On the evening of 13th September the streets of Lucca are lined with candles for the Luminaria di Santa Croce. The origins of the festival have been lost, but it has an ancient feeling as the crowds gather in the beautiful cobblestone streets.
As night falls the citizens of Lucca form a procession through the streets from San Frediano church, wearing medieval costume, carrying religious articles and singing hymns, to the Lucca Cathedral to pray to “il Volto Santo”, a wooden sculpture of Christ.
According to legend, the sculptor was Nicodemus, a deciple of Jesus. It was lost some time in the 8th century, but found and carried back to the town in 742.
The crowds gather as night falls.
Thousands of candles light the way for the procession.
The church of San Michele lit by candles.
It was a perfect cool, clear evening this year for the procession. Lucca looked even more beautiful than usual with its candle lined streets and thousands of enthusiastic people watching on.