In 1845, Dickens wrote this to describe it:

"The show began with a tremendous discharge of cannon; and then, for 20 minutes or half an hour, the whole castle was one incessant sheet of fire and labyrinth of blazing wheels of every color, size and speed, in half an hour afterwards, the immense concourse had dispersed; the moon was looking calmly down upon her wrinkled image in the river, and half a dozen men and boys, with bits of lighted candle in their hands, moving here and there, in search of anything worth having that might have been dropped in the press, had the whole scene to themselves."

La Girandola was introduced for the first time in 1481 to celebrate Pope Francesco della Rovere (Sisto IV). The papacy sponsored this spectacular fireworks display that were designed by Michelangelo and then refined more than 100 years later by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Vanvitelli. This show was recreated every Easter or to honor royals visitors, as well as a new pope was elected and on June 28, the eve of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
In 1851 Pope Pius IX relocated la Girandola to Terrazza del Pincio but it wasn’t the same anymore, he probably did it because Piazza del Popolo is a larger square and usually there were a lot of people but La Girandola was beautiful because of the setting (Castel Sant’Angelo) you know? In the end, the show lasted until 1887.

In 2008 the city of Rome decided to reenact the fireworks to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Michelangelo starting to paint the ceiling of the Cappella Sistina. And used the original setting again. People loved it and so now every year there is the show at the castle, not on the 28th like before but on the 29th.

Take a look HERE for some pictures :)


  1. numenorss posted this