Archive for May, 2011
Walking the streets of Florence, Italy already feels like going through a time machine. To get to the old town you cross the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge so beautiful Hitler expressly ordered it’s survival while Nazis where destroying all the other bridges in town. The city’s walls still stand, and signs of the Renaissance bleed through every building in the old town.
Imagine my surprise then, when I happened upon this full Renaissance parade marching through the streets on the morning of Easter Sunday. It was as if I’d been transported back in time several centuries.
I’d stumbled upon a 1000-year-old tradition, the Scoppio del Carro. Literally translated “explosion of the cart,” it’s an elaborate Easter ritual that start with two simultaneous parades processing through town, one led by two bulls carrying a wagon. The wagon is delivered to the square in front of Brunelleschi’s famous Duomo, where Easter mass is in session. Some pomp and circumstance ensues, then the church doors are swung open and a firework shaped like a dove rockets out from the nave, striking the fireworks cart and sending it into a blaze of glory. The daytime fireworks last about 15 minutes and are quite dramatic, encompassing red, purple and white smoke and reaching a crescendo as three Easter flags drop out form the top of the cart.