With Holy Week around the corner, we bring you five facts about Easter in Italy.
Easter eggs and colomba
Food is an important part of Easter (Pasqua in Italian). During the Holy Week (Settimana Santa) chocolate eggs and the colomba bread are the most popular. Invented in Milan around 1930, colomba is the Easter version of the two Christmas desserts, panettone and pandoro, topped with pearl sugar and almonds and dove-shaped.
Sites open, shops closed
As it’s a long weekend, lots of Italians head to the countryside, the sea, or the mountains. Meanwhile, a lot of foreigners are heading to the popular sites in the cities.
Most major museums and sights will be open on Easter Sunday and Monday, but many shops and restaurants will be closed.
Picnic on Pasquetta
Despite the common phrase “Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi” (Christmas with your family, Easter with whoever you want), Easter Sunday is usually spent with family, while Easter Monday, or “Pasquetta,” is spent with friends.
If the weather is good, you’ll find people picnicking on Pasquetta.
There are religious processions across the country. The oldest Good Friday procession in Italy is in Chieti in the Abruzzo region; it’s very moving with Secchi’s “Miserere” played by 100 violins.
Trapani is another interesting place to see processions, held for several days during Holy Week. The Good Friday procession there, Misteri di Trapani, lasts 24 hours.
Scoppio del Carro
The Scoppio del Carro in Florence dates back to the time of the first crusade. On Easter Sunday a mechanical dove hits a cart in front of the Duomo of Florence, thus lighting the fireworks contained in the cart.
Easter in Italy is a time for celebrations, family and food.