We were lucky enough to stay in an apartment in Florence a few years ago, overlooking the Piazza del Duomo, little realizing at the time that we would have one of the best views of the most important festivity taking place there on Easter Sunday. Lo Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the Cart) is a religious tradition dating back over 500 years. It consists of a tall antique cart, laden with fireworks being pulled from the Porta al Prato, through the streets by two white oxen, decorated with garlands of flowers, into the small square between the Baptistry and the Duomo. They are accompanied by a colourful procession of musicians, flag throwers and people in historical costumes, as well as various city dignitaries.
The tradition has roots dating back to the First Crusade in 1099, when a young Florentine, Pazzini, was the first to scale the wall of Jerusalem and raise the Christian flag. He received a gift of three flints from the Holy Sepulchre, which he brought back to Florence, and which are kept in the Church of Santi Apostoli.
Inside the Duomo, during Easter Mass, the cardinal of Florence, lights (with the historic flints) a rocket shaped like a dove, symbolising the Holy Spirit. The rocket/dove travels along a wire through the church to ignite the cart outside. The impressive fireworks display generally lasts about 20 minutes and a successful “Explosion of the Cart” is supposed to guarantee a good harvest for the year, as well as good luck to the city and its citizens.
Enoteca Coquinarius (close to Piazza del Duomo)
Character-filled trattoria, serving delicious crostini and hearty salads. Great for lunches.
Trattoria Baldovino, Piazza Santa Croce
Reliable Tuscan menu, including delicious pasta, pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven and perennial Tuscan favourites such as bistecca all Fiorentina.
One of our all time favourites, situated in the Oltrarno, close to the Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti. A welcoming, friendly service and delicious food – equally good for a group of friends or a romantic dinner for two. Recommended to book for evenings as always popular.