The "Scoppio del Carro" in Florence
The cart, which dates back to the XVIIIth century, is drawn by oxen decorated with ribbons from Porta al Prato to the square in front of the Duomo
The Festa from which derives the current name of "Scoppio del Carro" became officially public in 1102 when the family Pazzi was considered famous and prestigious by the Florentines, also thanks to the honours collected by Pazzino during the first crusade (1096). In 1478 the failed attempt to overthrow the Medici cost the Pazzi family the loss of all its wealth and privileges, as well as exile from Florence. From then onwards the preparation and celebration of the ceremony of the cart, richly adorned and drawn by oxen, became the task of the signory. The celebration of this Festa takes place now as it did then; the cart which dates back to the XVIIIth century is drawn by two oxen decorated with ribbons from Porta al Prato up to the square in front of the Duomo.
At the centre of the cart an iron wire is fixed on which the small dove which slide down while the procession of the clergy departs from the church of the Santissimi Apostoli for the Baptistry where the sacred functions will start. At midday the small dove runs along the wire leaving a trail of smoke in its wake down the central nave of the Duomo and then reaching the cart where it ignites the firecrackers prepared before going back to where it came from. After a few seconds on the cart hundreds of multicoloured puffs of smoke appear accompanied by whistles and bangs while on the top a large Catherine-wheel lights up, which when it has finished spinning opens up like the petals of a lily with a deafening explosion. Four little banners appear with the insignia of Florence, of the ancient Pazzi family, of the 'Arte della Lana' and currently as a sign of peace in the world, of the United Nations Organisation.