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Posted by ToursItaly on March 31, 2015
What’s better than a chocolate egg and an Easter egg hunt on Easter? Enjoying an authentic Pasqua (Easter) with Italy Tours and Italy Vacation Packages.
Easter this year falls a little earlier over the first weekend in April. Happily even early springtime in Italy is a wonderful time for a trip to Italy. Visitors benefit from off-season rates for accommodation, tours, and travel while they have greater chances of enjoying nice weather.
In this predominantly Christian country where the majority of believers are Roman Catholic Christians, Easter is the biggest celebration of the church year. Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and follows the 40-day period of fasting and reflection called Lent as well as the very somber Good Friday Mass.
Naturally any celebration in Italy includes special foods and fine wine, and Easter is no exception. While North Americans and British families think of ham and potatoes or perhaps roast chicken or turkey for a special Easter feast, in Italy the traditional dinner is lamb or goat. After fasting and abstaining from meat and treats through Lent and on Good Friday, everyone is ready to enjoy rich foods, grilled meat, and good wine for Easter!
Since Italy is a country comprised of very distinct and unique regions, each with its own regional dishes and specialties, menus for the big celebratory dinner on Easter Sunday may vary. Often the meal will start with a first course of a savory egg and veggie pie called Torte Pasqualine. In some cities you may find fish or seafood like Insalata di Polpo (octopus salad), artichokes, asparagus, fava beans, and even different types of fancy breads on the menu.
Easter dolci (desserts) are of course always a highlight. You might enjoy Pastiera Napoletana in Naples, which is a rich ricotta cheese cake with candied fruit and the flavour of orange. Most Italian tables will be graced with a beautifully braided sweet bread inset with coloured hard cooked eggs called Pane di Pasqua. All the eggs of course are symbolic of the new life promised in the resurrection of Jesus.
Traditional gifts or special treats for Easter include of sweet Panetone bread, dove-shaped bread called Colomba, and hollow chocolate eggs that have little treasures inside to delight children and the young at heart.
Easter Monday, called either Pasquetta (Little Easter) or Lunedi dell’Angelo (Angel’s Monday), is a national holiday. Most Italians will head outside to enjoy spring weather with picnics, day trips, or at their favourite restaurants with friends or family.
Which cities are the most popular Easter Italy vacation destinations?
Spending Easter in Rome is definitely top of the list. In addition to observing the pageantry of Holy Week celebrations and joining the thousands of pilgrims from around the world filling churches and of course St. Peter’s Square, there are so many other historic sites to see in the Eternal City. The seats at the basilica are booked months in advance but many visitors are able to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis during Holy Week services or when he gives the traditional Urbi et Orbi (to the City and World) address on Easter Sunday.
A holiday in Rome at Easter promises so much to see and do, like our walking tour to unearth the secrets of the Colosseum and small group walking tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel.
The other very popular Italian destination at Easter for Italians and international travelers alike is Florence for the annual Easter Sunday explosion. This big celebration is a tradition that dates back centuries. A beautiful procession after Sunday Mass at the Church of Santi Apostoli sees ornately dressed musicians and revellers accompany an elaborately decorated ox-drawn wagon to the Piazza del Duomo near the basilica.
The wagon itself carries a towering structure called the Brindellone, which is what is set off in the much-anticipated massive firework explosion called Scoppio del Carro (explosion of the cart). The crowds cheer and celebrate the resurrection of Christ and the feasting continues all day.
Florence is a beautiful city to explore and we offer several Florence day trips and excursions to Cinque Terre or into the wine regions of Tuscany.
Want to celebrate Easter in Italy this year? Contact the Avventure Bellissime team for help planning your Easter Italy trip, Rome and Florence tours, and other interesting Italy excursions.