Tuscan New Year in Pisa and Florence

Mon, 03/25/2013 - 06:39

Pisa and Florence celebrate the traditional New Year ceremony that marked the life of the Tuscan cities from the middle ages to the 18th century.

This is because between the tenth century and 1749, the day chosen to mark the beginning of the New Year coincided with the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary, exactly nine months before Christmas (December 25).


The fiercely independent medieval city state began to use March 25 as the start of its year in 985 AD and was only forced to get in line with the Gregorian calendar in 1749.

According to ancient legends, a year in Pisan life could only start when a ray of sunlight came through a window in the city's cathedral and hit a marble egg at its centre. This is linked to the fact that this peculiar celebration coincide 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.

The tradition is re-enacted by churchmen and city officials and the 'New Year' is declared open when the sunlight hit the egg next to famous medieval pulpit.


Florence celebrates on March 25 as well and for both Tuscan cities this date also marks the beginning of the tourist season.

The Annunciation is traditionally a popular celebration. I "Fiorentini" go to pay homage to the image of the Annunciation, an image that, according to the legend, was painted by angels. Every year, the municipality of Florence organizes a historical procession with traditional costumes, music and flag-wavers. The "corteo storico" of the Florentine Republic starts from the palace Palagio di Parte Guelfa and goes toward the Basilica SS. Annunziata.