The Explosion of the Cart and the Flight of the Colombina

Florence celebrates Easter every year in a very special way with the traditional Scoppio del Carro and the flight of the dove.

Every year,
on Easter morning, the outbreak of the cart takes place in the churchyard of the Cathedral, one of the most loved festivals by Florentines, which attracts tourists from all over the world.
It is a ceremony that, according to legend, has its roots in the first crusade, led by Goffredo di Buglione, which was attended by about 2500 Florentines commanded by the brave Pazzino de'Pazzi. The latter, having been the first to climb the walls of Jerusalem, would have received three splinters of stone from the Holy Sepulcher as a gift from Godfrey of Bouillon.

Goffredeo di Buglione and Pazzino de 'Pazzi

Since then the three flint stones lit the torches that illuminated the procession of the night of Holy Saturday of the Florentines, symbolizing the light of Christ who gives himself to the world.
Later it was introduced the use of carrying the blessed fire with a chariot (completely different from the current one). In 1765, after various alterations, the heavily damaged chariot was almost completely rebuilt, taking on the present shape with 3 shelves with gilding and ornaments.
The current chariot is 11,60 meters high and has an almost square base with sides of 3,40 and 2,80 meters.

The tradition of the outbreak of the chariot probably began at the end of 1300, while the introduction of the colombina (a rocket with the appearance of a dove) as a fuse for the ignition of the rockets and mortals of the chariot dates back to the period of the pontificate of Leo X (1513 -1521).

The dove travels on a wire stopped at the center of the cart and at a column previously placed on the high altar, after being set on fire by the Paschal candle at the singing of the "Gloria".
The candle is lit already at the beginning of the Easter Vigil, on the night of Holy Saturday, with the fire obtained from the rubbing of the three flint stones, carried in procession from the church of Santi Apostoli and San Biagio in Florence, where they are kept.
The dove's journey culminates with the burning of firecrackers and fireworks, placed on the cart, symbolically distributing the holy fire to the participants and to the city community. The happy outcome of the outbreak of the cart is considered a good omen.