Luminara and Regatta in Pisa
Since 1688, every 16th and 17th of June, Pisa stops and celebrates. The 16th is the eve of the city’s patron saint San Ranieri. Through the night, on both banks of the Arno River that traverses the city, more than 70,000 tiny oil or wax lamps are lit on the façades of buildings and towers. The magic is multiplied by their flames reflecting upon the gently moving waters. To heighten the romance, thousands of candles are lit and set afloat on the river. If that wasn’t enchanting enough, at 11 p.m., there are fireworks. The next day is the mile-long regatta: four long rowboats—one from each historical quarter—with eight oarsman in each, festooned in their own colors, race upstream. In typical Italian fashion, it is not the first arrival that wins, but which headman is first to clamber up thirty feet of rope to furl a banner.