Black Madonna Pilgrimage & Workshop in Sicily: Summer Solstice 2023

Internationally renowned singer, percussionist, teacher 

 Alessandra Belloni, Remo Artist, 

Auhtor of ‘HEALNG JOURNEYS WITH THE BLACK MADONNA” by Inner traditions 

Proudly announces her  

Black Madonna Pilgrimage & Ritual Drumming & Chants workshop 

in Sicily for the Summer Solstice 

Join us for a MUSICAL JOURNEY TO THE BLACK MADONNA IN SICILY 

& THE SUMMER SOLSTICE at the MEGALYTHS OF ARGIMUSCO 

Register now! $200 Early bird discount through Feb 27th 

This Pilgrimage is dedicated to the ancient traditions of the Black Madonna in Sicily and learning special Sicilian Folk Music, including drumming, chanting & dance at amazing locations by the sea and in the hills near the Black Madonna of Tindari & Mount Etna 

We start our journey on June 19th at Hotel Terre Di Eolo overlooking the sea

The Hotel is an exclusive, newly-built facility (2017) born from the renovation of an ancient noble farmhouse, including, a courtyard, olive grove, beautiful view of the sea, the 

Aeolian Islands and the Nebrodi mountains. Its location is strategic due to its proximity to the sanctuary of the Tindari Black Madonna and the beautiful Mongiove beach.

For more information:

www.terredieolo.it

We move on June 25th to the beautiful Airone Wellness Hotel overlooking Mount Etna

Located in Zafferana Etnea, this hotel has been recently renovated, and overlooks the southern side of Etna. The green natural setting in which it is set guarantees an authentic oasis of peace for our guests. The two outdoor pools are located in our garden, surrounded by ancient chestnut trees and overlooking the wide landscape of the Sicilian Ionian coast.

For more information:

https://www.aironewellnesshotel.com/en/

Special Features: 

  • The Sicilian Folk Music Group SudCantica (https://www.facebook.com/Sudcantica) 
     with Federico Chiofalo - accordion, tambourine, guitar, Sebastiano Pietrini - vocals, guitar, tambouirne, Santino Scordino - bagpipe, tamboruine, Jaw’s hap 
  • Special musical presentation by the renowned Sicilian Folk Musician, Giorgio Maltese, from Catania. 
  • Special Lectures about Argimusco, by Philosopher writer Peppe Piscuneri 
  • Ritual drumming and chants led by Alessandra Belloni in various sacred sites & Mount Etna 
  • Yoga Sessions on the beach with Maria Christina Amore 

Coordinated by Davide Iosia & Alessandra Belloni

 

Description: 

This workshop/pilgrimage will be a deep immersion in the ancient devotion to the Black Madonna of Tindari and other Black Madonnas to be fully experienced with drumming, singing and dance in the sacred mountains and healing waters of the Sicilian Mother Land. 

As featured in Alessandra's book "Healing Journeys with the Black Madonna ", 

This new workshop & pilgrimage will blend the Southern Italian musical tradition of the Black Madonna and the Divine Feminine with sacred locations in Sicily at The Megalith Stones of Argimusco, the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna, and the Temple of the Goddess Cybele in Tindari.  

We will also feature the participation of special Sicilian Artists who will join us for wonderful jam sessions of Southern Italian Folk Music in great locations. 

 Drumming classes will be done at different powerful locations invoking the healing powers of the volcanic earth of Sicily combined with sacred chants of the Black Madonna. 

 Participants will learn the unique style of southern Italian tambourine playing and the ancient healing dance of the tarantella. 

Special yoga session on the beach with Maria Christina Amore, expert yoga instructor. 

During the Pilgrimage we will visit: 

  1. Black Madonna of Tindari on Beautiful Hill overlooking the sea
  2. Megalyths of Argimusco 
  3. Feast of St. John and Festa du muzzuni
  4. Black Madonna of Paterno, Catania
  5. Black Madonna of Montalto

Itinerary:  

Day 1: June 19 afternoon

Arrival at Catania Airport  by 2:00, transport to hotel, Hotel Check in

Welcome dinner and review of schedule

Day 2: June 20 Morning & afternoon 

Drumming and Dance workshops with Alessandra & Federico Chiofalo & Santino Scordino 

 These powerful workshops will include the special collaboration between Alessandra Belloni with Folk Musicians from the group SUDCANTICA where students will learn traditional drumming, chanting, and dances from Sicily. Alessandra will lead participatory chants of devotion as authentic chants and prayers to the Black Madonna.

DAY 3: June 21 
Visit the Black Madonna of Tindari and ancient site of the Greek ruins, followed by ritual chanting and drumming rites by the sacred lakes of Marinello, led by Alessandra. 

