Easter traditions in and around Florence
Easter is now coming and here in Tuscany and especially in the Florentine area, there are some special traditions that perhaps not everyone knows about.
An Easter tradition of the city of Florence is Scoppio del Carro or the Explosion of the float, which takes place on Easter Sunday morning.
This tradition dates back about 350 years ago. The decorated float, called "Brindellone", is pulled by a pair of oxen adorned by garlands around the streets of Florence, up to the Piazza del Duomo in the space between the baptistery and the cathedral.
The ceremony begins at 10 am: a priest rubs three flints whose sparks light the Easter candle; this candle is used to light the coals that are located in a container on the float. The cart goes in a parade with drummers and flag bearers, all in historical clothing.
The Chariot is full of fireworks and when it arrives in front of the Cathedral the parade stops and waits for the start of the holy Mass.
Around 11 am from the altar of the Cathedral, the Archbishop lights a rocket shaped like a dove (Colombina) with the sacred fire. This Colombina rocket symbolises the Holy Ghost, that flies out of the church along a wire that goes to hit the Chariot in the square, creating spectacular fireworks!
If the ritual proceeds regularly and all the fireworks explode, the harvest will be rich and prosperous and all citizens and the whole city will have good luck.
A culinary tradition of Easter in Tuscany is rosemary bread (Pan di Ramerino).
A small soft and sweet bread made with bread dough, milk, eggs, raisins and rosemary.
In the past, you could find this soft bun in the bakeries of the province of Florence in the period before Easter and especially on Holy Thursday, already blessed by local priests.
Today you can always find Pan di Ramerino in the Tuscan bakeries and it is one of the simplest but at the same time most delicious dishes of Tuscan tradition.