Luminara di San Ranieri is a festival of light held in Pisa on the evening of June 16th, each year, on the eve of San Ranieri Feast, patron saint of the city. With this occasion, about 100,000 candles are placed on wooden frames, outlining the architectural forms of churches, palaces and towers on the banks of the Arno River.
On March 25, 1688, the urn containing the remains of Ranieri Scaccieri, patron of the city, died in 1161, was solemnly placed in the chapel of the Cathedral of Pisa. The placing of the urn was the occasion for a city celebration, from which the tradition of the festival was born, called at first lluminazione (Illumination) and then, in the 19th century, the Luminara.
The idea of celebrating by illuminating the city with oil lamps was not however new, but a custom born long ago and gradually established over the years. The first historical document attesting the tradition of Luminara dates back to 1337.
The Luminara was also held on the occasion of other events, not necessarily related to the patron saint. For example, one was organized in honor of Vittoria della Rovere, in 1539, while on June 14, 1662, the lighting was set up in honor of Margherita Luisa, Princess of Orleans and wife of Cosimo III, who passed through Pisa in her way to Florence.
The festival was abolished in 1867, revived in 1937, on the same year with the Gioco del Ponte, and suspended again during the Second World War.
The Luminara was set up for the feast of San Ranieri, in 1952, and the tradition lasted this time until 1966. After the flood of November of that year, there was a new interruption of the festival, which was resumed in June 1969.
An extraordinary edition was held on December 31, 1999, to celebrate the new millennium.
LUMINARA DI SAN RANIERI 2018 will be held on Saturday, June 16, and, as usual, the event will end with a series of fireworks fired around midnight from the Citadel and the nearby bridge.