Posted by: debrakolkka | April 28, 2010

Festival of flowers for Saint Zita in Lucca

Every year in April the piazza in front of the church of San Frediano off Via Fillungo is filled with flowers in honour of Saint Zita, one of Lucca’s most important and loved saints. The church contains a shrine to Saint Zita and once a year her mumified  body is brought from her usual resting place in her own chapel and placed in the centre of the church so she may be touched by her devout followers.  She is in a glass case, so this is not quite as gruesome as it sounds.

Saint Zita's usual place in San Frediano

Saint Zita

Zita was born in a small village not far from Lucca.  She was employed from the age of 12 as a domestic servant by a Lucchese family and each day she would give leftover bread to the poor.  Despite problems with her fellow workers she perservered with her good deeds and eventually became head housekeeper and loved the family as if it was her own.  She stayed with the family her whole life and died peacefully in her sleep at 60 years of age in 1278.  Her body was exhumed in 1580 and was placed in the church.  She was cannonised in 1696.

Saint Zita in her once a year spot

As well as the flowers in front of San Frediano, the old amphitheatre nearby is also filled with colourful plants to admire and buy.  We go every year if we are here.   This year we came home laden with geraniums and petunias for the balcony.

spring in the anfiteatro

this peonie was the size of a dinner plate

2 of these are now on my balcony

If I had more space these would have come home as well

Geraldton Wax - a long way from home


  1. Is Saint Zita, Saint Rita? or they are two different Saints?
    I love the pictures of the flowers!
    You are so lucky Debra to be surrounded by so much beautiful flowers:)

    • Saint Zita is a saint from Lucca. I have also heard of Saint Rita, but I don’t know anything about her. I think Saint Zita looks pretty good for her age.

    • They are two different saints. St. Rita of Cascia, Italy is the patron saint of impossible cases. She lived in 1381-1457. She was married to an abusive man who converted right before he was murdered. After she became a widow she entered the convent of Augustinian nuns, where she received ONE thorn from the crown of thorns of Jesus.

  2. I clicked on the Peonie picture and it filled my entire screen!
    SO beautiful!!

  3. Hi Mirella, Peonies are my favourite flowers and they are everywhere just now. They seem to grow wild on the side of the road. It is a pity they don’t last longer. Deb

  4. You are so clever…..gorgeous pictures…what a
    wonderful journey everytime I look at your blog.
    Thank you.

  5. Saint Rita is the Saint of lost causes,
    I saw her body lately in a picture and she also look good for her age LOL LOL LO LOL LOL.

  6. […] Click here to see the flower festival from last year – and pictures of Saint Zita, the reason for the festival. […]

  7. […] Click here to see more on the very interesting Saint Zita. […]

  8. […] di Lucca and Beyond: Festival of flowers for Saint Zita in Lucca Lucca and its patron saint Saint Zita: Saint […]

  9. We stayed in an apartment on Piazza Antifeatro during the flower fair. It was absolutely beautiful, especially at night. I wish I was there right now!

    • How lovely! We are rarely in Lucca at night, unless we are going to dinner or a concert there. It looks gorgeous at any time and the anfiteatro is a social part of Lucca.

  10. is good artikel Thank you so much , Adwin

  11. As a young girl in third grade, I was poised to make my Confirmation. As I paged through the original Butler’s Lives of the Saints, I came across the life of St. Zita. This Saint and her name appealed to my youthful ardor, so I chose to take that name. Now, I am in my seventies, and a member of the Religious Congregation, the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart for 55 years. When I was permitted to take a Religious name, I chose to keep Zita. I have spread her story throughout my life. One thing I have come to realize is that, as a patroness of domestics, she is certainly a patron of the Irish women who, even when they traveled to America, became housekeepers. She may be Italian, but her spirit remains in those of us of Irish heritage!
    Sr. Anne Zita Crudden, gnsh

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