WHAT: FESTIVAL OF SAN GIOVANNI (THE OLDEST LAKE COMO FESTIVAL)
WHEN: SATURDAY 23RD AND SUNDAY 24TH JUNE 2018
WHERE: ISOLA COMACINA, FLORANCE, ITALY
If you are visiting Italy this Summer, make sure that you pay a visit to Isola Comacina to witness one of the oldest festivals celebrated in Florence Italy. The festival is held on the weekend closest to June 24th every year, and the community of Ossuccio hosts the local festival. Over the years, it has become more and more popular, not only with the locals but tourists that make that special trip not to miss out on any of the pyrotechnic action and festivities that take place.
Early on Saturday evening, families and friends get together for food and drink eagerly awaiting the evening to arrive for the fireworks display to begin. The main stage for the fireworks is Comacina Island, with Ossucio spread out directly in front. The surrounding slopes and mountains to the left and the right of the Island create a fantastic natural amphitheater so wherever you are you can sit back and take in the spectacular views and enjoy the show.
If you are brave enough (and your ears can take the noise) you can join many people on boats and steamers that make their way out on the water or in the Docklands to get up close and personal with the display. This also gives you fantastic 180-degree views of the land.
At around half past 10, the crowd gradually settles down leaving an eerie silence all around which is broken suddenly with the flashes, bangs and beautiful colours of the fireworks, echoing all around the area making the fireworks appear to be in surround sound.
Not only are the fireworks for entertainment and enjoyment but they also tell the story of Comacina Island, the emperor Frederick Redbeard and the wars that once devastated the strip of land and burnt it to the ground. Narrators tell the story of this beautiful place and the devastation reeked by the fire which destroyed the village and took so many lives along with fireworks choreographed to music giving the show an extra wow factor for all attending.
After the display, the whole of the island glows a ruby red colour to signify the fire that once destroyed the island, this alone is a one-off and exceptional sight to witness. After a short interval, the night air is again filled with noise as rounds of applause, cheers, horns of the steamers and boats are given as a way of showing appreciation to everyone that has been involved and taken part in the celebration.
On a Sunday the locals dress in traditional costumes and make their way to the hundreds of boats in the dock to make there way over to the island. Sunday is a holy day (most of the islanders are devout Catholics) the locals attend mass in the ruins of Sant’Eufemia Church on the island, before returning home and eating together again with family and friends to bring an end to the weekends’ celebrations.
This is a special one-off experience not to be missed so make sure that you book your place this summer and get in on the pyro musical action.