The “Scoppio del Carro” or the Explosion of the Cart is a traditional ceremony held on Easter morning in Piazza del Duomo, right between the Cathedral and the Baptistery. This ritual goes back to the First Crusades of 1099 when the Florentine Pazzino de’ Pazzi, the first to raise the Christian banner above Jerusalem, was rewarded with three chips of stone from the Holy Sepulchre of Christ. Since then, every Easter, a cart has been used to distribute throughout Florence the Holy fire lit with the spark of these stones.
Over the centuries, this ritual became more elaborated and the typical cart was transformed into a decorated emblem of splendour laden with fireworks.
To this day, on Easter Sunday the cart is pulled by two white oxen during a characteristic parade from Porta al Prato to the Duomo, where the commemoration takes place. The cardinal of Florence, after celebrating the mass in the Duomo, lights a fuse on a “colombina”, a rocket shaped like a dove, that crosses the central aisle of the Cathedral heading toward the cart. As the dove hits the cart, it lights the fireworks and sets off a thrilling pyrotechnic show, the “Scoppio del Carro”.
As per the popular tradition, if the spark caught and the Scoppio del Carro goes smoothly, the Florentines could expect a good and prosperous year.
Have you ever been to Florence during the Easter break?