‘It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness’. Confucious

Today is San Ranieri, patron of the beautiful Pisa. As part of the festivities taking place in and around the city the ‘Luminara’ is definitely the most beautiful one. On the 16th of June, the evening before the saint’s feast day, the whole Lungarno (the riverbanks along Arno river), is enlightened by over 70.000 candles creating a magical and spellbinding atmosphere. It is called Luminara because it comes from the word lumini– candles placed within a container, usually glass.

The tradition of lighting the city dates back to 1688 when a new and more sumptuous urn containing the remains of San Ranieri was placed in the Cappella dell’incoronata in the cathedral. For the occasion the whole city celebrated by illuminating Pisa with thousands of candles. Since then, the Luminara has been held every year with the addition of colorful fireworks at midnight.

To this day the Luminara is a joyous occasion that combines tradition with modernity: while walking along the Lungarno you can come across stalls selling food and drinks and vendors selling bright balloons for kids. Classical music can be heard throughout the city thanks to well hidden giant stereos together with groups of friends sitting around the streets drinking and singing songs from their countries. There are in fact many students from several European cities that come to study in Pisa.

It is indeed a remarkable celebration.

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