Florence, one of the few cities that still embraces the Renaissance today, is celebrating Easter this weekend with a bang. Crowds gather in front of the neogothic church in Florence’s Old Town to see the annual Scoppio del Carro, a traditional ritual that has taken place for 300 years.
The Scoppio del Carro, translated literally, means the explosion of the cart. And that is exactly what happens. An ornate wagon designed in 1679 is piled two, sometimes 3 stories high full of fireworks and is pulled through Florence by white oxen which are usually decorated as well with flowers and garland. The procession stops in front of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore where Sunday mass is held. A fire is started using ancient stone chips from the Holy Sepulcher. The Archbishop then lights a dove-shaped rocket that is attached to a wire. It flies gracefully all the way down to where the cart is located, setting it aflame with explosions while excitement fills the crowd! Thousands and thousands of spectators come to witness this explosive event each year, cheering at the noise, colours and smoke. The louder the bang, the greater the harvest will be for the coming growing season. This ritual has become as essential part in the Easter celebrations in Florence and is one that should not be missed!
Florence is a city that still embraces so much of the Renaissance. During religious holidays at Easter, visitors to Florence have a unique chance to participate in century-old traditions and enjoy the city when it is alive with festivities. Apart from the Easter celebrations there is plenty more to see. How about starting with a visit to Michelangelo’s famous David in the Galleria dell’Accademia? The Santa Croce, where one could stare at Giotto’s frescoes for hours, and the Duomo, to see Brunelleschi’s incredible dome in person, are among the other must-see spots while visiting Florence. If you really want to experience as renaissance holiday, make sure you save an afternoon for the Uffizi Galleries where you can see the world’s most impressive collection of Renaissance paintings including the Birth of Venus by Botticelli.
There is a saying in Italy that says, “Natale con i suoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi” (Christmas with family and Easter with friends of your choosing). If you haven’t made plans for Easter weekend, grab a group of friends and take advantage of the last minute flights to Florence to celebrate this Easter holiday with a bang!
Image source: kimbar / flickr