The Sanctuary of St. Mary of Victory or Madonna a Lungo is located in the rural area called Contrada Valentino between Termoli and San Giacomo degli Schiavoni. The church is hardly framed in an architectural style and represents the devotion of Termoli habitants’ who, on Tuesday after Easter, prayed Madonna. The meadows and the green valley close the shrine offer an indescribable picture of natural and unusual beauty.
Originally called St. Mary in Valentino, from the name of the area where it was built in 1545, today it is more famous among Termoli inhabitants’ with the name of Madonn’a llunghe. Originally, next to the Church there was a small convent of Capuchin friars. The sanctuary has a very important story: on 2nd of August 1566, some Turkish hordes disembarked in Termoli, under the order of the terrible Admiral of Solimano Sultan, Piyale Pasha, destroyed most of the city. Turkish tried to proceed towards San Giacomo and Guglionesi but, just near the church, they were stopped by a group of Termoli and San Giacomo inhabitants’ and at the end they escaped. The victory did not prevent the destruction of the small convent of Capuchin friars, and part of the Church, but since then, to thank Madonna for the triumph obtained, the name of the sanctuary was also changed in Madonna della Vittoria (Madonna of Victory). The interior of the Church is typical of Franciscan simplicity. On the altar there is an anonymous painting representing the Madonna with Child together with St. Sebastian and St. Giovannino.
On the right of the entry door there is the original stoup saved by the anger of Saracen pirates. For centuries, at the Sanctuary, the inhabitants of Termoli and San Giacomo celebrate the atypical Easter on Tuesday after Easter. During the day, in the area in front of the little church, there are dozens of peddlers of typical local products: it is possible to taste the scapece of fish, porchetta, torcinelli and caciocavallo. Once everybody walked from the village to the hill as a kind of pilgrimage, and after listening to Mass and praying to Madonna, they met under the numerous oaks to do rich picnics.
Today, most of the people arrive to the church by car, they park in the nearby Furnace and they walk just for a few meters. But the peddlers and the desire to stay together in the open air are still part of a strong tradition linked to this day.