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Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the Cart)

Fire-and-brimstone preacher Savonarola's 'bonfire of the vanities' was only one example of mediaeval Florence’s unique gift for combining piety and pyromania. The unusual Scoppio del Carro turns the Piazza del Duomo into an artillery range on Easter Sunday. The archbishop shoots a dove-shaped rocket from the cathedral to ignite a firework-laden cart outside. The ‘Explosion of the Cart’ dates from 1102, when Captain Pazzo de Pazzi returned from the Crusades with two flints from the Holy Sepulchre, his reward for being the first to hoist a holy flag over Jerusalem. The family decided that the stones used to light the holy flame extinguished on Good Friday should also be used to honour their ancestor. They designed the tremendous tottering Brindellone – much like a tall mediaeval siege machine – which is dragged through the streets by oxen with gilded horns.

Insider tip:

This is a popular event among Florentines. Ask your hotel concierge for suggestions on prime viewing locations.


Event type
Folklore & Traditions
Religious festivals
Begins on
Sun, 05 April 2015
Ends on
Sun, 05 April 2015
Piazza del Duomo
City or town
Area of country
Tuscany Region
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