Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday in Florence

   We went to sleep last night with bells ringing all over Florence celebrating the Easter Vigil Mass that began at 10:30 pm.   We woke to a dry but cold Easter Sunday here in Florence.  Dressed in our finest clothes...yes...I wore my flats instead of my sandals.  We were off to church at St. Felieita located beside the Ponte Vecchio; the door was unlocked but there were only two people there?   Were we sure there was a nine o'clock Mass.   Slowly the lights came on and people started to arrive.  The priest celebrating the Mass must have been at least 85 years old.  He kept a watch cap on his almost bald head right up until it was time to start Mass; yes, tuhe church was very cold but oh so beautiful.  Remember...this is the church with the balcony for the Medici Family off of their corridor.

     By ten o'clock we were out the door, over the Ponte Vecchio...just coming to life with people.  The bridge was lined with beautiful potted flowering plants and even though it is Easter Sunday...the shops were beginning to open for business.   It seemed even colder than before church...but no rain!

     Within fifteen minutes we were standing in a pack of people edging our way forward very slowly to the front of the Duomo where the parade of fancy dressed soldiers had already arrived with the cart; unhooked the two white oxen who'd pulled it from another church through the streets with a parade of 150 soldiers and musicians.  That had happened much earlier in the morning while we were at church.

    The Explosion of the Carriage is the event that happens every Easter Sunday in Florence since the First Crusades when it was done to free the Holy Sepulchre from the hands of the infidels.  If everything is successful it will insure a year of good harvest and luck for the citizens.   The priest, at the beginning of the Gloria during the Mass, lights an explosive device made to look like a dove inside of the church.  It slides down a wire and ignites the fireworks that have been attached to the "carriage" outside between the Baptistry and the Duomo.  Loud noises, lots of smoke and fireworks explode for the next five plus minutes! 

  Getting out of the crowd was another experience; some wanted to go towards the church; others like us were trying to go out away from the church.   It was difficult to stay together but we managed to elude the crowd eventually and headed towards the apartment.   As we passed the neighborhood church we noticed that for the first time the door was open.  They were celebrating Mass and we finally got to see the inside of the very old St. Niccolo Sopr' Arno Church.

  Finally home before noon, we enjoyed hot drinks and our Easter bread that we'd purchased at the at the grocery store on Friday.  We may or may not go back out this afternoon; it started to sprinkle lightly just before the fireworks began but even though the Internet says 100% far it's dry and the sun peeks in and out.  But this is my journal for today.    Happy Easter to all of you...

Link to Picasa Photo Album

We went back out this afternoon and ended up with 5.25 miles for the day...very, very cold outside.  Walked to Dante's house and then to the inside to "pray" and then walked the long way home.  While crossing the bridge Jim's hat sailed into the'll see several photos of it floating away.  Opportunity to buy a new hat!

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