Santa Maria del Mare is a small country church built in the XIII century by a colony of Pisan merchants, which have controlled the trading commerce in the port of Orosei for 200 years. It is located on a hill between the sea and Cedrino river’s mouth, in a natural and suggestive point. It has always been a safe landing for lots of castaways and sailors symbolized by the many votive ships hung inside and by the flags of the States looking at the Mediterranean: “the sad sailors, in the stormy sea, are a port to rest and a guide for the walkers.”
The first procession took place in 1976 to celebrate the rebirth of this loved church, with painted boats filled with flowers. Since that date, the procession continues every year, every last Sunday of the Marian month.
The celebration takes place the last Sunday of May with a procession starting from the parish church, carrying a statue of Madonna del Mare. It is organized by Orosei’s three confraternities and it is followed by folk groups wearing traditional dresses and by a crowd of devotees behind the simulacrum. Once they arrive at the bridge on the Cedrino, the statue, the priest and the confraternities seat on the fishermen’ boats that, lined up, will slowly sail across the river to reach the small church. The rest of the procession continues walking along the riverside, following the boats. Once the boats arrive at the church, before landing, they line up leaving the boat with the Saint in the middle, so that it can land first and be applauded by the crowd.
Walking through the streets in Orosei on that day, you will step on carpets of petals. A lot of tourists and people from the surrounding towns come to attend the ceremony, which has become a very important event. There are also a lot of people from Orosei that participate wearing the traditional costume.
Santa Maria ‘e Mare feast is organized by the Committee of Santa Maria ‘e mare and the fishermen, in collaboration with Orosei’s Municipality, Pro-Loco, Orosei’s Parish Church, various groups and volunteering, culture, sport and flowers associations.