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‘Il culo con le quarant’ore’, an amusing saying from Florence

Historical Curiosities

‘Il culo con le quarant’ore’, an amusing saying from Florence

Tuscans are well-known for being pranksters and never missing the chance of cracking a joke or having a laugh... so if you find yourself in Florence be ready to hear people use the colourful expression ‘c’entra come il culo con le quarant’ore’... similar in meaning to the other expression ‘it is like eating cabbage at breakfast’, widely used throughout Italy and intended to signify that something has nothing to do with something else!

This too, like most Tuscan proverbs and ways of saying, stems from a true story thought to be of historic importance or maybe simply related to the local folklore and we at toscanainside.com are ready to narrate it!

The saying seems to originate from an episode that took place in the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul in Florence during the 'Quarantore' (literally forty hours), a religious function held in the Easter period to remember the hours Jesus spent between his death and resurrection. This celebration included the exhibition of the Holy Sacrament in each of Florence’s churches for exactly forty consecutive hours.

Being a celebration of the people, the Churches that exhibited the Sacrament were often swarming with devotees, and it was precisely on this occasion that, in the midst of the solemnity of the event, at the Apostles Peter and Paul Church, among candles, flowers and various decorations, the loud sound of a slap was heard echoing throughout. Obviously all those present turned their heads to understand where this sound came from and saw a distinguished gentleman with the unmistakable purple mark of five fingers left on his cheek and, near him, an angry young woman who looked at him with raging eyes.
The poor man, overcome by embarrassment, tried to justify himself before the crowds in the church by blaming his clumsy hands and adding '... it is because of the Quarant'ore ...'. To which the undeterred young woman replied: ‘And what has a bum got to do with the Forty Hours?’

We will let you imagine how the laughs immediately erupted... No sooner had the religious function finished than the news of the incident quickly spread all over the city, sparking widespread laughter and amusement but above all it gave rise to a new of saying that has lasted for centuries to the present day.

We bet this anecdote about Florence has made you laugh. If you want to discover stories, interesting facts and legends on the Tuscan capital, we advise you to book our 'Private Guided Tour through the Secrets of Florence'. But please don’t reveal them to anyone!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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