Easter is the second largest holiday in Italy, next to Christmas. Each region has their own celebratory traditions, but none are that of Florence’s Scoppio del Carro.
A parade of performers walk the streets lined with thousands of people. The headlining performance is a cart laced with explosions while carried by two white ox (the fire department follows close behind them). The parade ends at Florence’s largest church, il Duomo. Once it reaches the Duomo, the ox are carefully detached and walked away from the cart. The Archbishop usually says a prayer, then the cart is lit on fire and explodes! Hundreds of tiny firecrackers fire off and create a barrage of excitement behind the cheering crowd.
You might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with Easter?
This tradition finds its origins in events that are partly historic and partly legendary. A young Florentine named Pazzino, a member of the noble Pazzi family, apparently took part in the First Crusade in the Holy Land in 1099, where he gave ample proof of his courage (he was the first to scale the walls of Jerusalem and raise the Christian banner). When he came home, he brought back three flints from the Holy Sepulchre that he received for his act of courage. These flints are used a symbol for the Easter celebration.
Assuming, you won’t be able to go to Florence this year to view this tradition, you can view the tradition here.
What are your plans for Easter? If you’d like to enjoy great Italian food in the company of warm service, please make your reservation soon!