Epiphany in Florence (2): The Ride of the Three Wise Men

Epiphany in Florence (2): The Ride of the Three Wise Men

If you are in Florence today, you’d better not miss the amazing Ride of the Three Wise Men: a parade with an historical procession with almost 700 role-players will light up the streets downtown Florence this afternoon.

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The event is the Catholic procession that commemorates the Onors given by the Three Wise Men to Jesus. The origins of this celebration are accredited from the fifteenth century when in Florence, a religious based company of lay people dedicated to the Magi (the Three Wise Men) organized a festive representation of the event; this happened every three years initially and every five years since 1447, paraded through the streets of Florence.

The parade, the so-called “Cavalcata dei Magi” was composed of three different processions that gathered in front of the Baptistery and continued together until the Basilica of San Marco, where with songs and prayers worshiped Baby Jesus. 

Of the above mentioned Society of the Three Wise Men, also known as “COmpany of the Star”,were involved  many of the major components of the Medici family, and for this with their expulsion from Florence, in 1494, the Initiative was suppressed. Since then, the Cavalcade of the Magi underwent multiple transformations over the years until it became the yearly parade represented in the present age.

Useful information:

from 11am: Live Nativity in Piazza del Duomo on the parvis of the Cathedral

from 2pm: start of the parade from Palazzo Pitti and, in the meantime, live Christmas Choirs in Piazza del Duomo

3:30pm: arrival of the procession and parade in Piazza del Duomo, where the Wise Men will put their gifts at the feet of Baby Jesus in the live Nativity.Reading of the Daily Gospel and greetings from H.E. Cardinal Giuseppe Betori.

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Would you like to study the frescoes from Benozzo Gozzoli which the clothesand dressings of the parade are inspired from? Or should you wish to have a deepen perspective on the Medici family and their role in Florentine HIstory? Take a look at our Art History and our History of Florence courses!