This is a magical place, where the Madonna del Tindares (Ethiopian name) was found in a cave under the mountain.  The mountain is surrounded by enchanted lakes of salt water and a beautiful turquoise sea where we will perform a purification ritual, following the tradition of the Goddess of Love and Waters, Aphrodite, chanting and drumming of the Afro Brazilian tradition for Yemanja & Ochun. 

MADONNA DEL TINDARI 

  In the church located at the top of the mountain, we will visit the Black Madonna who looks like an African Totem including the inscription Nigra Sum Sed Formosa (I am Black and Beautiful).  Next to the church we will visit one of the most interesting archeological sites in Sicily, The Temples of Demeter and Cybele where we will drum as we watch the most spectacular sunset over the sea. 

 

Day 4: June 22
Celebration of the Solstice at megaliths of Argimusco with drumming and chanting rituals to the Earth Mother Goddess Guided by Peppe Pisciuneri writer, percussionist, professor of History & Philosopher.


ARGIMUSCO Megaliti Montalbano Elicona (The Megaliths in Montalbano Elincona) is a mystical place with the imposing structures and megaliths 1200 meter above sea level. These rock formations were defined stones of the giants, interpreted as made by Neolithic people, inhabitants of Sicily in ancient times. We will be guided by Peppe through a sacred path, where he will describe various symbolism of the rocks and theories of their formation. There will be meditation and Alessandra & Peppe will lead chants and drumming among these ancient rocks and stone formations of the eagle, the snake, the profile of moai (a monolithic human figure similar to those found at Easter Island) and the woman praying (also known as the Neolithic Goddess.)

Day 5 – June 23
Visit to the Parco Jalari Museum and an amazing musical experience with the Parco Jalari musicians

We will take a two-hour tour of the Parco Museo Jalari, and park, where we will see hundreds of artifacts, vegetation and incredible stone sculptures and fountains sculpted by Mariano Pietrini.  We will also take excursions from “Jalari” to various magical and spiritual sites within the Parco Jalari. Eat an amazing authentic Sicilian meal and will end with a wonderful concert by the group SUDCANTICA with wild tarantellas and Sicilian love ballads. Featuring: FEDERICO CHIOFALO, guitar, accordion, triangle, SEBASTIANO PIETRINI, voice, guitar, chitarra battente, frame drum, marranzano. SANTO SCORDINO, bagpipe, frame drum, voice, castagnette, pepita.

Day 6: June 24th 
GREAT FEAST DAY! afternoon and evening, the Summer Solstice celebration of the Festa du Muzzuni and feast of St. John the Baptist ancient solstice celebration 

An ancient ritual: the Alcara Li Fusi Muzzuni Festival.

  • It is a pagan festival, the oldest in Italy, in which there are parts of the rites of the Hellenic civilization.
  • It is held in Alcara Li Fusi, in the province of Messina .
  • Originally it coincided with the Summer Solstice and was celebrated on June 21st.

The oldest popular festival in Italy is held in Sicily. Muzzuni is a pagan festival, in which there are the distinctive features of rites dating back to the Hellenic civilization, the legacy of an ancient rite linked to the peasant world. It is, in fact, a propitiatory rite for the fertility of the earth, a hymn to the luxuriance of nature, to love and to youth. It is held in Alcara Li Fusi , a small town in the province of Messina . It originally coincided with the Summer Solstice and was celebrated on June 21st. With the advent of Christianity, it was moved to June 24, the day dedicated to St. John the Baptist, martyr beheaded.

The party takes place in the evening and throughout the night of June 24th. At dusk begins the preparatory phase of the party whose protagonists are exclusively women .

https://www.siciliafan.it/la-festa-del-muzzuni-di-alcara-li-fusi/ 

Day 7: June 25th

Transfer to Hotel Airone in Zafferana near  Mount Etna 

Stop on the way to the visit the Black Madonna of Montalto and Acireale 

Day 8: June 26th

Workshop with Sicilian folk singer, multi-instrumentalist Giorgio Maltese and Alessandra

Giorgio Maltese is a well-known Sicilian folk singer, multi-instrumentalist,will share his knowledge of the authentic musical folkloric traditions of Sicily

 

Day 9: June 27th

Visit to Black Madonna of Paterno and Catania 

Day 10: June 28th

Lunch at Ortigia beautiful ancient town and visit the amazing Archeological Park, SIRACUSA

Day 11: June 29th

Morning free – Afternoon drumming and singing ritual of Mount Etna Volcano exploring the healing power of the Black Mother Earth Soil and energy of the active volcano 

Closing dinner and celebration at Hotel .

