Festa della Rificolona

One day Emily and I went dress shopping (we actually did that many days, but specifically this day) and I got this really pretty blue dress made mostly of lace.  Then we made plans to meet in Piazza della Repubblica that evening to go to the lantern festival.  I didn’t know what that was, but it sounded pretty, and also all I could think about was that scene in Tangled with all the lanterns. Oh.  Also earlier that day, Nicole and I had gone to a hair salon to get our hair cut.  We hadn’t made an appointment, so while we waited they served us green tea and we flipped through those hair magazines to decide what I wanted to do with my hair.  My hair was down to my hips and becoming unmanageable.  So this was the first time I had been out with my new haircut. Erica and I met Emily, Brie, Polly, Daniel, and Nicole at Piazza della Repubblica.  I was wearing my new dress and Emily hadn’t seen my hair so there was yelling and “Oh my gosh!” all around.

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We walked down to Piazza della Signoria, where a massive crowd had formed.  There were all kinds of lanterns.  I still don’t know if people make them or buy them.  We stood up on the Loggia to watch some kind of procession come out of the Palazzo Vecchio.  Still not sure what that was about.  Then we followed the crown back towards the Duomo.  We went around the Duomo and walked several blocks to Piazza della Santissima Annunziata.  While walking we figured out what was going on with the lanterns.  They are all filled with a little flame, and people walking hold them up on sticks.  The kids in the crowd are given blowguns, and they try to shoot the lanterns.  If they shoot it enough, the paper exterior collapses onto the flame, and the whole things catches on fire. When we got to Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, the people leading everyone gave a speech from the steps of Spedale degli Innocenti (in Italian, so I had no idea what was going on).  We just looked around.  There were several stands selling lanterns and food but none of us bought anything.  We watched several kids shoot some lanterns down. Side note: Spedale degli Innocenti opened in 1444 as the first orphanage in Europe, and part of the building is still used for that purpose.  There is still a rota, which is a rotating cylinder where mothers could place their unwanted children anonymously and ring a bell, so that the cylinder would turn and the child would be taken into the orphanage. I’ll now let my pictures from the festival speak for me.

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And alas, the death of a lantern:

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. John and Shelley
    Nov 17, 2013 @ 00:25:20

    What a cool event to have witnessed. I love reliving your experiences with you.

    Reply

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