August 10th is the day to celebrate the co-patron of Florence, San Lorenzo. But who is San Lorenzo? San Lorenzo (225-258 AD) was one of the seven deacons of Rome and now the Catholic Church venerates him as a saint and martyr. In 258 the emperor Valerian enacted an edict for the death of bishops and priests. Before the assassination of Pope Sisti II, he gave him the responsibility to send the treasures of the Church. He gathered all the poor and sick whom he previously helped, and went with them to the prefect and said, “These are the treasures of the Church.” There are two traditions for his death: one says that on August 10th he was burned over a grid, and the other says that he was beheaded.
Every year there is a big celebration, a commemoration, in the historic center of Florence in front of the basilica that bears his name – “the basilica of San Lorenzo. ” The parade of the Corteo Storico della Repubblica Fiorentina has been part of the festivities for a long time and ends in the basilica where all together celebrate a mass. In the evening, according to the old tradition, there is the famous “cocomerata” where the Florentines meet to eat lasagna and watermelon together. Music can not be missed, so usually there is also a concert in the square.
Then there’s another fixture on that special day. Every year, around the 10th of August, the phenomenon of falling stars occurs. This is why people gather for example at Piazzale Michelangelo or Lungarno to watch them.