Carro Matto

Wine from the Chianti Rufina area arrived in Firenze today just as it has since the 14th century.  Friends David and Julie arrived yesterday, and we all went to Piazza del Signorina to watch the procession.  Paul and David almost missed the procession because they made a little detour to the wine shop on the way to the piazza.

carro matto Paul and David

First the wine was blessed in Piazza del Duomo, and then the procession made its way down the middle of one of the busiest shopping streets in Firenze to Piazza del Signorina.

carro matto 8

Dressed in 14th century costumes, drummers, horn players, flag throwers and gentle folk carrying big flasks of wine marched to the steady beat of the drums.

carro matto

The highlight of the procession was the arrival of the Carro Matto ( “crazy cart”) pulled by two white oxen.  The traditional Chianti bottles and straw baskets have always been made in Firenze, and the Carro Matto  festival celebrates the wine-making tradition and re-enacts how the wine was brought into the city.  The basket covering the bottle provides thermal insulation for the wine and protects the bottles from breaking.  The bottles are strung together in a pyramid shape for transport.

carro matto 3

carro matto ox

I loved the character and dedication in the cart driver’s face.

carro matto 2

After the procession reached the piazza, speeches were given (unfortunately we couldn’t understand what they were saying) wine was presented to the dignitaries, and flag throwers demonstrated their amazing skills. Then the procession regrouped and made a stately exit from the piazza.

carro matto 4 carro matto 6

carro matto 7

It was so amazing to watch an event that has been going on for over five hundred years.  And it was extra special to have our good friends here to share this wonderful event with us.

David and Julie

After dinner we strolled the piazzas and talked with a young chalk artist.  She started her work this morning and will complete it by 10:00 tomorrow night.  The finished work will include pictures of the Mona Lisa, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, and Charlie Chaplan.  It will be washed off the pavement tomorrow night.

carro matto chalk artist