San Potito - the patron saint of Ascoli

Until the 17th century Ascoli had three patron saints: San Leone, San Biaggio and San Potito. The increasing dominance of San Potito is reflected in the growing popularity of versions of his name being given to both boys and girls from the late 17th century. In a period which has seen the increasing feminisation of saint and madonna cults throughout the Italian south, it is interesting to note that San Potito retains the dominant role in the Ascoli festival tradition.

San Potito was a christian boy, martyred in the 2nd century AD. The statue of San Potito is made from solid silver and was donated by a local doctor in the 17th century. The base was donated by migrants to America originating from the town at the beginning of this century.

The statue is surrounded by candles. During the course of the procession people pin money and, sometimes, jewellery, onto the red robe about the statue's neck in recognition of favours received and hoped for from the saint. The nail in the head of the boy saint symbolises the form of his martyrdom.

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