Organized by Pro Loco di Rocca San Casciano
In Rocca San Casciano, the capital of Romagna-Tuscany, there is the traditional Festa del Falò, an event famous throughout Italy that has its roots in the mists of time. With the lighting of huge bonfires in competition between the two districts, surrounded by a suggestive fireworks show or “Le Botte”, you find yourself immersed in a truly magical atmosphere.
The competition continues with parades of floats and ends with dances in the square until late at night.
Along the banks of the river Montone in the midst of the fierce fans of the two districts the Borgo and the Mercato, will burn the majestic straw broom or better “spini” as they are still called today because until a few decades ago were used brambles and brushwood.
Already from the late afternoon of Saturday they begin to gather the appointees to the lighting of the two Districts that study the last strategies to obtain the best ignition. It then passes to the cover of the haystack with straw that will help the ignition. It is forbidden to use, in addition to straw, any chemical or natural product that can accelerate ignition.
A team of technicians with sophisticated instruments analyzes the two straw stacks to verify their suitability, are always moments of high voltage between the two districts, voltage that will rise more and more until ignition.
After “the straw operation” the final preparation of the torches will be distributed to the “igniters” and each district follows its own strategies.
The show comes alive with the sound of the bells at the feast that accompanies the arrival in the river bank of the two young torchbearers who carry the torches blessed by the priest in the church.
Tradition has it that bonfires are dedicated to Saint Joseph to encourage a good year for the harvest or to dissolve “vows” and ask for “thanks”. Until the abolition of the feast of Saint Joseph, the feast took place on March 18 the evening before the feast of the saint.
With the torches light up the gigantic torches built by hand with the utmost care, which serve for ignition, and here is the most evocative moment of the evening.
About twenty boys per ward (from the year 2012 the district Borgo has opened to the “quotas pink” by inserting girls in the group of “igniters”) are positioned around the giant haystacks that, As already said, they are covered only with straw as it is forbidden to use any additive that can promote the development of the flames, at the preset signal, the explosion of a big firecracker, they support the flames of the torches to the straw: it is the ignition!
In a moment you play months of work, studies and tactics, the “closure”, the speed and height of the flames are the factors that determine the best ignition of which, as in the best competitions, will be discussed for months, In fact, no jury will award a prize to the winner: the Rocchigians will know which one is burnt better and has given rise to brighter flames.
After the magic of the fire is the turn of the “barrel” a race between the two districts that offer their fireworks shows that are not the usual fireworks but real explosive “discharges” that have replaced the ancient “mortars”.
Later the party moves to the square where beautiful floats parade with hundreds of costumed people, each district presents its own themed show with an explosion of music and joy that also involves the spectators so that the square turns into a gigantic ballroom, dances that will end late at night. The parade takes place on Sunday afternoon.
The event takes place the weekend following Easter Sunday.
The event on Saturday is subject to a fee, children under 14 do not pay.
On Sunday the event is free admission.
Credits: Author of the article Avv. Elisa Rabiti