The keeper of the Brindellone
For 36 years, Gianfranco Bernardini has been keeper of the Brindellone, the traditional cart that on Easter day ‘explodes’ with fireworks in front of the Duomo
How did this job begin?
As a boy, apprenticing to carpenters who at the time had the task of watching over the Brindellone’s condition.
How tall is it and how much does the cart weigh?
40 quintals and 11 meters in height. Three levels of finely inlaid chestnut and fir panels, wheels in elm, and the base is painted on the four sides depicting the districts of Florence.
When was it built and by whom?
Actually, we don’t know exactly which era it dates back to and who built it. Here in storage, I’ve always heard that it dates back to the fifteenth century.
How many people work around the Brindellone at Easter?
About thirty, excluding security and fireworks personnel.
Is it possible to visit it in storage during the year?
Yes, but by appointment. You just need to contact the City Office of popular Florentine traditions.
Why do the Florentines call it Brindellone?
The cart is empty inside, with a sort of mast in the center that, with steel rods, holds in place the chestnut and fir panels that are not fixed. The Florentines call it Brindellone because, being flexible, when it’s pulled along by the 4 white oxen, it moves like an ungainly boy (brindellone). And this flexibility is the secret reason that it has never been broken.