The Florentine New Year’s Day comes every year on March, 25th in correspondence with the day of the Annunciation of the Incarnation received by Virgin Mary from the archangel Gabriel, nine months before Christmas day.
It was also the day of the vernal equinox and it was celebrated in Florence city and in all its territorial domains, where even today there are historical pageants of the festivity.
The solemn celebrations of Florentine New Year’s Day were held on this day until 1749, when the Gran Duke Francesco III of Lorraine decreed the alignement with the gregorian calendar, which came into force effectively more than 150 years before.
To the Santissima Annunziata (The Most Holy Annunciation) was also dedicated a church-sanctuary to which, in that day, citizens went in procession bringing offerings in wax (as they did for the feast of St. John) and representatives of the magistracy and the Florentine clergy.
There were held celebrations and the representation of the Annunciation, especially in Medicean age, made using nearly theatrical means.
Inside the church it is possible to admire the “Vergine Gloriosa” painting, realized by Friar Bartolomeo in 1252, commissioned by the founders of the basilica.
It is told that the friar wasn’t able to paint the face of Virgin Mary and finish off the work, until one night he was seized by a strange drowsiness; when he awoke the face was completed. Becoming an object of great worship, still today the newlyweds go in front of the painting to ask for a blessing for their marriage, leaving a bunch of flowers.
Outside, in the square, with the secularization of the holiday, you could find the stalls of the Fair of SS Annunziata.
Nowadays, the celebration of Florentine New Year’s Day is recalled with a procession of the Historic Parade that starts from the Palazzo di Parte Guelfa and winds through the city streets to the church.
When: March, 25th, afternoon
Where: Santissima Annunziata Square, Florence
Nearer Casa Trattoria’s Restaurant: Ristorante Paoli, 12 min walking