A 2024 Guide to Florence Easter Festivities


The Florence “Brindellone” Easter cart outside the Cathedral

Easter never fails to be an immense celebration in Italy. Various events will be held around Florence on Good Friday and Easter Sunday on March 31, in addition to English speaking church services during the week.  Participate in the local Easter traditions by attending Grassina’s Passion Play and Florence’s Scoppio del Carro on Easter weekend, preceded by an Easter concert.

An added bonus: the church and museum of Santa Maria Novella offer free admission on Easter Day from 1 to 5 pm.


The Orchestra della Toscana will be conducted by Otto Tausk on Thursday, March 28, at 9 pm in Teatro Verdi (via Ghibellina).  The evening will begin with “The Fair Melusina,” an opera by Felix Mendelssohn, composed in 1834-1835, and inspired by the myth of the water fairy, which the musician considered to be the most perfect and melodious of his overtures. Mario Brunello is the cello soloist of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Concerto No. 1. The piece was composed between 1872 and 1873 to showcase the talent of the renowned French cellist Auguste Tolbecque. The program’s finale is Symphony No. 3 D 200, one of the most inspired and lively among Franz Schubert’s symphonies, composed in 1815. Tickets can be purchased at the Teatro Verdi Box Office, Ticketone Circuit outlets, and online at ticketone.it ranging from €5 to €22.

The Orchestra della Toscana


On Good Friday, March 29, the Via Crucis, the Historical Reenactment of the Passion of Christ will return in Grassina, a suburb of Bagno a Ripoli. Starting at 9 pm hundreds of actors and residents will fill the streets and stage of Grassina for the 41st edition. Starting from Piazza Umberto I, the Via Crucis of Jesus will begin, with scenes from the life of Christ, from his birth to the Crucifixion on the hill of Calvary, where the procession will arrive for the dramatic event.  A new scene, flogging, will be in the main square, which will follow the trial of Pontius Pilate. Playing the music during the representation will be Alessio Antongiovanni and Susanna Forconi, organizers of the procession, and Daniele Torrini and Antonio Bernini, who are directing the scenes on Calvary. This Good Friday pageant, accompanied by color, sound and lights, provides a dramatic beginning to Easter weekend. Tickets will be €5 for standing room and €19 for bleacher seating.  Grassina can be reached by public transportation: take bus 31 or 32.


A time-honored tradition in Florence for Easter intertwines faith, history, and passion to create a unique event in the world. A cart nicknamed “Brindellone” by the Florentines, was used during the Renaissance  to carry the newly blessed fire, kindled using three stone splinters from the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, brought to Florence during the Crusades, among the city’s homes during the Easter Vigil. The Scoppio del Carro (the Explosion of the Cart) event took its place in more modern times.

During the Mass in the Cathedral (which begins at 11 am) at the moment when the Gloria is sung, Cardinal Betori will light a flame using the same splinters to ignite the fuse of a dove-shaped rocket, that will move along a wire raised to 12 meters (40 ft,) above the pavement to the cart outside in the square. The dove rocket hits the cart to ignite the explosion of fireworks, symbolizing the Resurrection, before returning to the altar. For centuries the outcome of this flight back and forth of the dove has been interpreted by farmers as an omen for the future harvest of the year. The event is standing room only from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm on Easter Sunday, March 31, with free admission.


Sun. 24: Palm Sunday: Liturgy of the Palms

Features a dramatic reading of the Passion according to Mark, Holy Eucharist.  St. James Episcopal Church, via Rucellai 9, at 11 am.

Wed. 27: Holy Wednesday

Tenebrae.  St. James Episcopal Church, via Rucellai 9. at 7 pm.

Thurs. 28: Maundy Thursday

Holy Eucharist with foot-washing, reposition of the Sacrament, Stripping of the Altars, and one-hour watch in the Chapel.  St. James Episcopal Church, via Rucellai 9, at 7 pm.

Eucharist service to recall the Last Supper, followed by Stripping the Altar. St Mark’s Anglican Church, via Maggio 16, at 7 pm.

Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Saint Apostoli Catholic Church, piazza del Limbo 1, at 6 pm.

Fri. 29: Solemn Liturgy

Reading of the Passion according to John, Solemn Collects, Veneration of the Cross, Improperia, and Mass of the Pre-Sanctified.  St. James Episcopal Church, via Rucellai 9. 12 noon & 7 pm.

St. Mark’s Anglican Church, via Maggio 16, will be open for private prayer 12 noon to 2 pm. Father Chris will lead a one-hour service of silence, reflections, words and music at 2 pm.

Celebration of the Passion at Santi Apostoli Church, piazza del Limbo 1, at 6 pm.

Sat. 30: Easter Vigil

Easter Vigil Mass held in both Italian and English at Santi Apostoli Catholic Church, piazza del Limbo 1, at 10 pm.

Sun. 31: Easter Day

Mass held at Santi Apostoli Catholic Church, piazza del Limbo 1, at 10:15 am.

A service to celebrate resurrection. St. Mark’s Anglican Church, via Maggio 16, 10:30 am.

Mass of the Resurrection, featuring organ music & choir with brass accompaniment, Easter egg hunt to follow in the garden, and Prosecco toast in the portico for those of age.  St. James Episcopal Church, via Rucellai 9.  11 am. (Sophia Koch)