Easter in Tuscany, what to do between the bursting of the Carro in Florence and regional traditions
29 March 2023
The Crosses of Castiglione di Garfagnana
The Processione de' Crocioni di Castiglione di Garfagnana takes place after the In Coena Domini Mass on Holy Thursday when the faithful, on leaving the church, follow through the streets of the village a man playing Christ with chains on his feet, his face covered and a large cross on his shoulders.
In order to impersonate the religious figure as best as possible, no one knows his identity except the prior of the confraternity. To avoid detection, he is locked in a cupboard in the sacristy before and after the procession. He will only come out late at night, when no one can see him.
The Dark Procession of Radicofani
Radicofani's Maundy Thursday Procession is among the oldest Easter processions in Italy and the most atmospheric in Tuscany.
It begins with the re-enactment of the Last Supper and the opening of Christ's tomb, which is then followed by the penitential procession commemorating the death of Jesus, and is referred to as the "dark". The Scalzi - by tradition the brothers of Mercy - dressed in all black and hooded, they walk the streets of the village in prayer carrying a large cross.
The Antica Giudeata of Chianciano Terme
The Good Friday procession in Chianciano Terme has its roots in the 1600s and is known as the Antica Giudeata.
The historical procession consists of 150 costumed figures including Roman soldiers on horseback, Christ carrying the cross to Mount Calvary, Our Lady of Sorrows accompanied by Mary Magdalene and Mary of Cleophas, Pontius Pilate, the senators, Herod's court and the High Priest Caiaphas.
The 12 Scalzi of Pienza
The Procession of the Scalzi of Pienza is held on the evening of Good Friday. It begins and ends in front of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.
The procession is opened by 12 barefoot and hooded people holding a torch and carrying the statue of the dead Christ. They are followed by a historical procession marching through the streets of the city centre to the sound of the band.
The Tour of the Seven Churches of Mugello
The tradition of the Giro delle Sette Chiese del Mugello refers to Jesus' 7 stages during the Passion and is held on Good Friday along a route that passes through parish churches, ancient sanctuaries and small country churches.
Starting from the Pieve di San Lorenzo, we visit the Pieve di San Giovanni Maggiore, the Church of the Salto in Panicaglia, the Church of San Michele in Ronta, Sant'Agata in Mucciano and the small Church of Montefloscoli. The walk comes to an end at the Sanctuary of the Santissimo Crocifisso in Borgo. Join the journey to immerse yourself in the beautiful Tuscan countryside and experience this ancient but deeply felt religious event.
The Procession of the Mysteries of San Gimignano
The mystery events in San Gimignano begin at midnight on Holy Saturday. A procession of 60 people in medieval dress parade through the streets of the old town, from Piazza della Cisterna to Piazza Duomo, accompanying a wooden cart with statues depicting the Passion of Christ, carved between 1600 and 1800.dievali, che scortano un carro di legno con statue che raccontano la Passione di Cristo, scolpite tra il 1600 e il 1800.
The Explosion of the Chariot of Florence
On Easter morning in Florence, the Explosion of the Chariot is eagerly awaited. The tradition dates back to the First Crusade and the Pazzi family who built the first Chariot of Fire from which, symbolically, sparkles of blessed light were released to be distributed throughout the city.
In the 17th century, the cart called Brindellone, was pulled by 4 oxen. Today, it is escorted by 150 flag-wavers, musicians and soldiers. It starts from the piazzale del Prato and arrives in Piazza Duomo where a fuse is lit to ignite firecrackers and fireworks distributed on the float. A similar tradition is also held in Rufina, location near Florence, but at midnight on Holy Saturday.
The Figline Valdarno flag-wavers
In Figline Valdarno, the Easter event is at 14:00 on Holy Saturday when, the Procession of the Four Contrade parades through the streets of the historical centre in historical costume, led by the Flag Wavers of the Florentine Borghi and Sestieri.
At 16:00 on Piazza Ficino the big Easter egg is opened and chocolate is handed out to the children. This is an experience not to be missed.
The blessing of the sea at Porto Santo Stefano
At the first glimmer of dawn on Easter Sunday in Porto Santo Stefano there is a very special procession in which the risen Christ is carried through the streets of the town.
The procession starts at 7am from the Church of Santo Stefano, passing the Church of the Immacolata and, after a lengthy route, returns to the departing Church after about two hours. The highlight of the route is undoubtedly that of the port. This is where the statue is raised three times while fishing boats blow their horns: it is the symbolic blessing of the sea.
The Antica Giudeata of Chianciano Terme
On Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, many Tuscan museums will be open to visitors wishing to discover the region's artistic treasures. Choose from theMuseo del Novecento or the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, the Museo delle Sinopie in Pisa and more for a culture-packed Easter.
If you prefer an outdoor activity, take part in an adventurous egg hunt in the Lecceto forest or at Cortona's Parterre Gardens: fun for young and old is guaranteed.