Wonder  }  Monument

Ortona, the statue of St. Thomas and his cult

The fishermen's saint

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Where is


Porto di Ortona, Via Cervana, 66026 Ortona CH, Italia (1m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

The relics of St. Thomas are preserved in Ortona. The city's relationship with the saint is so deep that the cathedral dedicated to him was not enough. Or rather, something more prosaic than the church was needed, something that would make Thomas a companion in the lives of Ortonians. The solution is as natural as it is simple: a statue of St. Thomas, placed in the waters in front of the harbor where the fishing boats dock, protecting and guarding from below the rocky coast behind which the city of Ortona rises.

Why it is special

The place is uncrowded and the statue, positioned among the reflections of the lights and the sea, gives an evocative scenery and a sense of peace. Here it is possible to enjoy the sounds and scents of the sea, the chatter of the harbor and the gentle gaze of St. Thomas. And those who really want to have the full experience would have no trouble finding a good aperitif of seafood crudes, obviously very fresh, perhaps accompanied by a bottle of local wine.

Not to be missed

During the first weekend in May, the entire town celebrates St. Thomas. It is on this occasion that the Festival of Forgiveness takes place , where a folkloristic historical procession in medieval and Renaissance costumes reaches the Basilica. Here a Dame chosen especially for the occasion hands over the keys capable of opening the urn with the silver Bust of the Saint, which will be carried in procession through the streets of the city back to the Basilica where his relics are kept.

A bit of history

The story of the bones of the Apostle Thomas tells that the Ortonese navarch Leo, during a military action in 1258 on the island of Chios, was informed by an elderly priest of the treasure of the apostle's relics and that, in a moment of deep recollection, he was twice invited by a luminous hand to approach the tombstone of the saint. From the stone's largest hole, Leo extracted a bone. Hence the idea of the theft, which occurred the following night, of the bones wrapped in white cloths and still kept today in a gilded copper urn in the Orton Basilica.


The Apostle Thomas is the object of veneration by the whole town and especially by fishermen who, mispronouncing his name and consonants, before any move rely on the statue of the saint in the customary request "San Tumàss me, arpuortm a Urton."

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Valentina Marchigiano

The statue of the Patron, placed in the waters in front of the harbor where the fishing boats dock, protects and guards from below the rocky coast on which the town of Ortona stands. A few meters away, the Lighthouse with a hidden little beach lights up the magic.


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