Things are getting crazy in Florence. It is the arrival of the Carro Matto – or crazy cart – at the end of September, a tradition that celebrates the grape harvest and blessing the new wine.
Such as the Calcio Storico and the Feast of St. John, the Carro Matto is a Renaissance celebration that replicates the carts that in the fifteenth century already brought wine from the nearby city Rufina, in the countryside of Pontassieve, to bless the Bishop of the city and then to present it to the Signoria. In other words, it is not only a celebration of the Tuscan tradition of winemaking, but also a reconstruction of the arriving of the wine in town.
Why is the cart “crazy”?
If you are asking yourself this question, here is the answer: the cart balances 2,000 bottles of wine holding precisely 750 ml of wine each. Meaning 1,500 liters of wine pulled by a pair of white oxen masterly weaved into a pyramid over a wooden cart!
To make it possible, the bottles – called “fiasco” – have a round, pear shaped bottom and long neck. They are covered with a straw that protects the glass from breaking and also provides a thermal isolation that helps to maintain the wine quality.
A curiosity: the corner of Via Condotta with Via dei Calzaiuoli was known in the past as the “Canto dei Fiascai” because many artisans had their workshops in the area.
The arrival of the Carro Matto from Chianti Rufina starts around 3.30 pm of the last Saturday of September, leaving the Piazza del Duomo to the Palagio di Parte Guelfa and, then, heading back to the Duomo for the traditional blessing. From there, the cart continues its way to Via Calzaiuoli to end in Piazza della Signoria around 5 pm. That’s where the corteo storico will be, a parade in historical costume, drums, flag throwers and even a cannon!