The Volto Santo di Lucca or the Holy Face of Lucca commemorates a centuries old wooden statue in the hilly Tuscan town of Lucca. This particular rendering that now hangs in Lucca’s main church dates back at least to the 12th century. There are accounts that a similarly styled statue was originally placed in the town only several decades after the actual death of Christ. The original wood carving, dating back to the time of Christ, was slowly chipped away at over time by those on pilgrimages looking to take a piece of their journey back home with them. The religious carving that is now the centerpiece of Lucca’s religious culture is now carried through the town of Lucca each year on the 13th of September in one of the most deeply religious processions in the Tuscan calendar. To explore the ancient atmosphere of Tuscan towns, try a guided bike tour.
For the Luminaria, or the procession itself, residents of Lucca dress in historical costumes and parade through the streets of the town. The procession begins each year in front of the San Frediano church and continues through to the Piazza San Martino. Become acquainted with Lucca and nearby Pisa with a guided excursion through the region. In the evening, the celebration becomes more revelrous. The evening culminates with a spectacular fireworks display that can be enjoyed throughout the city. The following day there is a large outdoor market in the heart of Lucca for all to enjoy. The market is an excellent opportunity to enjoy local fare during the harvest season. There’s bound to be ample local foods and wines. Experience the foods and wines of the entire Tuscan region with a full day of tastings and exploration.
Lucca and the surrounding region of Tuscany has much to offer for those visiting in early Fall. Enjoy the late sunsets and the rolling golden hills in the ultimate Italian fashion, from behind the wheel of a Ferrari.
Regardless of how you choose to enjoy this celebratory season in Tuscany, you’re sure to enjoy the culture and cuisine. At the beginning of the harvest season Italians are excited to share with one another and celebrate amply.
Have you ever experienced a religious procession or ceremony in Italy? How do you imagine the mood of the town will be at the conclusion of the parade? What delicacies would you look forward to finding at the local market the following day? What similar ceremonies are celebrated where you are visiting from?