Passion Plays are famous for depicting the Passion of Jesus. The most famous, perhaps, is the Oberammergau Passion Play held in Germany every ten years.
However, there is one in Italy that is also impressive, and that is here in Sordevolo. It is held every five years and has a cast of 400 locals and over 29 scenes depicting early Jerusalem.
The Passion play of Sordevolo’s text was written in 1500 by Giuliano Dati, who served as chaplain of the church of Santi Martiri in Trastevere, in Rome. He wrote the lines of the play in an archaic form of Italian called “Laudi” that was used when the Via Crucis was reenacted every Good Friday in the Colosseum until 1539.
How the script came to be used here is subject to some debate, but in 1815, when villagers made a promise to perform the play every 5 years if they were spared from the plague that was ravishing the country.
To this day, it is still held every 5 years: 2015, 2020, 2025, etc. Performances are held on Fridays and Saturdays from mid-June through September.
The nearest major city is Biella. There is local train service to Biella from several cities in Italy. There are quite a few tour companies that include Sordevolo in their itineraries of Italy during the times that the play is running.
Address: Via Eugenio Bona, 35 - 13817 Sordevolo (BI) Italy
GPS coordinates: 45° 34' 18.2100'' N, 7° 58' 31.2240'' E
Tel & Fax: +39 015 2562486
Photos courtesy Sordevolo Passion Play.