She rests all year round inside the Basilica of San Frediano, in a side chapel where large frescoes tell its history. She is Saint Zita, the saint of flowers, to whom many devotees throughout the world are grateful and in Lucca it is an air of celebration.
For the days of Santa Zita, a saint dear to the Lucchesi, patroness of Lucca, housewives, housekeepers and bakers, sweets, market and gardens ... with surprise!
The people of Lucca like to tell the story of the gentle maid unjustly accused of envy. One day Mr. Fatinelli, with whom he was on duty, meeting Zita with his swollen apron on his way to a needy family, asked her what she wore. It was full of bread, but Zita replied that she only carried flowers and fronds to the Madonna, which in fact fell off the apron. In 1278 he died and the people of Lucca wanted his remains to be buried in the Basilica of San Frediano. His mummified body is exhibited in the Fatinelli Chapel of the Basilica of San Frediano in Lucca and, in these days of celebration, in the center of the church.
Zita was already so revered in Tuscany that she was cited by Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy shortly after her death, referring to a magistrate from Lucca known as "anzian di santa Zita", thus identifying the little Saint of flowers with honest and conspicuous Lucca. His memory has always been linked to that miracle of flowers and in his honor every year a large garden is set up in Piazza Anfiteatro for the exhibition market, bouquets of blessed daffodils are offered, a symbol of empathy that brings luck and happiness, like the first flowers that bloom and announce spring.
The gardens of Santa Zita
Flower beds then bloomed for the feast of Santa Zita, linked to the traditional flower market and which will take place in Piazza dell'Anfiteatro from 24 to 28 April for five days dedicated to the patron saint of Lucca.
They are the Gardens of Santa Zita which, along with the classic city itineraries, add a "temporary" one among the ten places in the city where just as many flower beds and floral decorations have been set up that bring the spirit of spring and tradition to the historic center of Lucca of the oldest flowers in the city.
A particular and spring dress for piazza San Frediano, piazza Antelminelli, piazza Scarpellini, piazza Cittadella, piazzale Verdi while vases of azaleas and rhododendrons were placed at the Pozzo di Santa Zita in via Fontana, at the monument to Maria Luisa di Borbone in piazza Napoleone, in Porta dei Borghi, and on the churchyards of the San Frediano, San Giovanni and San Cristoforo basilica set up by the botanists of the Botanical Garden, the Lucca scientific garden from the greenhouses of which the plants of Piazza Scarpellini and part of those of the flowerbed of San Frediano.
The flower market
In Piazza Anfiteatro, on the other hand, it is celebrated with the traditional flower market and sweets and shops decorated with plants and flower boxes in the days of the fair.
On the streets the scent of flowers blends with that of herb cakes, prepared in homes. The greedy ones will be able to take advantage to taste the cake d 'erbi, the traditional cake of santa Zita so loved by the inhabitants of Lucca. A mixture of chard, stale spice bread and cheese collected in a shortcrust pastry and decorated with traditional lozenges and the characteristic "beaks"
...and a surprise!
The novelty of the 2019 edition, in collaboration with Maria Pacini Fazzi Editore, will be the two guided tours scheduled on Saturday 27th which will have as a leitmotif the places of the Saint: five points of the historic center linked together with the life of the patron saint of Lucca that will be told by the words of the mayor himself, Mr.Alessandro Tambellini, Cicero exceptional of the morning visit.
In the afternoon it will be possible to take part in a second guided tour.
At each of the 5 stations there will be students from the Pertini professional institute in Lucca who will give visitors a daffodil, the flower symbol of Santa Zita.
for info and reservations: tel 0584 583150