Every year the city of Pisa celebrates its historical traditions within Giugno Pisano: the entire month of June is dedicated to traditional events, history, plays, concerts and exhibitions.
During Giugno Pisano Pisa celebrates some important historical events, mainly joint with the saint patron's day.
These are the main events:
- the Luminara of S. Ranieri on 16th June
- the Festa of S.Ranieri on 17th June
- the Historical Regatta of S. Ranieri on 17th June afternoon
- the Gioco del Ponte on the last Sunday of June
- every 4 yeas, the Historical Regatta of Repubbliche Marinare
On the night of the 16th of June of every year the enchantement of the Luminara of Saint Ranieri is renewed on the streets running along the river Arno in Pisa.
Pisans celebrete their patron, Saint Ranieri, on 17 June, but the Luminara begins the day before. About 70.000 wx candles meticulosly set in glasses and fixed to wooden white-panted frames (the so called "biancheria") are modelled in such a way to exalt the outline of the palaces, the bridges, the churches and the tower reflecting the river.
The leaning Tower is illuminated too, by oil lamps, set also in the crenellations of teh city walls of alla Piazza dei Miracoli.
The event offers the visitor a unique feeling: the reverberation on the many tremblig lights on the Arno and the candles that are left foating on its waters semm to
This historically evocative event, called Gioco del Ponte - the Battle of the Bridge, consists of two distinct but equally significant moments: the historical processione along the River Arno, which is a huge military parade and the Battle on the Ponte di Mezzo, during which the two opposing teams give proof of their physical strenght in a strongly competitive atmosphere.
The event is traditionally held on the last Sunday of June and includes the historical parade with over 700 partecipants.
The Mezzogiorno and Tramontana sides march separately but at the same time anticlockwise along the four streets running along the Arno river close to the Ponte di Mezzo.
There is also a third parade composed by the Judges, that is 81 more partecipants.
Victory goes to the team that conquers the Bridge by pushing the cart and all the opponents to the opposite end of the sliding rail.
The different teams of Tramontana represent the districts of Santa Maria, San Francesco, San Michele, Mattaccini, Claci, Satiri.
Mezzogiono represent the districts of Sant'Antonio, San martino, San Marco, Leoni, Dragoni, Delfini
The afternoon of June 17th is dedicated to the celebrations of Pisa's Patron Saint Ranieri.
Four boats representing the 4 ancient town districts compete in a Regatta on the River Arno - the so called Regata di San Ranieri, heritage of the past glory of Pisa as an ancient maritime republic.
Each disctrict is distingueshed by its own colours:
- San Martino (red)
- Sant'Antonio (green)
- Santa Maria (blue)
- San Francesco (yellow)
The fibreglass boats have 5 fixed seats with 8 oarsmen, a steetsman and a climber.
The distance covered is 1500 metres starting upstream from the Ponte della Ferrovia (the Railway Bridge), the finish being in front of the Palazzo Medici along the Lungarno Mediceo.
The final victory does not depende upon the arrival order of the boats but upon the climber's skill who after boarding a boat anchored at the finishing line, has to climb up one of the 4 rodes reaching the top of a 10-metre-high mast hoisted on the boat in order to gasp the banner wich is the symbol of the victory. Two geese represent the meagre prize for the last crew to finish.
The catch of the banner recalls the ancient exploit at Lepanto, when the fleet of the Knights of Saint Stephen boarded the Turkish flagship and stole the Muslim fight banner waving on the mast. This banner, recently restored, is preserved in the Church of St Stephen of the Knights in Pisa.
REGATTA OF THE REPUBLICS
Since 1956 the cities of Amalfi, Genoa, Venice and Pisa have partecipated in the Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics. The event evockes the past glory of the most important episodies in the history of the four Maritime Republics.
The first official edition took place in Pisa on the 1st July of that year. Since then, every year the challenge is hosted in turn off the coast of Amalfi and Genoa, along the River Arno in Pisa and in the lagoon of Venice.
The four boats representing the four Republics are maked by different colours:
- Blu for Amalfi
- wuhite for Genoa
- red for Pisa
- green for Venice
Each boat has a figure-head at the prow:
- the winged horse for Amalfi
- the winged dragon for Genoa
- teh eagle for Pisa
- the lion for Venice
The Regatta is preceded by agreat parade of 320 pepole (80 for each Republic) which evokes the characteristics, the events and the characters of the history of these four ancient maritime cities, which during the Middle Ages ploughing the seas with their fleets prospered and spread their culture throughout the Mediterranean by means of their military and commercial dominion.
The peageant of Pisa goes back to the legend of Kinzika de' Sismondi, the pisan heroine who according to the tradition saved the city from an invasion by Saracens.