The origin of the Rificolona lead back before twentieth century, when many peasants and mountain dwellers come to the city from the hills of Vallombrosa and Impruneta to celebrate the nativity of Madonna nella Basilica della Santissima Annunziata. They praised the Vergin 8 september and sold their products under the open Gallery of the Ospedale degli Innocenti.
To light the way during the walk, the peasants carrry small lanterns, open at the top to allow the candle to burn. This is an occasion when Florentine youngsters and teenagers party all night, teasing the peasants, calling them fierucolone or fieruculone, (on account of their animated participation and their rather abundant bottoms). Over the course of time, the party is a little changed but still today, on the night of the celebration, between 7 and 8 september, there are two groups: the boys march with their blowpipe and the children march in the city center supporting the rificolone and singing:
Ona, ona, ona
Oh che bella rificolona!
La mia l’è co’ fiocchi
E la tua l’è co’ pidocchi.
E l’è più bella la mia
Di quella della tu zia.
The word “rificolona” derives from the ancient “fierucola”, little feast but important.