Epiphany in Florence

Epiphany in Florence

January 6th is Epiphany: three wise kings (Magi) visited baby Jesus in Betlehem. In Italian this is called Epifania, celebrated as the “Cavalcata dei Magi”. This is an historic procession, represented in Benozzo Gozzoli’s frescoes inside the Medici’s private chapel of Palazzo Medici Riccardi. It will be re-enacted again this year in Florence, on January 6th afternoon.¬†The historical procession is a must if you plan a visit next week. It’s one of the most colorful parades with horses, Renaissance style brocade costumes, trumpeteers and flag weavers. The parade leaves Piazza Pitti at 2:10pm, moving through the city to the ¬†Uffizi Courtyard and Piazza della Signoria, where the sbandieratori (flag throwers) do a number before everyone walks back to the Duomo around 3pm. Piazza Duomo will be the center of these celebrations, with a choir and speeches while waiting for the procession to arrive.

BENOZZO GOZZOLI FRESCOES INSIDE THE PRIVATE MEDICI CHAPEL OF PALAZZO MEDICI RICCARDI:

The Magi Chapel is an outstanding cube-shaped space inside Palazzo Medici Riccardi. It features a famous cycle of frescoes by the Renaissance master Benozzo Gozzoli, painted around 1459-1461. The chapel is on the piano nobile of the palace, and was one of the first decorations executed after the completion of the building by Michelozzo. Gozzoli painted his cycle over three of the walls, portraing the Journey of the Magi towards Bethlehem. The religious theme was a pretext to depict the procession of popes, noblemen, philosophers who arrived in Florence in occasion of the Council of Florence (1438-1439).

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