January 6 – Epifania

The Feast of the Epiphany commemorates the arrival of the Three Kings in Bethlehem when the Magi came bearing gifts for the Christ Child. This festival marks the end of the Christmas season.

We were invited to visit friends who live in Florence to see the Cavalcata dei Magi. Riders on horseback, knights, ladies, soldiers, peasants, drummers and flag throwers wind their way through the historical center of Florence. This Cavalcade has been celebrated since the 15th century. The costumes of beautiful silks and velvets are inspired by the famous fresco, “the Procession of the Magi” by Benozzo Gozzoli in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi.

It was a beautiful day. Cold and crisp. We walked to the Pitti Palace where the procession begins. We were there about 20 minutes early and got to stand right in the front but we had to defend our territory against many front row wantabes.

Of course I took a lot of pictures and these costumes are so amazing it was hard to narrow it down. So bear with me and scroll through, peruse as you like and try to picture this same parade happening 600 years ago!

First I will show the many banners that  represent the Contrade, or neighborhoods of Florence.

The bearers of the gifts.

The three kings.

The procession of lords and ladies in beautiful costumes!

This one intrigued me. This proud looking woman walked with her right hand extended and upraised as though being escorted by an invisible person. Why? Was she a proud widow? I don’t know.

Now come many soldiers, flag bearers and probably important men.

These are the Falconers with the amazing raptors!

Now the archers…


And finally a couple of pictures from the beautiful property where our hosts live. it is south of the Arno but easy walking distance to all the sights.  It must be 5 or more acres of lovely gardens. With a view of Florence from the top that is spectacular.

13 thoughts on “January 6 – Epifania

  1. Rosemarie Lentini

    What a fabulous celebration. It looks like it would be a major reason to take a trip at that time of the year!

  2. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Yes the people in the parade are all locals. And many from the individual contrade or neighborhoods. It makes it that much more compelling to see how dedicated the participants are.

  3. Nancy Hampton Post author

    It was amazing the intricate details in them. And I was struck by the furs around the necks.

  4. Barbara

    Nancy, those are amazing photos! What a festival! Are all these people local? How incredibly elaborate! And the crowd looks small. Perhaps due to the time of year?

  5. Nancy

    Nancy, that is fantastic! It’s the spirit of costuming and celebration I love during the Carnival season in New Orleans. Fabulous costumes. There is a huge commitment to excellence in that procession. Thank you!

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