Secret code

Carlo Cafferini depicts buildings facades on Pisa’s river Arno sides, covered by wooden boards that the night of June 16th will host thousands of little candles for the celebration of the city’s patron saint.

Carlo Cafferini, Secret code, Pisa
Pisa, Italy. 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 June 16th, 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 boards called “biancherie” are hanged on windows and doors of the houses. Originally these boards should highlight the structure of houses, following accurately the shapes of doors and windows, but today they have been replaced by more curious and creative shapes.

The night of the 16th of June, these boards will host thousands and thousands of little candles for the celebration of the “Luminara di San Ranieri” and Lungarni (the two sides of Arno river) will be enlightened only by the light of the small lamps, creating an extraordinary sight.

Carlo Cafferini, Secret code, Pisa
Carlo Cafferini, Secret code, Pisa

The project focuses on the preparation of the event and not on the more well-known part, the evening of the festivity.

However the last image of the series gives a taste of this great celebration.

In this period facades of palaces and buildings in Lungarno seem to speak a secret language: the white boards hanged on windows and doors of houses create strange patterns, looking like a mysterious code of signs and symbols. The secret code of the title.


Carlo Cafferini (1985) is an architectural photographer, with special consideration for contemporary architecture who lives in Pisa. His architectural project “Presence-absence in architecture” has been recently selected in Editors’ Choice in LensCulture and published in Aesthetica Magazine, british bimonthly of art and culture.

Latest on News

Latest on Domus

Read more
China Germany India Mexico, Central America and Caribbean Sri Lanka Korea icon-camera close icon-comments icon-down-sm icon-download icon-facebook icon-heart icon-heart icon-next-sm icon-next icon-pinterest icon-play icon-plus icon-prev-sm icon-prev Search icon-twitter icon-views icon-instagram