Flag-wavers with over 50 years of Tuscan tradition play for Pope Francis

The Italian flags group— known as the Flag-wavers of the Florentine Villages & Sestieri—performs all over the world. They also performed for Pope Francis at the beginning of one of his General Audiences. Trumpeter Giovanni Alamanni describes the experience as emotional.

"I was both excited and moved, and I was not able to breathe inside the trumpet," said Giovanni Alamanni, trumpet player for Flag-wavers of Florentine Villages & Sestieri.

When Pope Francis spoke to the group, Alamanni said it felt more like a conversation with a friend, especially when he asked them to pray for him. 

All the members are volunteers that practice twice each week and perform in approximately 30 exhibitions each year.

After 10 years with the group, Alamanni says performing for Pope Francis is his favorite. But the second best was 7 years ago. 

"Before this one, the most beautiful performance that I did was in Tokoyo in 2016," he said.

Founded in 1965, the Flag-wavers of the Florentine Villages & Sestieri combine Tuscan tradition with the ancient practice of military flag-waving. The group consists of captains, drummers, trumpeters, and flag-wavers.