La tradizione del giovedì santo a Firenze
The tradition of Holy Thursday in Florence
Ancient traditions and popular rites linked to Easter come back to life during Holy Week. Among processions with confraternities, illuminations and sacred representations with groups of figures in period costumes, there are many appointments in Tuscany.
On the afternoon of Holy Thursday in every Catholic church is celebrated the 'missa in coena Domini' (in memory of the Last Supper) with the evocative rite of the 'Lavanda dei piedi' and the blessing of the bread, then the churches remain open until midnight for the adoration of the Eucharist on the altar (sepulchre) sumptuously decorated with brightly coloured flowers and flowering plants.
Linked to this practice, since 1540 there has been a devotional tradition known as the 'tour of the seven churches', i.e. the visit on the same evening to the seven holiest basilicas in the city.
In Florence the tour of the seven churches should absolutely include a visit to the Duomo, Santa Maria Novella, Santa Croce, Santa Felicita, Santo Spirito, Santissima Annunziata and San Marco, an opportunity to admire also, in another light, the great masterpieces contained in them.