Celebrate Tuscany- Luminara June 16th

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Italy's Tuscany region is known for its celebrations and festivals, and during the spring and summer months both residents and visitors have an array of events to go to.  If you want to experience a festival that's both beautiful and traditional, you should consider coming to Pisa to witness the Luminara.  The Luminara takes place every June 16th, and with all of the Tuscany villas that are available for rent you shouldn't have a problem finding a place to stay.

The Celebration

La Luminara is a festival of lights that the entire city participates in.  The center of the city lights up when 70,000 candles are lit when the sun starts to set.  The candles are placed in white wooden frames called la biancheria (a phrase that literally translates to "the linens"), and they're hung on the facades of the Palazzi of the Lungarno, bridges, and river banks.  The end result is breath taking, and is more than worth the money and time spent to see the event.  The La Luminara is topped off every year with a massive fireworks display from the Cittadella Vecchia.  Many people line up along the river to watch it, and you get a small glimpse of the display here.

The Celebrated Saint

The beautiful La Luminara celebration is done to honor Saint Rainerius (commonly known as San Rainieri in Italy), the patron saint of the city of Pisa and travelers.  Saint Rainerius was born as Rainerius Scacceri in 1115 in Pisa to a family of wealthy family.  Throughout his youth he was a traveling minstrel, and he spent much of his later life traveling as well.  According to the Catholic Church Rainerius met a holy man named Alberto during his travels, a nobleman from Corsica who left a lasting impact on Rainerius.  Despite being a nobleman Alberto wore a cloak make of rough animal hair, and he joined the monastery of Saint Vitus in Pisa and became known for his work with the poor. 

Rainerius was so impressed by Alberto's story that he became a devout Christian, gave up most of his wealth, and journeyed to the Holy Land in 1146.  While he was in the Holy Land he lived as a hermit and beggar, he did penance for seven years and reportedly experienced many visions and revelations during his time.  Rainerius returned to Pisa in 1153 and achieved fame and acclaim for his preaching skills.  He was treated as a saint during his lifetime because of his alleged performance of miracles and exorcisms.  When he died in 1160 his body was carried through the city streets and was laid to rest in the Duomo of Pisa.

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