At first, the patron of Florence was the God Marte, whose statue was located at the noth entrance of Ponte Vecchio. It was destroyed in 1333 by an Arno fleeding. Nowadays, the patron of Florence is San Giovanni Battista, celebrated every June 24th, who became patron after the total transformation of the town to Christianity. The selection of San Giovanni is due for his clear pedagogy and strong and courageous personality.
Thanks to these celebrations the San Giovanni Baptistery and the Duomo Square became the city heart of the Religious and Political life of Florence. In fact,it is in front of the Baptistery that the festivities of June 24 end. History narrates that an ancient tradition asked to the Noble people of Florence to donate their big candles richly ornamented which had then to be burned in front of the Baptistery. Originally, the festivisty ended with a large candle that was transported in a wagon from Piazza Signoria to the front of the Baptistery. That same wagon named Carro di San Giovanni (San Giovanni’s Wagon) gave birth to the Scoppio del Carro festivity (Wagon’s Outburst); however, at a second stage, this festivity was devoted only to Easter ceremonies instead to the Patron.
During June 24th, several festivities take palce in Florence throughout the day such as parades, the Rowing Club competition along the Arno river, fireworks, etc.
The final game of the Calcio in Costume (football soccer in costumes) was played on this same day.
Along with the Historic Florentine Football, another sporting event is celebarted on this day. The Notturna di San Giovanni (night run marathon), it’s one of the oldest marathons in Italian history.
FIn order to salute the Saint Patron, at around 9:00pm, you can admire a firework show in Florence. The best spot to see them it’s in Ponte Santa Trinita (Santa Trinita Bridge). From there you can see Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), and behind it the beautiful fireworks reflecting in the Arno river. The bridge and its surrounding streets gets jammed of people, so it is recommended that Florentine people having houses with view towards Piazzale Michelangelo open their doors to their friends and relatives, so you can enjoy the show in company of your loved ones.
Again, during the same weekend it is usually organized another funny event, concerning just one side of the city: Nottarno, la notte bianca in Oltrarno (Nottarno, the White Night in the Oltrarno zone). Various and different events will be organized and dislocated along the streets and squares of the city district, and have been already inserted in the program of the night: music, exhibitions and various kinds of entertainment. On the occasion, shops, pubs and restaurants of the Oltrarno district stay open all night long and arrange tables on the streets of the centre.
Source: about florence
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