The Explosion of the Cart in Florence

The "Scoppio del Carro" (Explosion of the Cart), is an event that takes place every year on Easter Sunday, and it dates back to the first Crusade.
Legend has it that the first to climb the Jerusalem walls was a Florentine named Pazzino, member of the noble Pazzi family. He was rewarded for his act of courage by his leader, Godfrey of Bouillon, who gave him three flints from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. These flints are now a relic preserved in the Church of Santi Apostoli in Florence, and are used to start the "holy fire", symbol of purification, during easter Celebrations.

It al starts like this: a ceremonial wagon, called “Brindellone” by the Florentines, is pulled from Porta al Prato (where it's usually kept all year in a storage facility) to Piazza Duomo by white oxen decorated with flower garlands.
It passes through the streets of Florence accompanied by a procession of drummers, flag throwers and people dressed in historical costumes and eventually stops between the Baptistry and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
The cart, loaded with fireworks, is then connected to the altar inside the Duomo by a wire on which the "Colombina" (a mechanical dove that symbolizes the Holy Spirit) runs. This happens at around 11 am, when the "Gloria in excelsis Deo" is being sung inside the church and the Archbishop lights the fuse inside the Colombina using the Easter fire.
The rocket then speeds towards the cart and ignite it, setting-off a spectacular fireworks display. If the ceremony proceeds smoothly, and the Colombina returns by itself to the altar, it's a good augur for Florence for the rest of the year.
If not...well, let's just say that the last time the ritual failed it was 1966, the year that the devastating flood hit Florence!

So keep your fingers crossed and don't miss this spectacular event!

Scoppio del carro

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