On January 20th, Ortona hosts one of the most distinctive events of the town: the so called “Vaporetto di San Sebastiano”. Il Vaporetto is nothing but a feast dedicated to the celebration of Saint Sebastian. The event features a spectacular firework show and the famous ritual of “Il Vaporetto”.
In the evening, right after the religious ceremonies, a large crowd gathers in front of St.Thomas’ cathedral to see the departure of “Il Vaporetto”: a small papier-mache boat, suspended in mid-air and supported by a long wire that connects the two ends of the town’s square.
The boat, fuelled by a series of rockets and firecrackers, needs to reach both the ends of the wire, making a round-trip across the square. The origin of the feast dates back to 1936. Legend says that if the trip of “Il Vaporetto” goes smoothly, the year ahead will be an excellent year for farming and fishing.
Right after the firework show, there’s another ritual to uphold: ‘lu pizzinett’ (puzinétte “o puzzinette ) based dinner. Lu pizzinett is a typical dish of Ortona made with salted codfish, broccoli, black cabbage and roasted peppers. This dish is named after the copper pan that is used to cook the ingredients.