In Pisa and in Florence the New Year is celebrated twice: on January 1st, along with the rest of the world, but also on March 25. Do you know why? This is because between the tenth century and 1749 the New Year's Day coincided with the Annunciation, exactly nine months before Christmas (December 25). In Pisa, this peculiar celebration coincides with a sort of solar clock, a physical phenomenon that involves the Duomo in Piazza dei Miracoli: at midday, a ray of sunlight penetrates the Duomo through a round window and lands on a marble egg on a shelf surmounting a column next to the pulpit made by Giovanni Pisano, on the opposite side. Florence, as well, celebrates the New Year on March 25. Let's see together the programs.
March 25: a special New Year's Day in Florence
The Feast of the Annunciation is traditionally a popular celebration that brings the Christian people in the streets on a pilgrimage to the Basilica dell'Annunciazione, in order to pay homage to the image of the Annunciation, an image that, according to the legend, was painted by angels. In order to celebrate the event, the municipality of Firenze organizes an historical procession with traditional costumes, music and flag-wavers. The historical procession (called «corteo storico») of the Florentine Republic will start at 2.45 pm from the palace Palagio di Parte Guelfa, heading toward the Basilica SS. Annunziata (at 3.30 pm).
March 25: a special New Year's Day in Pisa
The program of the festivities begins on March 24 with the dinner of inauguration. On March 25 there will be the procession from Piazza dei Cavalieri to the Cathedral for the ceremony of the solar light at 12 pm. In the afternoon, in the lobby of the City Hall, there is the opening of the exhibition about historical events. The evening is about themed dinners in many restaurants of the city and at 9 pm there is the traditional concert of the New Year's Day in Piazza dei Cavalieri. On March 26 schools with be the protagonists of workshops and training programs about the history of the city through historical reenactments. In Piazza dei Cavalieri there will be shows with the historical groups and in the evening the screening of a film about the Gioco del Ponte (a traditional event held in Pisa every year in June). In the last two days you can even follow the itinerary on the medieval walls of Pisa.
Other ideas in the surroundings:
- Volterragusto Truffle Festival (March 28-29) provides a perfect opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Volterra and the entire Val di Cecina.
- Tour of San Rossore Park.
- Tour of the Certosa di Calci.
- San Miniato, the homeland of white truffle, is one of the stations along the Via Francigena and offers some great itineraries and is an ideal location for weekends and day trips to the attractions of the Valdarno.
Original article by Serena Puosi