Festival of John the Baptist
The birth of the John the Baptist, Patron Saint to Florence, is celebrated on June 24 every year with a grand celebration by the citizens. The height of this event is the procession where the entire clergy of the cathedral participate. The procession leaves from the Duomo and finishes at the door of "Paradise" at the entrance of the Baptistery.
At one time, Piazza Duomo was covered by a large canvas, buildings and houses were decorated, and men of ages 15 and above were to carry burning wax into the Baptistery. A part of the wax was placed around the inside of the Baptistery, what remained was sold, and profits were donated for improvements to the church.
These offerings originated from the Lordships, the Arts, the Magistrate of the Republic, and from lay and religious campaigns. The tradition of offering the wax to the Saint is still used today.
On the evening of June 24, after the procession from the Duomo to the Baptistery, the municipal of Florence along with the Saint John the Baptist Society, organizes a fireworks display in remembrance of the "bonfire" for the summer solstice. Long ago, the fireworks were lit from the tower of Palazzo Vecchio while the bonfire burned in the square. Later, they were then moved to
Piazza della Signoria up until 1826 until it was longer large enough to hold the crowd. The next point of origin for the display was the Carraia Bridge, where when the fireworks exploded; the Arno River was lit up giving a unique vision with reflections off the water and the boats found on it.
Today the fireworks are set off from Piazza Michelangelo above the city.
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