The Snake Breeders Festival (Cocullo)


The 1st May in Cocullo, with the snake breeders festival, Saint Domenico Abate is celebrated. According to the tradition he is the Patron Saint of poisonous and fierce animals.

During the celebration, there is a parade with Saint Domenico’s statue wrapped by small harmless snakes. They live in the mountains around the town (aesculapian snakes, and grass snakes). The statue is followed by devotees and is watched by tourists coming from all over the world.

In winter the so called “serpari” (or snake breeders) capture the snakes on the mountains around the town. They take them when they hibernating, and before the parade they show the snakes to visitors who can touch them.

The ceremony has got a strong emotional and visual effect. The snakes which find no place on the statue are carried by the inhabitants.

The origins:

The old local population had the worship of reptiles to celebrate goddess Angizia (from the latin angius = snake). According to the legend she had taught them how to use poisons and antidotes. She lived in a cave near Lake Fucino, she did magic and cured people.

As time passed, cultures and religions changed, and people from Abruzzo started to venerate Saint Domenico Abbate.

Start 01/05/2017 End 01/05/2017

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