A few years ago we were fortunate enough to spend Easter in Florence. We'd never been to Italy before, and, as usual, I studied my travel books ahead of time. The main Easter Mass at Florence's fabulous 15th-century cathedral, the Duomo, sounded like an experience not to be missed: a large cart, covered in fireworks and pulled by white oxen, would stand outside the cathedral steps. At the end of Mass, the cathedral doors would be thrown open, and a spark representing the Holy Spirit would descend on a wire from the upper reaches of the cathedral to the cart, igniting the fireworks in joyous explosion.
the family in front of the Duomo Easter morning
the exterior of the Duomo in Florence, Italy
The final vote was 3-1 in favor of the 7 am Mass.
The funny part was, missing that opportunity gave us the chance to see this:
After Mass--held in a shadowy side chapel, at which we were very nearly the only English speakers--we went down the road to a big fancy restaurant on a plaza, for a bang-up Easter breakfast. As we were finishing we saw that the plaza was filling with spectators.
The people on parade took it very seriously. I would guess they've been doing this since the cathedral was built.
It was wonderful.
We learned a lot about Florence on our trip--including how to avoid 3-hour lines at the Ufizzi--and are happy to help plan your trip there.
Guest blogger: Kim Bradley