Florence celebrates the festivity of its Patron

Posted By: About Italy on June, 22 2007 in About Italy, History
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Firenze: I fochi di San GiovanniOn June 24th, like every other year, Florence celebrates the festivity of San Giovanni Battista, Saint Patron of the city. According to the tradition, it’s a day in which several festivities take place in Florence throughout the day, such as parades, the ‘sbandieratori’ show, the Rowing Club competition along the river Arno, fireworks, the famous marathon called “Notturna di San Giovanni“, and to conclude the night, the famous fireworks (the ‘fochi di San Giovanni’) at around 9:00pm.

This year, however, the festivities will start a day before, on Saturday. On the 23rd of June there will be a couple of activities that you won’t want to miss: the Notturna di San Giovanni (marathon race) and “Nottarno” the white night in “Oltrarno” (the southern streets of Ponte Vecchio) that offers music, art shows and several amusement activities throughout its squares and quarters. For this special occasion, all restaurants will remain opened throughout the night with tables on the streets and squares. (download the program in pdf)

For the second year in a row, the final match of Calcio in Costume (football in costumes) has been cancelled. The famous Historic Florentine Football, was a peppy medieval version of football played in Santa Croce square. In fact, in 2006 the match was cancelled with a specific motivation: “The unjustify events that took place on the opening match of the 2006 edition, forced the Municipality of Florence to take action on this important sporting event.”

But this will not discourage Florentine people, as they are preparing themselves for a weekend full of festivities and events. And now, as customary, here we give you some curiosities you could eventually have missed or never heard.

The old CartSan Giovanni as only Saint Patron?
In spite of the common belief, San Giovanni hasn’t been the only Saint Patron of Florence. At the beginning, the Patron (or Protector) of the city was the God Marte. It was only after the conversion of Florence to Christianity that San Giovanni was elected the new Patron Saint. His acknowledgement came during the Longobard period (6th-7th century) when Longobard had already chosen him to be their Patron. Would you like to know something more? Read this page devoted to the history of Florentine June 24th.

Are them the usual celebrations?
It is quite hard to believe, but it is necessary to wait until 13th century to find some memorials about the first fesivity devoted to San Giovanni on a June 24. History narrates that an antiche tradition compelled the Noble people of Florence to donate their big candles richly ornamented which had then to be burned in front of the Baptistery. Originally, the festivisties ended with a large candle that was transported in a wagon from Piazza Signoria to the front of the Baptistery. That same wagon, named ‘Carro di San Giovanni’ (San Giovanni’s Wagon), gave birth to the ‘Scoppio del Carro’ festivity (Wagon’s Outburst); however, at a second satage, this festivity was devoted only to Easter ceremonies instead to the Patron.

We Thank:
We thank once more to ABOUT FLORENCE for these important recommendations and their availability.
For everyone who will be at Florence this weekend: Have Fun!!!!!!

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