Back when I lived in Florence, I experienced the spectacle of Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the Cart) one fine Easter morning. This centuries-old tradition of is said to have its origins in the Crusades. Thousands now cram Piazza del Duomo for the event.
As the bells peal in Giotto’s bell tower, a rocket in the form of a mechanical colomba (dove), lit by the Archbishop, flies down a wire from the high altar of Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo) to the 30-foot-tall 500-year-old cart outside, setting off the fireworks between the main door of the Duomo and the Baptistery.
Because it’s daylight, there’s far more smoke than sparkling lights. I just remember being thankful that
no one caught on fire. Spectators crush up really close to the cart to capture images.
The part I liked most were the chalk-white Chianina oxen with crowns of spring blooms, who pulled the cart through the city streets. Sadly, I don’t have any photos from my viewing so I googled to find some.
I discovered a photo of the Chianina, a perfect crystallization of my recollection of these gentle giants, that led me to an Easter post on My Tuscan Journal, written by Lisa Brancatisano, an Italo-Australian who now lives in Tuscany. Along with a sweet personal report of her father visiting from Melbourne, she shares the tradition of the Scoppio del Carro in words and photos.
Grazie Lisa, e Buona Pasqua a te.