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Florence, Italy

Festa della Rificolona

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Night of Paper Lanterns

Festa della Rifocolona is a hundreds of years old cultural festival that celebrates the birth of the Virgin Mary. Locals gather together to parade through the streets holding elaborate paper lanterns lit by candles, ending at the Piazza Santissima Annunziata. All the while, children shoot spit wads or peas at the lanterns, often causing the thin tissue paper to set ablaze. This tradition has roots in ancient Florence when peasants from outside the city would make the trek into the city (often in the dark) in order to celebrate the birth of the Virgin Mary. They would hold lanterns on sticks in order to light the way. The peasants would wear their best clothes for the occasion and appear overdressed to the city dwellers so the children would berate them as they got to town. The peasants would also bring their crops with them, which has also sparked the tradition of large outdoor markets the days before the festival. This fun Florentine tradition is a unique spectacle to behold. So if you're in town, dive into the local culture at the Feast of Rificolona.

Utrip Tips

* The procession of the lanterns starts in Piazza Santa Croce and ends in the Piazza Santissima Annunziata. The times vary from year to year, but the procession generally begins around 8pm.

* Also check out the outdoor markets often held in the Piazza Santissima Annuziata on Sept. 5 & 6.

Open in Google Maps: Piazza della Santissima Annunziata

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