For Italians, Easter is the second most popular holiday of the year next to Christmas. In some parts of Calabria, the festivities include a special mass and a procession through the streets with a huge statue of the Virgin Mary proudly carried on the shoulders of a group of townsmen. The streets are absolutely packed with people watching and following the procession.
Tuscany is the land of ancient traditions that, handed down from generation to generation, are still alive today in fascinating events that celebrate Easter.
Among the most striking are the Scoppio del Carro in Florence, the Palio delle Botti in Bibbona (LI) and the exhibition of the Sacra Cintola di Maria in Prato.
On Easter Sunday all the Tuscans in the early morning gather around a table all white and laden with blessed boiled eggs, “panine” (seasoned bread), ham and capocollo, various types of desserts for a breakfast with the whole family. Then follow the lunch which traditionally includes: black, white and red croutons, tortellini in chicken broth, galantine, roast lamb, various side dishes and desserts, mostly ciambelloni and ciambellini, all washed by a good vin santo.
Even better than Easter Sunday though is one of the greatest days of the year, Pasquetta. For many young people this is the day that they will hang out with friends. As the saying in Italian goes: “Natale con i tuoi, Pasquetta con chi vuoi” – Christmas with your family, Easter Monday with whoever you want. Of course, it rhymes and sounds better in Italian!