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Ferrara, Italy: "Noctis Domini"

C. De Melo is a Renaissance Art Historian & Author specializing in historical novels set in Italy. Please visit cdemelo (dot) com

The Jester


What is Noctis Domini?

Organized by the cultural association "Ombre d'Arte"(Shadow Art), Noctis Domini is an amazing event in which people can become an active part of a story simply by participating in the procession, respecting the rules, and adhering to the dress code provided by the association.

Participants in elegant Gothic and steampunk costumes pose for photos, then take part in a story written by Roberta Mercatelli. Afterward, there is an interactive procession with entertainment. Dancers and fire performers dazzle onlookers. Participants in costume join the parade as the evening's protagonists. Vampires, werewolves, witches, wizards and demons clash with vampire hunters, angels, and good witches. It's the classic battle of LIGHT vs DARK.

Locals line up to take photos and videos of this splendid display, which is loaded with pomp and pageantry. It's a night of fun.

Roberta Mercatelli (Creator of Noctis Domini)


How it all began

Originally from Bologna, Roberta Mercatelli now lives in Imola. The paternal side of her family hails from the medieval city of Ferrara. According to Roberta, Noctis Domini was born on a Sunday afternoon in late April 2015.

Surrounded by ancient abandoned ruins in a rural part of Imola, a group of vampire and werewolf enthusiasts simulated fighting between the two species. Roberta eventually proposed transforming their game into an event, and proceeded to pitch the idea to various municipalities. Ferrara immediately responded with interest and welcomed them with open arms.



Vampire Hunters


Noctis Domini is born

Despite being strangers in the city of Ferrara, Roberta claimed that the locals responded positively to their first event. This led to a second, third, fourth, and they recently had their fifth on November 9, 2019.

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As of right now, Noctis Domini is unique to Italy and held exclusively in Ferrara. The last couple of years has shown a significant spike in participants. Not only have numbers increased but costumes have become more elaborate, attracting professional photographers and cosplay fans. This is a chance for those in the industry (special effects masters, seamstresses, and tailors) to flaunt their skills. Ultimately, Roberta would like this event to attract people from all over Italy and beyond.



Dark Angel


Noctis Domini November 9, 2019. Quinta Edizione Ferrara, Italy

What drew this author to Noctis Domini

I've been obsessed with vampires since my first episode of Dark Shadows on "Creature Double Feature" Saturday matinees in the early 1980's. My fascination with the occult has inspired me to write a few paranormal fiction novels.

Although I've made a name for myself as a historical fiction writer, I've combined my passion for history with paranormal characters. Demons and witches come to life in my book, LILITH and THE DUCHESS DE NUIT: A Tale of Lust & Blood features sophisticated vampires.

Given my background, it's no surprise that I've been following the Facebook page of Ombre D'Arte Assoziazione Culturale for a couple of years, and I love their posts. When they sent out the invitation for the 2019 Noctis Domini, I decided to check it out.

Author of this article in costume


The author's observations of the event

Ferrara is the perfect location for Noctis Domini. Imagine being out on an autumn night surrounded by Gothic towers and ancient palaces. Although I have dressed up like a vampire on many occasions in the past while living in the USA, I opted for something different (see photo).

The first thing I noticed was the diversity among participants. I entered the square to see Italians and foreigners of varying ages posing for photographers. People were friendly and accepting toward me, and everyone seemed to be intent on having a great time. Locals stopped to ask questions or take selfies with us.

My favorite part of the evening was the procession through the cobbled streets amid the medieval buildings. People watched us from terraces and windows, and many lined the streets to film us as we passed. I posed for dozens of photos with children, elderly, couples, and random strangers.

For more information, you can follow their Facebook page of Ombre D'Arte Assoziazione Culturale or EMAIL:

Thanks for reading!
C. De Melo


William Kiser from New York, NY, United States on December 01, 2019:


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