Hidden treasures

In Pisa New Year’s Eve is celebrated on 25 March…

Historical Curiosities

In Pisa New Year’s Eve is celebrated on 25 March…

The rivalry between neighbouring towns in Tuscany in the past used to also involve calendars. Each area had, in fact, its own calendar with different rules and this, understandably, caused quite a few problems. In some cases, the difference was not just limited to a few days, but could be as much as a whole year, as in the case of the discrepancy between the calendars of Pisa and Florence. By way of example, if you made an appointment for 22 October, the year would have been 1408 in Florence and 1409 in Pisa! How was this possible? I'll explain that to you!

The calendar we use today starts the new year on 1 January. In Pisa and other areas of Tuscany, however, until the eighteenth century, the year began nine months earlier than today’s New Year and precisely on 25 March, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. But things got even more complicated as the Florentine calendar belonged to the ‘stile dell'Incarnazione al modo fiorentino’ (“Jesus’ Incarnation in the Florentine style”). Also in this case, the beginning of the year was set on 25 March, but it was postponed for two months compared to the one beginning on 1 January. What a mess, right? Just think that when in Florence the year began, in Pisa it ended on the same day!

The Pisan calendar was abandoned on 20 November, 1749 by decree of the Grand Duke Francesco Stefano di Lorena and, fortunately, from that day on, for what concerns setting dates, everything became easier! In 1980s, a scholar passionate about the history of Pisa, Paolo Gianfaldoni, rediscovered this ancient custom and brought it to general attention with his articles in the newspaper 'La Nazione' and in the local magazine 'La Vita Nova'. Thanks to the commitment of the 'Amici del Ponte' association, the Pisan New Year has once again become one of the most anticipated folk events of the whole city: historical parades, moments of cheerful celebrations and many collateral events for a very special day!

So, you have been warned: if you are in Pisa on 25 March and you are told it is New Year's Eve, don’t think you or the people in Pisa have lost their mind! Indeed, why not take advantage of one of our tours in Pisa to discover many other intriguing facts and anecdotes about the wonderful city of the Leaning Tower?

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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