|St. Peter's Basilica by Simona Albanese|
The feast of St Peter and Paul, patrons of Rome, is one of the oldest solemntities of the Church introduced into the liturgy long before Christmas. It is celebrated in Rome every year. It seems that it was created to Christianize the pagan festival of Romulus and Remus, the mithological founders of Rome, and underline in this way the Apostoles' central role into the growing-up Church: Peter as first vicar of Christ and Paul, the apostle of the peoples, the Gospel spreader.
On this day the pope nominate new metropolitan archibishops celebrating a long solemn liturgy in St Peter's.In the evening this festivity is celebrated with the Girandola at Castel Sant' Angelo. The Girandola is not only a mix of fire-work, but also, as a traveler said in 1579 - it's like if all the stars are falling on the earth - an event that until 1861 has brought to Rome thousands of visitors.
This Girandola started in 1481 to celebrate Sixtus IV papacy and then it was extended to all papal solemnities. It seems that among the 'masters' designing and projecting the fire works there was also Michelangelo.