La Pasqua (Easter) & Il Scoppio del Carro (The Explosion of the Cart)

In celebration of Easter Sunday, Florence celebrates with the "Scoppio del Carro", or "Explosion of the Cart", a tradition dating back over 350 years. 
An elaborate cart, built in 1622 and standing three stories high, is pulled by white oxen decorated with big hats and flowers, through the city centre.

It finally stops in the part of the piazza between the Baptistry and the front doors of the Duomo. The cart is wrapped in fireworks and is like a big bomb waiting to go off!

The cart is  accompanied by drummers, flag throwers and figures dressed in historical costume as well as city officials and clerical representatives. 

From the Cathedrals altar, at around 11am, when the "Gloria " is sung inside the church, the Archbishop lights a dove-shaped rocked (called the "Colombina" and symbolising the Holy Spirit) 
The Columbina flies out down a wire to the outside of the church and collides with the cart in the square and sets off the fireworks.

If the ritual proceeds smoothly and all the fireworks go off, good luck is ensured for a good harvest this year and good luck for the city and it's citizens.
This morning we got up early (well, 8am - it is Sunday!) and left home to see the parade. We got near the Duomo at about 9:30 and realised we should have left earlier as the crowds were already enormous. 
The drummers were drumming, the horn players were playing (not always together!) and you could see the flags above the crowd - bit like Moomba in Melbourne!
We found good spots, but people were pushing and shoving and a really tall big man with a huge head of hair and big arms was holding a small camera up above his head and recording the whole thing, blocking my view for most of the spectacle!! 
What can I say ...  his is the head in the middle of a lot of my photos!!
It was freezing cold about 12 degrees( and it was 22 degrees the day before yesterday) so the crowd kept me warmer, but we had to stand for one and a half hours with me hanging onto a cold marble pillar and Guy somewhere in front of me.

When the fireworks went off it was really loud and sparks and flames shot out in all directions.
I was surprised that the officials and people in costume were standing so close, all those feathers would have made a nice big fire!
The square filled with smoke until you couldn't even see the Cathedral. I think the fireworks went on for about 15 minutes as each layer of the cart exploded. 

Below is a link to a YouTube video of this years fireworks. Amazingly, this video was taken from just  behind us.

We were on the steps at the corner of the near building at the left corner!

Also attached is a link to the 2014 event with a more clear video;

As the smoke was clearing, we decided to leave, but there were still thousands of people pushing and shoving in each direction - the last time we had been in a crowd like that it was the "White Nights" event in Melbourne.

After this we decided we had to get away from the crowds for a bit, so we decided to catch the tram out to Scandicci (an small town/suburb to the south west of Florence)and go for a walk.
There was no-one around (too cold/holiday/everyone in Florence?), so it was quite nice - and quiet!

1 comment:

  1. How spectacular. You are lucky to have a year to experience all the festivals.