The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is held every year on 13 and 14 of September, in Lucca, the festival being famous for the candlelit procession called the Luminara di Santa Croce, that takes place on the evening of September 13.
Every year, the procession traces the same itinerary, starting around 8 pm from the Basilica of San Frediano and ending in the city’s cathedral, San Martino. The buildings are decorated with thousands candles and the traditional Mottettone, a polyphonic choral and instrumental composition, is performed. This tradition is now common only in Lucca and Pisa, for the Luminara di San Ranieri.
On this occasion, the city celebrates the Volto Santo (the Holy Face), a wooden crucifix measuring 2.24 x 2.65 meters, kept in a chapel built in 1482 by Matteo Civitali in the Cathedral of San Martino.
The legend tells that the crucifix had been sculpted by Nicodemus, who assisted Joseph of Arimathea in depositing Christ in his tomb, and it was found and carried back to the city in the year 742. The present Holy Face is a 13th-century copy.
LUMINARA DI SANTA CROCE 2018 will be held on Thursday, September 13, starting around 8 pm. The procession will start in Piazza San Frediano, and will continue through Via Fillungo, Via Roma, Piazza San Michele, Via Vittorio Veneto, Piazza Grande, Piazza del Giglio, via del Duomo, Piazza San Giovanni, to reach, in the end, Piazza San Martino.