The glittering Luminara of San Ranieri in Pisa
Every year, the evening of the 16 June, the Luminara of San Ranieri in Pisa light up the Lungarno and the heart of the city. The eve of the festivity of the Patron Saint, San Ranieri, the town of Pisa wear its best glittering dress made of thousands of wax candles.
The Luminara of San Ranieri in Pisa is considered one of the main events of the summer of the city and of the entire region. And whenever I can I do not miss the opportunity to participate. This evening the atmosphere in Pisa is wonderful and the skyline is unique. I am pretty sure that it will leave you breathless.
What is the Luminara of San Ranieri in Pisa?
The city switches off all electric lights. Only the light of the candles illuminates the darkness. Imagine going back to an age where there was no electricity, the streetlights were lit each evening by a lamplighter and lamps illuminated the rooms of the houses.
Qualified workers build white wooden frameworks, called “Biancheria”, on the facades of all historical buildings, churches, towers and bridges along the Arno River. The frameworks are necessary to place more than hundred thousand glasses with wax candles inside, that will be light after the sunset. Almost the same number of lamps will float on the water of the river creating an enchanting game of lights and reflections.
Instead, old style oil lamps decorate the famous Square of Miracles, UNESCO World Heritage Site for Tuscany since 1987. They are placed around the Duomo, the Baptistery and up on the seven floors of the leaning tower.
The program of the Luminara
Along the alleys of the historical centre and the Lungarno, there will be dozens of stands of handicraft, food trucks with local delicacies, burgers, cakes and candies for adults and children.
Every year, the Luminara of San Ranieri in Pisa attracts thousands of locals and tourists. They come to enjoy this extraordinary event and to admire the amazing fireworks made from the “Cittadella”, a fortress of 1400 along the banks of the river. They are usually scheduled at around 11.30 pm to end in style the night.
Visitors can even vote for the building they liked the most for its light games.
The Luminara of San Ranieri in Pisa comes before the historical Regatta that takes place the 17 June, the Patron Saint day. Four ships representing the four ancient suburbs of the city face themselves in a boat race along the Arno River, competing for the Palio, the prize of the victory.
Helpful tips to enjoy the Luminara of San Ranieri in Pisa
Cover Photo Credits: Francesco
- Usually there are no night trains. However, for the occasion the last train to Florence (with stops in Cascina, Pontedera, San Miniato, Empoli) will depart at 1.24 am. If you come from the coast or other areas not covered by the special train, we advice you to reach Pisa by car. Unless you do not wish to spend the entire night in town and you take one the first train in the morning.
- Arrive early in the afternoon to easily find the car park.
- Usually the Lungarno is open to cars but this day will be off limits. So we suggest you to park out of the historical centre and reach the river by walk or get the shuttle service that runs from 7.30 pm to 2.00 am.
- If you have kids, buy them some candies or balloon. But be aware and hold their hand all the time because the place will be dark and crowded. We advise against the use of the stroller.
- Enjoy some local delicacies from the street food trucks. Then look for a good spot close to the Cittadella to admire the fireworks. Once you find it you can relax and immerse yourself in the dark atmosphere of the Luminara.
- End your day with a visit at the Square of Miracles under the moonlight. When mostly all the people left the city, admire its beauty in silence and out of the crowd is really great.
For more info have a look at the Municipality of Pisa website (in Italian).