U Catenacciu



Corsica is an island with a strong identity and traditions. The island’s traditions are deeply rooted in the local culture and history and can be found almost everywhere on the island, especially in Sartene where this event is clearly the oldest, most spectacular, popular and festive in Corsica. This ceremony dates back to the 13th century and people come from all over the island and abroad to celebrate Good Friday. This is the Catenacciu.

What is ''le Catenacciu'' ?

It is the representation of the ascent of Christ to the Mount of Calvary. A man in chains, literally called Catenacciu, carries a 37 kg solid oak cross with a 17 kg chain at his feet. The procession through the streets of Sartene is 1.7 km long and he must fall three times during his journey as if he were Christ.

The penitent is a citizen of the town, he wears a red bonnet and only the parish priest knows his identity. Through this procession, the penitent, at the end of his journey, will be forgiven of his sins.


Unfolding of the Catenacciu

After two days of spiritual retreat at the convent of San Damiano at the entrance to the city, the penitent is escorted to the parish church of Santa Maria in Piazza Porta on Good Friday.

At 9.30 p.m., the imposing wooden doors of the church are opened to allow the penitents and the brothers of the Compagnia del Santissimo Sacramento to begin the Good Friday procession.

Beginning its “Way of the Cross”, which can last more than two hours and is followed by a crowd of several thousand people who hear only the sacred songs and the sound of chains scraping the ground, this procession is marked by three falls symbolising the stations of the crucifixion of Christ. At the end of the procession and after the sermon of the priest, the pilgrims are invited to come and collect themselves in the church in which “U Catenacciu” finishes atoning for his sins.