Despite the chilly wet weather and this miserable cold, I decided to venture out on Easter Day to see Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the Cart), the traditional Easter celebration here in Firenze (Florence). The articles I read advised me to arrive early to get a good standing spot for viewing this spectacle. So I arrived at the Piazza del Duomo at about 9:15 a.m., prepared to stand around for close to two hours until the big event at 11 a.m.
This Easter ritual dates back to the First Crusade, when, after the crusader army took Jerusalem, the commander-in-chief received a reward in the form of three chips of stone from the Holy Sepulcher of Christ. These stones were brought to Florence in 1101 and were used to kindle the first spark of "new fire", a symbol of the new life that began with Easter. All lights and hearth fires were extinguished on Good Friday in commemoration of Christ's death and relit with the coals of this "new fire".
I arrived too late for a first row standing spot, but I got a pretty good second row place behind two short women.
The celebration begins with a parade through the streets of Florence, with four white oxen pulling the cart.
Paraders sport costumes from centuries gone by, and there are lots of them.
The cart rests in the center of the plaza in front of Il Duomo, Florence's large cathedral. It's lighted at 11 a.m. by the Bishop and the fireworks begin.....and go on for about 10 minutes.
If I were smarter, I could figure out how to post a video from youtube here, so all you'd have to do is click on the play button. But I'm not, so you'll have to copy and paste this URL to see what I witnessed.
After this impressive spectacle, I walked back to my apartment on popsicle toes and crawled back into bed, where I've been ever since.