Today – August 10th – is the feast day of San Lorenzo, an all-day and night event loaded with free parties, food, and even shooting stars.
Legend has it that Roman Emperor Valerian ordered San Lorenzo’s execution during his persecution of the Christian Church in 258 A.D. Instead of giving away church secrets while roasting on a grill, the saint simply told his torturers to “Turn me over.” His martyrdom and dry sense of humor earned the early church archivist his patronage over librarians, cooks, and comedians – for obvious reasons.
The festivities to honor the saint, his sacrifice (and the Florentine neighborhood that bears his name) have taken on a life as big as his legend. Each August 10th, Florentines gather around the outside of the church for dancing, free concerts, and – the best part – free lasagna and watermelon. It’s a celebration that epitomizes a Tuscan summer. Head to the piazza around 7 p.m. or later to partake in the fun.
But the magic isn’t over yet. Each year, the Perseids meteor shower coincides with San Lorenzo’s feast day, and the show of shooting stars is famously known as “San Lorenzo’s tears.” So after you’ve had your fill of free cocomero, head to the surrounding hills (or an open terrace) and simply look up. As the martyr’s tears light up the sky, be sure to make a wish before the enchantment of the night is over.
We also want to note that August 10th is the night of the Calici di Stelle, an evening wine festival held throughout Tuscany and Italy. If you happen to be near a vineyard or winery tonight, enjoy the best of both worlds and watch the shooting stars while sipping a glass of wine.