Uploaded By: Aurora Frassinelli. Added on: 25 March 2012.
Every year on Easter Sunday, perfectly sane Florentine citizens gather in Piazza del Duomo to watch a dove-shaped rocket, called the "Colombina", fly out of the famous Duomo and ignite a huge wooden cart-structure in the square outside.
The history of this event combines religious artefacts with pyrotechnic machinery. While the ultimate purpose of it, as a good "pagan" ritual, is to secure a good harvest, its pagan roots are less clear than in many other similar events all over Italy.
Tradition holds that the explosion of the Carro, called the Brindellone, goes way back to the semi-legendary exploits of Pazzino de'Pazzi, a Florentine warrior who was the first man to climb the walls of Jerusalem in July 1099, during the First Crusade. For this deed he received from his commander two shards of stone from the Holy Sepulchre, shards which were subsequently used to start an annual "holy fire" during Holy Week. This ritual fire used to be transported through the city as a religious relic for all to see.