| 10.9°C Dublin

Close

Premium


This Easter stands alone in our stunned hearts and silent homes

Miriam O'Callaghan


In Florence today there is no stomach for celebration as the bells ring out and the people watch and hope, writes Miriam O'Callaghan

Close

Near-empty streets around Florence in Northern Italy

Near-empty streets around Florence in Northern Italy

Near-empty streets around Florence in Northern Italy

Easter Sunday. Florence. No room for a breath or a breeze. Everyone, from every continent, crammed into the square as for a burning or a hanging. Along streets, where in times of plague, war and famine, robed men raised aloft miracle-working paintings of the Madonna, people stand six deep, not with rose petals in hand, but phones, cameras, the odd early morning ice cream.

Bells. Bells. Bells. Then costumed flag-throwers, drummers, trumpeters process with the mayor and city council. As the flags and music fall away, at last the crowd hears it. The deep rumble, the click-clattering, the bellowing.

Two monumental white oxen, horns and hooves gilded, lumber into sight, pulling a decadent, tottering pagoda built in the 1600s, painted in deep reds, blues, clad with gold.