 Bios: 

  SUDCANTICA: 

The Compagnia of popular music SudCantica was founded in 2018, from the desire of several musicians and friends to create an open line-up in which to express their love for the traditional music of Southern Italy. Not just music, the company is based on friendship, inclusiveness and the desire to share all the cultures of the world. The instruments used are those typical of the southern musical repertoire: zampogna, chitarra battente, marranzano, tambourines, castagnette, accordion, reed flute and violin.  The strength of the band lies in recreating all the overwhelming strength of the Dionysian rhythms brought to paroxysm in order to release all tensions in the audience thanks to the abandonment of the body to dance. A rite that miraculously remained intact despite all the repressive force of the clerical and often governmental organs of the past. "What makes us most happy is to see the audience stand up and start dancing. “The success that the group achieves in 2019 during the tour in Belgium marks its international baptism. They performed at various festivals in Sicily and Belgium. 

Giorgio Maltese: 

A well-known Sicilian folk singer, multi-instrumentalist, Giorgio is a virtuoso on Sicilian flute, tambourine, bagpipe, jaws harp, accordion, and mandolin, and is an accomplished vocalist. He has been a musical instructor and is well versed in the authentic musical folkloric traditions of Sicily. 

https://www.facebook.com/giorgio.maltese.79 

 

Accommodations & Travel: 

Air travel to Sicily not included. Must arrive at  Catania airport in Sicily on the 19th by 2:00PM at the latest to catch bus to the hotel.

4-star hotels with swimming pools and gourmet food, 2 meals a day included

Hotel Terre di Eolo

Arrival June 19th check out June 25th

www.terredieolo.it

Via Nazionale SS113, Km 70.920 
98066 - Patti (ME) 
Phone: +39 0941 317707 
Cell: +39 0941 317707

Hotel Airone 

Arrival June 25 Check out June 30

https://www.aironewellnesshotel.com/en/

Via Cassone 67
Zafferana Etnea (CT) - 95019, Italia
Phone: +39 095 708 1819
 

There are 25 people on the waiting list Register now! 

 https://forms.gle/tNhb5fBsGqMcSc4D9 

Total cost for Black Madonna Pilgrimage & Ritual Drumming & Chants workshop after Feb 27th:

 $200 Early bird discount through Feb 27th will applied to your final payment

(Limited number of rooms single rooms, Room choice on first come first serve basis)
 

Total for Single with Ocean View: $3,700.00

Total for Single with No Ocean View: $3,600.00

Total for Double with Ocean View: $3,400.00

Total for Double with No Ocean View: $3,200.00

                                                                                                                                                                  

Registration fee due: immediately $200 (non-refundable, applied to final payment)

Please pay registration fee here: https://www.everbutton.com/flow/options/4834/?origin_url=  

Or     VENMO & ZELLE also accepted. (Contact Alessandra for these options)

and notify Alessandra that you have paid at alessandrabelloni@gmail.com

Hotel deposit of 30% Due: immediately (non-refundable after April 25th)

Please pay hotel deposit here: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/BlackMadonnaCenter

(Choose Send money to a Friend option to avoid fees

Total for Single with Ocean View: $410.00

Total for Single with No Ocean View: $391.00

Total for Double with Ocean View: $324.00

Total for Double with No Ocean View: $304.00

                                                                                                   

Final payment Due: May 1, 2023 (Non-refundable)

Please make final payment here: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/BlackMadonnaCenter

(choose Send money to a Friend option to avoid fees)

                                                             Before Feb 27th            After Feb 27th

Total for Single with Ocean View:          $2,890                          $3,090

Total for Single with No Ocean View:    $2809                          $3,009    

Total for Double with Ocean View:        $2,676                         $2,876

Total for Double with No Ocean View:  $2,496                        $2,696

Or

VENMO & ZELLE also accepted. Contact Alessandra for these options

Contact us at blackmadonnacenter@gmail.com if a payment plan is needed

                                                                                                                                                        

Total Cost Includes:

  • 11-night Hotel cost including local tax and 2 meals a day at the hotels
  • Fulltime tourguide/coordinator Davide Iosia
  • All workshop curriculum and performances and musician fees
  • Entrance and Meals at Parco Julari and Guide at Argimusco
  • Bus Transport to and from hotels to all tour locations
  • Bus pickup & drop off at airport 

Not included:

  • Airfare
  • Meals and wine outside hotel
  • Museum and archeological sites
  • Any activities outside pilgrimage and workshop on the schedule
  • Tips to Drivers, Waiters

Covid Travel Information:

It is strongly encouraged for all participants to be Vaccinated against COVID 19 or be masked during indoor and close proximity activities. Vaccination requirements subject to change based on CDC travel guidelines (see current vaccination requirements for travel to Italy at https://it.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/