Easter’s Scoppio del Carro

The two-story exploding cart, or brindellone, arrives in front of the Duomo at precisely 10 a.m. After about an hour of song, dance and religious ceremony, the rocket is launched, and the firework display begins.

Carrie George

Easter in Florence, Italy, is a colorful maze of springy storefronts, fancy desserts and carts exploding in front of the Santa Maria del Fiore.

The city’s most famous Easter tradition is The Scoppio del Carro, or “The Explosion of the Cart.”

For nearly 350 years, the I’ Brindellone, the two-story cart topped with fireworks, is paraded to the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo.

After arriving at 10 a.m., a ceremony  complete with song and dance  occurs around the cart.

At 11 a.m. the Archbishop launches a dove-shaped rocket — called the colombina — into the cart, setting off a loud and smoky firework display.

The ceremony stems from the courageous acts of Pazzino de Pazzi, a young member of Florence’s renowned Pazzi family. He was the first soldier to scale the walls of Jerusalem during the First Crusade.

His bravery was rewarded with the gift of three flints from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The flints were carried back to Florence and to this day are used to light both the Easter candle and the coals in the I’ Brindellone.

The beauty of Florence lies within its strong connection to its past. Its identity will be forever intertwined with its Renaissance legacy.

As long as Florence is breathing, it will continue flaunting its vibrant history through extravagant ceremonies and reenactments — each one equally as breathtaking as the Scoppio del Carro.  

Carrie George is a photojournalism major in Kent State’s Florence Study Abroad program this spring semester.