Pesa Vegia

The Pesa Vegia is an unmissable event during the Christmas festivities, an event with over 400 years of history that is presented to visitors every year on January 5th, renewing itself and at the same time maintaining the legend and magic.

Many are the legends and hypotheses that have arisen over the years around the birth of this centuries-old event.

From the research recently carried out by Antonio Rusconi (which resulted in the publication of the book “Pesa Vegia tra leggenda e realtà” – a date around 1605 is documented as more likely, the year in which a decree was issued by Governor Pedro Acevedo, Count of Fuentes, annulling a previous reform of 1604 and restoring the old units of measurement (hence the name Pesa Vegia).

The new units of measurement, i.e. the “pesa nova“, had caused displeasure among Bellano’s traders: that “unfair decree” was considered a real calamity for the town’s commercial activities if it was not possible to oppose its application. In a heated meeting at the Town Hall it was decided to appeal to the Governor himself, so that he would annul the new weights and issue a new cry to restore the old measures. The Count of Fuentes, demonstrating all his magnanimity, accepted the pleas of the Bellanesi and placed himself at the head of a delegation heading to the Lario village.

The atmosphere was tense in the village over the outcome of the expedition. An unusual bustle animated the Puncia from early afternoon and after sunset the beach beyond the River Pioverna was full of young and old people anxiously waiting for the gondola bus. Time passed incessantly. Darkness pressed in, the air was biting, freezing.

Huddled around a bonfire, men and women were pensive, worried. And from time to time they would cast their eyes toward the darkness of the lake to catch the slightest sign. The sound of a splash came suddenly. The chilled Bellanesi stood peering into the distance. And when they saw the gondola bus, with as much breath as they had in their throats, they uttered from the shore the cry, “Pesa vegia or Pesa nova?”.

“Pesa Vegia” was the answer.

People and merchants rejoiced. The whole town flocked to the wharf to receive the Spanish envoys bearing the benevolent order.

Someone remembered that it was the eve of the Epiphany and crazy with joy they staged the representation of the Magi, improvising a long procession and walking the streets of the village stopping to drink and eat in taverns and inns open all night until morning.

Pesa Vegia

The people of Bellano have celebrated this event every year for over 4 centuries, even in times of war and deprivation, staging the procession of the Three Kings, the race of the Pese through the streets of the village and the bonfire on the pier. Over the years there have been many changes and innovations in the way the good news is celebrated. In the second half of the twentieth century the Governor and the reading of the edict from the balcony of the Town Hall, the living crib, King Herod’s castle and much more came to light. These elements, included in the traditional Feast of the Three Kings, gave rise to that popular event where the sacred blends with the profane in an indissoluble bond called “Pesa Vegia”.

The feast is so deeply rooted and its strength is so surprising that not even the recent pandemic was not able to stop the arrival of the Governor at the port, the reading of the Benevolent Ordinance from the balcony of the Town Hall and the traditional tour of the Three Kings, followed remotely by the Bellanese forced to stay home, but all present together with their hearts shouting “Pesa Vegia!”.


Galleria fotografica

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