have dinner and party in his beautiful restaurant on top of the mountain with a great view of the sea. This was a highlight of last year’s tour!
August 13, we will honor the Black Madonna del Tindari
This is a magical place, where the Madonna del Tindares (an Ethiopian name) was found in cave under the mountain, which we will visit, by enchanted lakes of salt water, and a beautiful turquoise sea, where we will do a purification ritual. The Madonna looks like an African Totem and is inside the church on top of the mountain, with the inscription Nigra Sum Sed Formosa (I am Black and Beautiful). Next to the church we will visit the archeological site that has the temples of Demeter and Cybele and drum as we watch the most spectacular sunset over the sea.
August 14, we will go to the feast of the Black Madonna di Seminara, Madonna dei Poveri, celebrated with a wild drumming ritual, reenacting an ancient fertility rite, and giant Puppets that dance to the fast 6/8 rhythm of the tarantella (Giganti). Last year everyone was enchanted by the powerful rhythms of African origins, and seeing the giant puppets of the African King Courting the Italian Queen, thus bringing together these two cultures.
August 15th on the Day of the Assumption, the feast day of the Madonna , we will follow a beautiful procession of the Madonna of the Sea on a boat along the stunning coast of Tropea.
August 16th – morning departure for Rome’s airport or Station from La Mezia, Calabria.
A great feature of this tour is the local folk traditions, the music of the tarantella the dancing, and the fantastic food, all fresh prepared according to the regional traditions, and the most amazing wine!! As we enter the favored land of Dionysus, god of Ecstasy and Wine!
I am also blessed to bring my old friend and teacher of tamburello, tammorra maker Raffaele Inserra from Gragnano. We will spend an unforgettable night with him and the old singer, Zi Giannino, 84 years old, and his young apprentice, Gianfranco, at the great restaurant “il Vigneto” where we will dance, drum, eat, and drink fantastic wine from Gragnano – some of the best in the world! We will repeat this powerful experience which is a treasure in the field of Ethnomusicology!
Alessandra Belloni is an award winning percussionist, singer, dancer, teacher, who has performed around the world. A native of Rome who has traveled the land extensively, researching and practicing the lore and traditions of The Black Madonna and Southern Italian Folk Music. She will take you inside the heart of this land, sharing her knowledge, and giving you an authentic, local experience.
Special Guest Speaker in Pompeii:
Armando Mei is an investigative journalist born in Turin in 1967. A self-trained Egyptologist, he has worked He has written for prominent Italian newspapers, and worked on many archaeological projects which were the seeds for his books. In his latest book, published in 2014, Il Segreto degli Dèi, he writes about the uncovering of the Original Purpose of Giza.
You can find his latest article (English language) here: http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-africa/36400-bc-historical-time-zep-tepi-theory-002617 and follow him at www.armandomai.com