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  • Scoppio del Carro

    by Anthony Parente

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    The Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the cart) is a Florentine tradition that is held every year on Easter Sunday. People gather around the Piazza del Duomo to witness this explosion, which takes place at noon.

    This annual event has a long standing tradition that dates back to the first Crusade in 1099. History tells us of a Florentine nobleman by the name of Pazzino de Pazzi who was the first to climb the walls of Jerusalem carrying the flag of the crusaders. For his courage Goffredo di Buglione, the commander and chief of the crusade, rewarded Pazzino with stone splinters from the Holy Sepulchre. When he returned to Florence he donated these splinters to the city.

    Every Easter morning a procession is held in the city of Florence. Starting at the church of the SS Apostoli an elaborate cart, which is called the Brindellone, is pulled by oxen decorated with flowers. The oxen pull the cart through the city until it reaches the Piazza del Duomo. Once it reaches the Piazza the oxen are unhooked from the cart and a wire is attached to it. The wire extends from the cart all the way to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. On the wire in the Cathedral is a rocket that has the appearance of a white dove, which is referred to as the colombina. During the celebration of Easter mass the fuse is lit by a fire that was created by the vary same splinters that Pazzino donated to the city and the dove is sent on its way to ignite the cart setting off a spectacular explosion.

    According to popular legend if all goes well and the cart is exploded it will mean a very prosperous year for the Florentines.

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