Luminara di Santa Croce is a religious festival held every year in Lucca on the evening of September 13, in the form of a candlelit procession unfolded on the beautiful streets of the city.
The procession takes place on the eve of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated each year on September 14. In the Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrates the cross itself, as an instrument of salvation.
On this occasion, the buildings are decorated with thousands of 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 day, the city celebrates the Holy Face (Volto Santo), 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.
According to the legend, the crucifix was sculpted by Nicodemus, who assisted Joseph of Arimathea in depositing Christ in his tomb, and it was found and brought to Lucca in the year 742. At first, the crucifix was deposited in the Church of San Frediano, and later, probably in the 11th century, it was transferred in the Cathedral of San Martino. The present Volto Santo is a 13th-century copy.
LUMINARA DI SANTA CROCE 2019 will take place, as usual, on Friday, September 13, starting around 8 pm.
The procession will start in Piazza San Frediano around 8 pm, and will continue through Via Fillungo, Via Roma, Piazza San Michele, Via Vittorio Veneto, Piazza Napoleone, Piazza del Giglio, via del Duomo, Piazza San Giovanni, to reach, in the end, Piazza San Martino and the Cathedral of Lucca. The night will end with a fireworks display around midnight.