(the cart starts the firework show with pillows of colorful smoke)
(the finale full-force explosion of fireworks)
(the best seat in the house is on your dad's shoulders -- oh to be a girl again)
(the Florentines parade down to the Duomo with the cart)
(killer renaissance fashions)
If you make it to Florence, through the tourists, lines and droves of leather products, do come on Easter weekend. The main event, "Scoppio del Carro" ("Explosion of the Cart"), following a real renaissance parade, is a midieval spectacle of the craziest order. I love a good parade and was happy with the cooky ensembles, boys in tights and drums, but then a pair of head-dressed white oxen lugged a huge wooden cart and I got really excited. I didn't even know what was coming . . .
Thousands of people crowded in the Piazza del Duomo. The oxen roll on in. Multi-colored plumes sticking out from mushroom-shaped hats. A gold-gilded "cart." A cherry-picking crane to light the thing up (surely a remnant from the first ceremony in 1099). To be a little girl again, the best seat in the house on her dad's shoulders. Locals abuzz -- and folks who drive in every year to be apart of the festivities. A waterfall and cascade of fireworks, finally lighting up the gray sky -- the Duomo an incredible backdrop. The whole morning was quite Indian in its ritual, crowd, ridiculous pomp and palpable excitement.
And that's how you do Easter in Italy.