Festival of the Lanterns

Festa della Rificolona magic

The Festival of the lanterns (Festa della Rificolona) is a traditional celebration that takes place on September 7th, in commemoration of the day when Florence was freed from the siege of the imperial troops. It is famous for the beautiful paper lanterns displayed by Florentines that give a sense of magic and fairytale.

The origins

Festa della Rificolona is an event that has ancient origins, that date back to a time when Florence was ruled by Grand Duke Leopold I (1640-1705). A strict curfew was imposed on the city at night, and anyone caught breaking the rules would be punished severely. However, there were some exceptions: those carrying lanterns were exempt from this rule, so locals began using them as cover for their late-night escapades.

After a while, these lanterns became symbolic of freedom and were used by many families to pay tribute to their ancestors. Today, they are still an integral part of Florence's culture and are made every year by local schools.

Honoring the tradition today

With the passage of time, after several vicissitudes, it became a popular festival. The streets became decorated with handmade paper lanterns, some very simple but others very refined and sumptuous. In this way, during the night, one could admire wonderful shapes like stars, moons and animals among other things.

For this feast day, all Florentines celebrate with a big picnic on Piazzale Michelangelo. The whole family comes together to eat and drink while enjoying the spectacular views over Florence.

The highlight and most magical part of this Festival is when all the children carry their paper lanterns through the streets of Florence and arrive at San Frediano's church.