Saint Ranieri of Pisa

The Italian city of Pisa is located in Tuscany. It is famous for its Leaning tower (Torre pendendte) and Battle of the bridge (Gioco del Ponte). The patron saint of Pisa is Saint Ranieri (Rainerius). He is also the patron saint of travellers. He lived in the 12th century. His feast day is on the 17th of June.

Luminara in Pisa, Italy
Luminara in Pisa, Italy

The celebration starts in the evening of the 16th of June. The people of Pisa put more than 70,000 candles on buildings along the Arno river. Thousands small lanterns are put floating down the river. Everything looks really beautiful. This tradition is known as the Luminara.

The Historical Regatta of Saint Ranieri is organized on the 17th of June. The first regatta was held in 1292 during the Palio of Our Lady of the Assumption. The competition includes four boats. They are representing four city districts - Santa Maria (white-blue), San Francesco (white-yellow), San Antonio (white-green) and San Martino (white-red).

The boats race on 1,500 metres long section of the Arno river. Crews row against the river current. Each crew consists of eight oarsmen, a steersman and one additional member. This person has only one role. At the end of race he must jump on a special boat and climb almost 8 metres long rope. On top of the rope there is the flag ("palio"). This flag is not the only prize for the winning crew. Crew members also get rather special prizes – an ox, a rooster, a sheep and a pig. The crew that finishes fourth is booed. It also gets several geese.