22nd May - Santa Giulia, Patron Saint of Livorno

Image of Santa Giulia in the church of the same name, Livorno Image of Santa Giulia in the church of the same name, Livorno Livorno's Patron Saint, Santa Giulia, is celebrated on the 22nd May every year. Schools and many businesses close for the day, although bigger shops are usually open.

Santa Giulia is said to have lived in the 5th century, from 420 to 450 AD. According to an ancient document known as the Passio, Giulia was a rich noblewoman from the city of Carthage in North Africa. When the city fell into ruin, Giulia was taken as a slave by a Syrian merchant called Eusebio who travelled the world with her. During one of these journeys, Eusebio's ship was wrecked on the shores of Corsica where a despot by the name of Felix tried to persuade Giulia to denounce her Christian faith by making a sacrifice to his pagan gods. When she continued to refuse, he had her crucified.

For a more detailed account, and further versions of Saint Giulia's story, see the Wikipedia page in English or the Italian language website dedicated to the saint.

The Saint's relics are preserved in three places: Brescia, in northern Italy, Nonza in Corsica and Livorno, in the Church of Santa Giulia.

The feast day is celebrated by a special mass in the Duomo at 5.30pm, followed by a procession through the streets of Livorno at 6.45pm.

The Sanctae Juliae Festival of sacred music also takes place around 22nd May each year.