Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Buona Pasqua

Buona Pasqua means 'happy easter' and it's very much on everyone's lips here at the moment although in actuality it doesn't mean much more than "have a nice long-weekend". Even though this is a predominantly Catholic nation, it seems now that most Italians don't practice their religion and very few people have a personal relationship with Jesus. The easter celebrations in Florence have been passed down over the centuries and are an exciting event for Italians and tourists alike. My first thought was to avoid what would certainly be a moshpit around the Duomo for "Lo Scoppio del Carro" (The burning of the Cart), but at the last minute I decided that it was too much to know that this once a year event would be happening senza me, so off I went.

I parked my bike on my side of the river and walked across the empty Ponte Vecchio thinking to myself, maybe I have the wrong day, where is everyone? As I made my way through the empty streets I thought, ok weird, where's the parade? where's the streets lined with people? where am I? what day is it anyway? Finally reached the Duomo and behold, the moshpit. Every person in Florence was right there squeezed into the space surrounding the Duomo and over the tops of the heads I could make out some waving flags and hear the drums and the church bells, and feel the excitement in the air. Clearly I had to make my way closer to the action, which was a challenge, but I got a fair way in, finally laying eyes on the said 500 year old cart, lined with fireworks and surrounded by firemen and pyrotechs in all manner of safety gear. Alright, this might be the only time when I'll agree with you that it's nice to be tall. Add tippy toes to that, combined with intermittent leaps into the air and one can afford oneself some kind of view of the action (I find).

I heard that the cart was going to go off at 11am so I had 45 minutes to endure being squished on all sides and hoping to have no kind of urgent need of any sort for at least the next hour. The burning of the cart is supposed to represent Christ's ressurrection and new life. I really had no clue what to expect but there was a pulpable building of tension as the drums beat and the bells donged and a priest (or at least someone with a very tall hat on) paraded around a bit - couldn't see, there were probably other things going on... and then the moment arrived. Something came whizzing along a string coming out of the main door of the Duomo, hitting the cart and setting off the fireworks display. It was the most dramatic, exciting and altogether terrifying fireworks I've ever experienced. So loud one might even have thought world war 3 had broken out and we were being bombed. I decided that photos wouldn't do it justice so took some footage (see below). Obviously the footage does it no justice either, but if you put your volume on full you might get an idea. Note the little boy in the red jacket in front of me who keeps putting his hands over his ears. I felt like doing the same only I had my arm high above my head trying to capture it on camera (when in Florence do as the Florentines do). Unfortunately my battery ran out just at the crucial moment... at the end, the three little bits whirling around at the top each drop down a flag one by one, to everyone's delight. Sorry I missed that bit. Then of course I also missed documenting the ensuing parade of people dressed in medieval clothes, drummers, flag wavers etc. How excitement!

My lovely friends Cristina and Colin (from Spain and England respectively - I met Cristina at Angel Academy), came around later for afternoon tea so they could admire my new place and go ooh aah at my wonderous view and then we popped over the road to the Boboli Gardens with our annual passes to soak up the greenery. Here's me and Cristina...

I'm very much enjoying school and should have some drawings to post soon.

È tutto per oggi!

See latest pics here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Marn. Truely a spectacle. You didn't have to imagine too much, it WAS LOUD!!! Especially got your lonely feeling when you panned and saw the crowd in every direction. no wonder the streeets were empty!! Love your new apartment. Oh the window in the kitchen ... reminds me of my kitchen window in Croatia. Ahhh.... PS thanks for the txts. they really meant a lot on the day to knoiw someone was thinking of little ol' me. THANKS BELLA xxx Ok , now for the most important message written by Lana:
    I love you.How are you in Italy? Are you happy? Well if you are that's good. lots of love lana.ooooxxxxooooxxxxooooxxxx


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