Lo Scoppio Del Carro, the oldest popular tradition in Florence, takes place on Easter Sunday morning. This ceremony has been performed for over nine centuries and has its origins in the First Crusade. It is spectacular and folkloristic and should not be missed.
Legend has it that a certain Pazzino de’ Pazzi, the first to enter Jerusalem, returned from the Crusades in 1099 with three splinters from Christ’s tomb. They were used to light a sacred fire on the Saturday before Easter. The fire celebrated the victory of life and the new season. This ceremony morphed into display is still performed every year, with the sad exception of 2020.
A cart called the Brindellone (a nickname for someone tall and swaying) has been used since the 15th century. It is 11 meters tall and weighs 400 kg. The cart is escorted from Porta al Prato to Piazza Duomo by four white decorated oxen. There is a parade in historical costumes and the square and cathedral are full of Florence residents carefully observing the spectacle.
After ten minutes of uninterrupted bell-ringing, a mechanical dove carrying a blessed olive branch is sent down an iron cable from the altar to set off the fireworks in the Carro, located between the Duomo and the Baptistery. The flight of the Colombina is critical. If the dove re-enters the cathedral successfully it is an omen for good harvests, both grapes and olives.
Here at Arsenio we were holding our breath; global warming and the consequent unpredictable weather patterns have made our job of making quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil harder than ever. We were delighted to see the Colombina make a perfect return into the Duomo this morning.
Check out this video of the 2022 Scoppio: