The event of the Scoppio del Carro has its origins in the First Crusade, when Europeans laid siege to the city of Jerusalem in a conflict to claim Palestine for Christianity. In 1097, Pazzino de Pazzi, a Florentine from a prominent family, was by tradition the first man to scale the walls of Jerusalem. As a reward for this act of bravery, his commander gave him three flints from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which were then carried to Tuscany.
These stones have been kept in the Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli and, for several years, on Easter day, they had been used to light a “holy fire” which was then carried throughout the city as a symbol of purification.
As time went by, this tradition evolved into something similar to what we can see today: a cart bearing a large candle used to be carried through the city up to the cathedral, from where the holy fire would be distributed.
By the end of the 15th century, the Scoppio del Carro assumed its present form.