Two years ago, I passed my first Pasqua in Italia – specifically in Florence (Firenze). I wrote about the parades and the Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the Cart) here on this blog. Last Easter I was also in Firenze, but I was so busy preparing for my solo exhibit here that I missed out on all the festivities.
Last spring in Florence I met Lili, one of my blog readers. She and her sister Lucrecia had a wonderful time enjoying the Florentine Easter celebration and clued me in on a little known event: the blessing of the Crusadean relic. This year, it was my goal to see another part of the Florentine holiday.
So my flatmate Amit and I met my friend Susan at the Ponte (Bridge) San Trinita and walked across the Arno River to the Piazza del Limbo and into the Chiesa del Santo Sepolcro. It is here that the flintstones awarded the Pazzi family after the Crusades are blessed and then used to light the Holy Fire.
Now, just a disclaimer: While I subscribe to no religion of my own, I am not totally insensitive to the thoughts of others. There were a lot of cameras around from the press and other Italians and maybe a few strainieri (foreigners).
In the second image, the man on the left wearing the banner of Italy’s colors around his chest (with his back to us) is the Mayor of Firenze. I remember him campaigning last time I was here.
I had a strange feeling this year. While inside the church and as the mass was wrapping up, the parade of drummers outside arrived. The rhythmic cadence seemed loud and penetrating to me, while at the same time hypnotizing. I felt transported back to World War II and wondered if this was something close to how it might have felt to be in an old stone building while bombs and shots began to be fired all around you. Well, maybe I should not allow my mind to wander in church!
After we all left the church, the relics were paraded down to Palazzo Strozzi, where they joined the parade for the special cart. I have only included the photos up to the point in which both parades came together. Although the explosion was a little bit different this year, I did not stay long. Perhaps it is because I was so tired after having gotten up early to attend a church service or maybe because I am still adjusting to a life with people (when in Texas, a large majority of my time is spent working alone), but the crowds this morning made me feel … annoyed and a bit bored.
So, if you would like to read more about the Explosion of the Cart, visit my blog entry of Easter 2008