2016 / Architecture / Buildings

Secret code

  • Photographer
    Carlo Maria Cafferini

Pisa, Italy. There is a period of the year in which palaces and buildings in Pisa's Lungarni seem to speak a secret language: doors and windows are decorated with strange wooden frames, a mysterious code of signs and symbols... The month of June is certainly for Pisa the most fascinating period of the year, when the city and its citizens breathe an air of excitement and expectation, waiting for the evening of the 16th of June, the evening of the Luminara di San Ranieri, city’s patron saint, that is celebrated the day after. In the weeks before the Luminara, hundreds of white wooden frames called ‘biancherie’ in italian, are hanged on windows and doors of houses. Originally these frames should highlight the structure of houses, following accurately the shapes of doors and windows, but today they have been replaced by simply but maybe more curious and creative shapes. The night of the 16th of June, these wooden shapes will host thousands of little candles, called 'lampanini', for the celebration of the ‘Luminara di San Ranieri’ and Lungarni (the two sides of river Arno) will be enlightened only by the light of the small lamps, creating an extraordinary sight. I decided to dedicate an architectural project to the ‘Luminara di San Ranieri’, focusing on the preparation of the event and not on the more well-known part, the evening of the festivity. Looking all these wooden boards, facades seem to communicate, talking to each other with a mysterious language made of strange signs and symbols, the secret code of the title.