This past Sunday was Easter in Florence, and it was the most exciting Easter I’ve ever experienced. I partook in Florence’s special Easter tradition Sunday morning and my roommate then had a magnificent Easter lunch with my Italian host mother.
Florence doesn’t have an Easter Bunny. Instead, Florence’s special Easter tradition is called the Scoppio del Carro — which means Explosion of the Cart. The cart is called the Brindellone. It is pulled by two beautiful white cows–and paraded through the streets of Florence until it is brought between the Cattedrale di Santa Maria di Fiore and the Baptistery. Then sometime after 11am the colombina, a rocket shaped like a dove whizzes from inside the cathedral towards the cart, along a string attached to the cart. It collides and ignites the cart, which begins spewing fireworks. The dove then is propelled back into the cathedral. If it makes it all the way back, or I’ve also heard if all the fireworks successfully go off on the cart, then Florence is blessed with Buona Fortuna for the year!
There was some parade action before and after the fireworks. My host mom actually has a friend that was one of the people dressed in Renaissance garb in the parade. I didn’t find him, but I got to see the cart, cows, and a fluffy donkey up close.
For lunch we had ravioli with a wonderfully aromatic herb concoction, bollito with homemade sauce (boiled beef that comes out really soft), some wine, and a traditional cake called a Colomba which is shaped like a dove. We also got giant chocolate eggs with a surprise inside (I got a phone charger)!
Living with an Italian host family is an amazing experience. Our host mom is extremely kind and fun to talk with. Easter lunch was really special, but we have breakfast and dinner together everyday. As we learn more and more Italian, we can have longer conversations. It’s amazing how good I feel about oral comprehension because I get to practice so much.