The Explosion of the Cart (Scoppio del Carro) is a religious tradition that takes place every year on Easter Sunday, in Florence.
The brindellone, a pyrotechnical tower positioned on a cart, is pulled by a pair of oxen on the streets of the historical center of Florence and positioned, in the end, between the Baptistery of Saint John and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. At a certain time, the archbishop lights a dove-shaped rocket from the altar of the cathedral, which, through a cord mechanism, runs through the central nave of the church and reaches the cart outside, causing it to explode.
The ceremony dates back to the distant times of the First Crusade, called to free the city of the Jerusalem in 1099. According to the legend, it was the Florentine Pazzino from the Pazzi family who first climbed the walls of the Holy City where he placed the Christian flag. For this act of valor, Godfrey of Bouillon, one of the leaders of the First Crusade, donated three small pieces from the Holy Sepulcher to him. Returning to Florence, Pazzino was celebrated and welcomed with solemn honors.
It seems that, after the liberation of Jerusalem, on Saturday, the crusaders gathered in the Church of the Resurrection and, in devout prayer, gave everyone the blessed fire as a symbol of purification. After the return of Pazzino to Florence, every Saturday, the young Florentine people used to go to the cathedral where they lit a small torch and then were walking through the city to bring the purifying flame into every home. The fire was lit with the sparks made by the three fragments of the Holy Sepulcher.
In time, the carrying of the holy fire was made with a cart and, later, the fire was replaced with fireworks. It is believed that this custom dates back to the end of the 14th century.
The Pazzi family was entrusted with the organization of the cart, but only until 1478, when they conspired against the Medici family and were banished from the city. In 1494, the Pazzi family regained their ancient rights and privileges, including that of the organization of the Holy Saturday chariot. A new cart was built, which is still used today.
THE EXPLOSION OF THE CART 2019 will take place on Sunday, April 21, when the archbishop will light the cart for the pleasure and amazement of thousands of people coming to participate in this very interesting event.