In Florence we celebrate the New Year twice, on 1st of January and then again on the 25th of March.  The 25th of March celebration originated in the Middle Ages in remembrance of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and the Incarnation of Christ – as it is exactly nine months before the 25th of December, the birth of the Jesus.

Fra Angelico, The Annunciation, 1437-46 – Convent of San Marco, Florence, Italy

When the Gregorian calendar came into place in 1582 with the 1st of January as the first day of the year, the Florentines continued to consider the 25th of March as the real celebration.  It wasn’t until 1749 that the Grand Duke Francis III of Lorraine issued an official decree that the 1st of January must be recognized as the beginning of the calendar year.  Later in 2000 the City of Florence made the 25th of March part of the city’s official celebrations for the year.

Santissima Annunziata (see source)

These days the Florentine New Year is celebrated with a parade through the city ending at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Piazza Santissima Annunziata where you can find stands selling the traditional sweets, brigidini, aniseed flavored thin wafers.




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