There are many moments here in Florence that remind me exactly why I really do love Italy. There are many other times (mainly when I am attempting to get something done before a deadline), when I am reminded that some things run a little differently here and my patience is very definitely tested.
One of the first evenings out in Florence was a wonderful reminder of the former.
The Rificolona is a Florentine festival which takes place on the eve of the nativity of the Virgin Mary. Florentines process through the streets with beautiful lanterns, all lit up. Many lanterns are home-made -the Ponte Vecchio and the Pope being two of my favourites (see below).
This culminates-according to various online sources we had poured over before heading out to join the festivities – with an ‘open-air bonfire for the children to burn their lanterns.’
‘An open-air bonfire for children’ are never words that could even be considered to be uttered in Britain. I believe you are breaking a minimum of three Health and Safety regulations in the voicing of the sentence alone.
Life lessons learnt: Italy has succeeded in at least one thing; it has not yet become politically correct mad. What better way to teach children not to play with fire than to let them indulge in a bonfire or two?