Cocullo is a village in the Abruzzo situated in the Peligna Valley, between the towns of Avezzano and Sulmona. Cocullo is known for his singular patron saint’s holiday, named Festa di San Domenico or Festa dei Serpari, in which the patron saint’s statue (Domenico di Sora) is transported in procession covered with lot of snakes, mainly four-lined snakes (Elaphe quatuorlineata), Aesculapian snakes (Zamenis longissimus), grass snakes (Natrix natrix) and green whip snakes (Hierophis viridiflavus). The reptiles themselves are transported in procession by local serpari, a sort of “snake breeders”, and released in the surrounding woods at the end of the holiday. The festival is set every first Thursday in May. In 2009 it was cancelled due to some structural damages occurred into the village after the L’Aquila earthquake. This tradition, present also in coat of arms semiology, substituted the ancient Roman mythological ritual of Angitia, a snake goddess worshipped by the Marsi.
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