Image of the Madonna della Vittoria in Piazza Armerina


History and legend intertwine around the origin and the discovery of an image of the Madonna and Child.
According to legend, the image of the Madonna with child kept in the Cathedral of Piazza Armerina was donated by Pope Nicolò II to Count Ruggero d'Altavilla as a cloth that would have helped the Norman militias in the battles against the Saracens.
This banner accompanied the Count Roger in the war of religious liberation in Sicily. When the city of Piazza Armerina was also liberated, Count Ruggero donated the sacred image to the city, to which he was bound by a bond of alliance. The image immediately became the object of great worship and was immediately considered miraculous.
Under the reign of William I the Evil, in 1161, the image was buried to prevent it from being damaged due to the revolt against the king who was taking place in the city. Nothing more was heard of the sacred image until, on 3 May 1348, the Madonna appeared to the priest Giovanni Candilia indicating the place where the sacred image was buried. Together with the image of the Madonna, a hat was found, now kept in a silver case in the Cathedral.
The discovery of the image coincided with the end of a terrible plague that was hitting the population. Thus it was that the cult of the Madonna delle Vittorie spread throughout the population and a sanctuary was erected in the place of discovery, the Sanctuary of Piazza Vecchia.
In memory of this miraculous discovery, a popular festival is celebrated on May 3, the Festa di Maria SS di Piazza Vecchia, during which carried in procession a copy of the image of the Madonna.

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