Luminara of San Ranieri and its traditional Historical Regatta 2019

All go for the Patron Saint Festival in Pisa

From 16 June 2019 to 17 June 2019

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On the occasion of the San Ranieri Pisa 2019 Festival, on 16th and 17th June 2019, the Tuscan city will host a truly unique and spectacular event: the Luminara Light Festival 2019. The romantic lights of thousands of candles lit around bridges and palaces, as well as those on the water of the Arno River, will create an extraordinary effect that will take you back in time!

The program of the Pisa June Festival events 2019 ‘Giugno Pisano is particularly rich, with festivals, cultural events and above all historical commemorations to remember the most ancient traditions of the city of Pisa. The most liked in Tuscany and beyond are the San Ranieri Pisa 2019 Festival, the Historical Regatta of Saint Ranieri 2019, Il Gioco del Ponte (The Game of the Bridge) and the Historical Regatta of the Sea Republics, which takes place every four years. 2019 is, in this sense,  a lucky year since this old tradition will be renewed on 18th June ! To frame these impressive events, other initiatives such as street performances, concerts, festivals and much more take place here. 

The Pisa Luminara Festival 2019 began in ancient times. On 6th June 1284, the day dedicated to the old patron Saint Sisto, the Pisan fleet was heavily defeated by the Genoese ships during the Battle of Meloria, losing dominion over the waters of the Republic of Pisa. Citizens, feeling betrayed by their patron, chose to replace it with their fellow Ranieri. 

In Pisa, the Festival of San Ranieri 2019 has become a real institution, not just for the inhabitants of the beautiful city on the Arno, but also for the thousands of tourists who flock here every year to attend the event. But why is San Ranieri celebrated in Pisa and who is this patron saint? Sacceri Ranieri was born in Pisa in 1118, where he also died in June 1161. Around twenty years later, following a meeting with a hermit named Alberto, Ranieri decided to radically change his life: he abandoned all wealth, chose a hard life of poverty and Christian penance, that took him to live many years in the Holy Land. In 1154 he returned to his hometown and retired in the San Vito Monastery, where he died a few years later. It is said that at the time of his death, the bells mysteriously rang in Pisa, without anyone being there. The myths and miracle legends of Ranieri were supported by many people, so much so that San Ranieri Pisa was proclaimed a saint even before his death. Only later, around the 17th century, Ranieri was officially elected as the patron saint of Pisa to replace the previous one, St Sisto. 

In 1688 Cosimo III of Medici placed the remains of the saint on the main altar of the Cathedral: it was during that night that, for the first time, the Pisani lit their homes with candles, in order to pay homage to the patron saint of Pisa to lead the way of the procession. However, in addition to this, there are other versions of the origins of the Luminara Pisa: some claim that it began on the day of the saint's death; while another tradition claims that his life is far more remote, in honour of the Virgin Mary.

On 16th June there will be the most striking event organized for the feast of San Ranieri Festival in 2019: the Luminara di Pisa 2019. The profiles of churches, palaces, towers and bridges of riversides will be illuminated by more than 700,000 candles placed in special glasses and set in so-called 'biancherie', wooden frames painted white. Many floating candles will also be placed directly on the Arno, which will offer a spectacle of lights and really lovely reflections on the water. A special treat is instead reserved for the Piazza dei Miracoli -Square of Miracles: the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral and Baptistery will be illuminated with special oil pans, giving a more ancient and fascinating effect. 

The Pisa Light Festival 2019 continues late into the night with a wonderful fireworks display. From the Cittadella Vecchia, a partially rebuilt fortress dating back to 1400, spectacular fireworks will be launched: streamers, coloured falls and a striking red smoke shot from Guelph Tower will offer the  most exciting show of the summer of Pisa in 2019.

Curiosity: in 2015, The Minister of Cultural heritage proposed the ‘Luminara’ festival of Pisa to become one of the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO Although the outcome was not positive, the candidacy of the Luminara di Pisa Italy 2019 shows what a unique and incomparable event it is. 

On the afternoon of 17th June, the St. Ranieri Festival in Pisa 2019 will resume with the Historical Parade of Pisa, a lively and colourful parade that commemorates the former glory of the Maritime Republics. At dusk you can watch an exciting race between the districts: the Historical Regatta of the Saint Ranieri in 2019, followed by the traditional! Palio di San Ranieri

Four boats will battle on the tranquil waters of the Arno River representing an equal number of district, two in the north and two in the south. The District of San Martino will be distinguished by the colour red; St. Anthony district with green; Santa Maria with blue and  San Francisco with yellow. The boats, clearly inspired by the ancient St Stephen regattas' from the Medici order of the Knights of Saint Stefano, will travel for 1,500 metres rowing against the current, from the Railway Bridge to the Palazzo Medici, near the Bridge of the Fortress. The crew must be made of eight rowers, a helmsman and a climber, a crucial member to win the competition. He has to climb on one of the four ropes and reach the top of a mast about 10 metres high, mounted on an unstable floating barge, and grab the blue palio, a symbol of victory of the Regatta of San Ranieri. Two other flags, one white and one red, will instead be reserved for the second and third places, while the team that comes last wins two geese! 

The Regatta of San Ranieri in Pisa commemorates the Battle of Lepanto of 1571, during which the fleet of the Knights of Saint Stephen prevailed over the army of the Ottomans that succeeded in taking the place of the standard flagpole opponent. The original 'fire fighting' is preserved in the Church of the Knights in Pisa and is still considered a symbol of the courage of the crew of Pisa.

Now everything is ready for the Pisa Light Festival in 2019 from 16th to 17th June, in the historic centre of the city: expect many exciting events, local craft stalls, food stalls, games and colourful balloons. There will also be the chance to elect the 'most beautiful Palazzo', that is, the building that, thanks to the reflections and the play of light, will prove to be the most charming and original. 

Take advantage of this great event to learn about the magic and beauty of Tuscany! On you will also find many interesting tours in Pisa: book your favourite and immerse yourself in the wonderful colours of this region, together with us to discover the unique beauty of this city!


By Insidecom Editorial Staff