Pazzino, who was a young Florentine member of the noble Pazzi family, participated in the First Crusade in the Holy Land in 1099. While there, he provided evidence of his courage by being the first to climb the walls of Jerusalem and raise the Christian banner. When he came home, he brought back three flints from the Holy Sepulcher that he received for his act of courage. Today, those same flints are preserved in the Church of SS Apostoli. What a great story! It is believed to be the source of the Easter Sunday “explosion of the cart” celebration or Scoppio del Carro.
This celebration has been held on Easter Sunday, April 1, (starting at 10 am) for more than 350 years. A wagon that stands almost three stories high is filled to the brim with fireworks. The wagon is pulled by two oxen, who are decorated with garlands and the wagon is pulled to its destination, the square between the Cathedral and the Baptistry.
We can provide Cathedral tickets that allow you access to all five of the complex sites filled with some of the incredible art in Italian history to enjoy while you are so close to the venue.
When the cart ceremony begins, a priest rubs Pazzino’s three flints together until they spark and light the Easter candle; also used to light some coals which are placed in a container on the Cart. The procession, which includes drummers and flag bearers march the Holy Fire to the Archbishop of Florence before Santa Maria del Fiore, which may be better known to you as the Duomo.
When the “Gloria” is sung inside the church, (which is about 11 am) the Archbishop uses the fire to light a rocket, shaped like a dove, that is representative of the Holy Spirit. The dove flies down a wire to the outside of the church and intercepts with the cart in the square, and the colorful display begins with roaring cheers from the crowd. When all the fireworks have ignited, it is a sign of a good harvest and prosperity for all!
While the ceremony clearly has strong religious roots, some may also consider pagan roots because the purpose is to deliver good fortune. It is one of the most popular, traditional celebrations of the Easter season, and it also includes a parade of citizens dressed in medieval clothing.
While you’re enjoying your Florence visit, as well as incredible Easter meals with family and friends, we can recommend an abundance of great cooking lessons, plus wine and cheese tours:
· Tuscany Wine Tour takes you to the beautiful Chianti region, just south of Florence.
· Visit Montalcino, an ancient and quaint hilltop town, famous for its Brunello wine. You will fall in love with this town!
· Pick one of three itineraries, to discover Florence, with an art historian born and bred in the heart of the city, and relax at the ending with some traditional wine and foods of the region.
· And no trip to Florence would be complete without some chocolate tasting!
So, if you’re still deciding where to spend your Easter, the answers are all here for you, so be sure to visit us today and book your trips. There is so much to see and do in Florence that you will keep coming back for more of its incredible art, history, and charm. The average temperatures for April are in the comfy mid-sixties. What are you waiting for? We’ll see you in Florence! Pasqua Felice (Happy Easter)!