On every March, 25th, the town of Pisa celebrates the beginning of the New Year in a tribute to the ancient “Pisan calendar”. Up to 1749, Pisa had actually a calendar of its own, according to which the first day of the year fell on March, 25th, coinciding with the date for both St. Mary’s Annunciation and the Incarnation; this timing was namely nine months ahead of the Gregorian system.
On Wednesday, March 25th, from 09:00 a.m. onwards, a magnificent parade embracing all of the historical reenactments on schedule both in Pisa and its administrative District will be heading to Piazza dei Cavalieri – from where, after a public performance, the parading figurants will reach the Cathedral to take part – at noon – in the so-called “sun-ray ceremony”. In the afternoon, the Town Hall’s entrance room will host a meeting inaugurating the planned exhibition on the local historical parades. In the evening, everyone interested will have a chance to enjoy theme-dinners served at the local restaurants before moving over to Piazza dei Cavalieri to listen to the “New Year’s Concert” at 09:00 p.m.
On Thursday, local schools will be involved in workshops and educational paths aimed at using reenactment events as a tool to enhance students’ awareness on the town’s history. After a series of performances carried out by historical groups on Piazza dei Cavalieri, the evening will be animated by a film displaying the famous Game on the Bridge.
The following Friday will be dedicated to the so-called “Luminara”, with a conference to be held at Palazzo Gambacorti. Due to the relevance of Saint Ranieri’s Night – which has been nominated as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity –the whole day will be devoted to a discussion on the best possible strategies to safeguard and promote the most famous historical celebration in Pisa.
On Saturday, March, 28th, from the afternoon onwards, all interested are invited to attend equestrian shows and historical reenactments taking place within the area of Sangallo’s Rampart; the city centre and several surrounding squares will be animated by street band music along with a series of historical parades from the entire District.At 09:00 p.m. it will be time for a reduced version of the Luminara, during which 2000 candles will shine on the lampposts lightening the river’s embankments and the Middle Bridge. The celebrations going on along the banks of the River Arnoandon the town’s squares will come to an end at 11:00 p.m., with the closing pyro-musical fireworks.
On Sunday, March 29th, Pisan horse-riding will have its most important yearly date.After a morning meeting at the Royal Hall, the afternoon will have its core at San Rossore Racecourse Centre, where the 125th Pisa Prize is expected to take place. At 05:30 p.m., the area of Sangallo’s Rampart will host the dubbing ceremony nominating the leading roles for the Game on the Bridge. To end the Pisan New Year’s celebration, the Rowers Palio will be competed for on the River Arnoat 06:30: after a competition involving all of the four urban districts, the winning team will face the rowers from Livorno.