Rificolona Lantern Festival 

Today was the first day of classes. I had Batik, Italian, and Sculpture. They all seem like they’ll be really good classes, and I’m especially excited about Batik. We took a little field trip during my sculpture class to walk to a museum that housed two of Michelangelo’s relief sculptures that he did as a young teenager. Of course, they were amazing, and they evidenced how he was starting to show how he was the first real contemporary artist, even while still in school. We then walked a few blocks over and peeked into a sculpture studio where men were making copies of the sculptures in and around the Duomo. 

  
Of the two sculptures of men in the back, the real one is on the right and the copy on the left. The copy will replace the real one on the outside of the Duomo, and the original will be put in a safe place out of the elements. 

Tomorrow is the day commemorating the birth of the Virgin Mary, so tonight on the Eve of her birthday, there is a Paper Lantern Festival to celebrate. The cardinal leads a procession of children carrying lanterns, many of them homemade, through the city. At the end, the cardinal gave a speech and the winning lantern was announced. 

  
There is the cardinal in the little red hat.

There is also a comical tradition where the older children will shoot spitballs at the lanterns, trying to knock them down so they’ll catch on fire. This actually happened several times, and it’s kind of funny how this is okay here. People would have a cow if somebody set their kid’s lantern on fire in the States. One little girl’s caught fire right in front of me, and her dad’s first reaction was not to help her or put it out, but to take a picture.  But that was my instinct too, so…

 
On the way to the festival, we got behind a group of dinosaur mascots who were dancing in the street and grabbing random pedestrians to spin around. It was fun but a little strange.  

    
    
You can see the Duomo peeking out from behind the buildings.

 
When we first got to the festival, we were a little early and saw a group of dancers practicing on the stairs. See the picture below.

   
 
Some kids with their lanterns.

   
 
There were a few street food vendors selling candy, drinks, and sandwiches. I tried a girl’s tripe sandwich, which is made from a cow’s intestines. It wasn’t awful, but it had a pretty strong flavor that I wouldn’t have been able to finish. I bought a salami sandwich and a Birra Moretti Limone, which was very good. 

   
 
 It was a pretty fun night with amazing weather. Oh, and Happy Labor Day!
 

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