Sunday 9 September 2012

Luminara di Santa Croce in Lucca

The main festival of the year in Lucca, the Luminara di Santa Croce in Lucca is coming up on 13 September. This famous Tuscan festival is a devotional procession in which the Volto Santo or Holy Face, a wooden crucifix, is carried along the streets of the old town centre from the Church San Frediano to the Cathedral of San Martino, illuminated by thousands of small candles. Workmen spend all of the previous day putting the candles in place so that the entire centre of Lucca is beautifully illuminated on the evening of the feast.

The Volto Santo is usually kept inside the Cathedral of San Martino, in a chapel in the left nave specially built for it by Matteo Civitali in 1482. The relic has been a pilgrimage destination since the middle of the 11 C and the image has long been the symbol of Lucca, displayed on Lucchese coinage over the centuries.

The Luminaria procession coincides with "Settembre Lucchese" when a special market takes place in the piazza of San Michele in Foro, the ancient Roman forum. Local specialities, clothing and festival treats are sold in the market.

Things to see in Lucca.

More festivals in Tuscany.

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