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10 Gen 2024
11 Gen 2024
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Celebrations of Saint Ranieri

Pisa has ancient roots: from its past and maritime Republic traditions, some typical events were born and we suggest you to take part in them while visiting the city. The month of June is characterized especially by the celebration of Saint Ranieri and some of the most awaited festivals by citizens and tourists.

Among these, we suggest you the Battle of the bridge, which is scheduled, usually, on the last Saturday of June. The event develops in two single moments: the historical parade along Lungarnos, composed by 710 players and the battle on the bridge Ponte di Mezzo, a proof of physical strength and loyalty to the city.

In the battle – the main phase of the whole day – two troops compete and they represent the Magistrature, that are the Pisan districts, gathered either the Mezzogiorno or Tramontana, depending on their position (south of Arno river for the first, north of Arno for the second). The aim of the game is to conquer the side of the bridge occupied by the enemy through the position of an iron cart arranged on the bridge.

This is one of the most emotional events in Pisa, dating back to 1000 years ago. That is another good reason to take part in the Battle of the bridge; take note of all details, the date is on the last Saturday of June on Ponte di Mezzo.

Stay at Hotel San Ranieri to take part in the suggestive game from the first moment.

A great regatta, heritage of the ancient maritime tradition, to celebrate Pisa’s Patron: the Palio of Saint Ranieri is an annual event on June 17. First, it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, from 1718 on it has become the celebration of Saint Ranieri.

The regatta, born in the Middle Ages, is on the River Arno, after a parade in the city center. The four historic districts of Pisa are involved, with their own colours: San Francesco (yellow), San Martino (red), Sant’Antonio (green), Santa Maria (blue).

The boats start from the Ponte della ferrovia, to finish in front of the Palazzo Medici along the Lungarno Mediceo, the distance covered is 1500 meters. Every boat has 8 oarsmen, a steersman and a climber. The climber has to gasp the blue banner – called “paliotto” - which is the symbol of the victory, at the top of a 10-metre-high mast.

The suggestive regatta – and the catch of the banner - recalls the ancient exploit at Lepanto, when the fleet of the Knights of Saint Stephen boarded the Turkish flagship and stole the Muslim fight banner waving on the mast.

On June 16, Pisa celebrates San Ranieri, his patron saint, with the traditional festival of the Luminara, which means Illuminations.

The origin of the Luminara has ancient roots: it was held for the first time in 1688, when Cosimo III de’ Medici wanted that the remains of the patron saint were placed in a new urn inside the Cathedral of Pisa. So he organized a great public celebration that was called Illumination and then in the nineteenth century became the Luminara.

On that night the city was brightly lit with oil lamps. So every year, even today, in Pisa 100,000 candles adorn all the palaces of the Arno River and the historic center. People turn off all the private lights and the thousand lights that reach the Leaning Tower and Miracle Square create a magical atmosphere.

The Luminara does not end there: squares, streets and cafes organize concerts and events all around Pisa.

During the day you can attend the Regatta of San Ranieri: 4 boats that reminds you of the frigates of the Order of the Knights of Santo Stefano, belonging to the four historic districts of Pisa (Santa Maria, San Francisco, San Martino and Sant'Antnio), compete in a regatta on the Arno to win the Palio di San Ranieri. To win, boats must reach a flagpole in the middle of the river and men must scramble to take the prize. Who comes last wins a pair of ducks!

The Luminara is a perfect event to visit Pisa and enjoy the best of the city.

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