The Easter weekend is the perfect opportunity for a spring cultural excursion to discover the beauties of our country. Many of the Italian cities, for Easter, dress up to party and show their best side including folklore parades, typical dishes, music and festivities. But which are the most suggestive itineraries to discover the Italian Easter traditions?
Easter in Rome
Easter is an opportunity to experience the capital among its many events, first of all religious events and then, to follow, the markets, concerts, exhibitions and culinary traditions. Spring is surely one of the most beautiful times to live in Rome: the sun warms up the small streets of the center, its most famous monuments shine and the outdoor events start and they allow you to appreciate nature, culture and art. There are so many possibilities to spend the best Easter in Rome. The Holy Week in the Vatican: Friday, March 30, it will be possible to participate in the characteristic Via Crucis at the Colosseum, awaiting the traditional Easter Sunday Mass when all the faithful will receive the blessing in St. Peter’s Square.
Among the most anticipated events of the period there is the Easter Festival: theater, art and sacred music are, for 20 years, the undisputed protagonists of this event that will animate Rome from March 25yh to April 1st, 2018. Enrico Castiglione wanted this event since 1998, who will be hosted, together with his cast, in some of the churches and basilicas in Rome to give life to these events, represented in the different forms of art, which are the most emblematic moments of this religious festivity. For art lovers, we recommend our city itinerary in just two days.
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Easter in Siena: a dive in the tradition and relax in the Tuscan countryside
The city, famous throughout the world for its rich historical and artistic heritage thanks to its medieval villages, also presents a remarkable landscape heritage thanks to the countryside of its province, characterized by medieval villages and a significant variety of natural reserves and thermal springs. On Sunday morning, from 9:00 o’Clock, the traditional market takes place in Piazza del Campo, where you can find all traditional Sienese handicrafts: leather goods, ceramic products of great value, gastronomic specialties and books.
The following day, a special excursion could be planned: the “Nature Train” of the Crete Senesi will lead visitors from Siena to Buonconvento, a characteristic walled village nearby Montalcino, where the famous Antiques Fair will be held. A place of particular importance is the Museum of Sacred Art of Arbia Valley, which preserves a great Tuscan artistic production of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.To spend a weekend of relax, however, you are spoiled for choice between excursions in contact with nature that offer unique views and the visit of the many thermal springs; among them the most important ones are in Bagni di Petriolo.
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Easter in Florence
Walking through Florence, you can breathe the Florentine renaissance, fashion and refined art of 1500. The city symbols are the Duomo of Florence, Piazza della Signoria, Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio, fixed stages for a trip to the Tuscan capital. The incurable romantics and photography lovers can’t miss Piazzale Michelangelo, a square located a bit ‘in the hills that offers a breathtaking view of the entire city. Piazza Santo Spirito is one of the most popular nightlife areas, while via Tornabuoni, the most fashionable street, has the most luxurious fashion boutiques and is perfect for a classy shopping session. Another suggestive glimpse is the village of Fiesole, which can be reached by going up Via San Domenico, a scenic road dotted with marvelous villas, and is a real terrace overlooking the city, with its central square which often hosts a traditional market, and its monuments and museums, on which stands the Roman Theater, which often offers concerts and events.
Every year Florence celebrates Easter Sunday with the traditional “Scoppio del carro“, tradition that dates back to the times of the first crusade, called to free the Holy Sepulcher from the hands of the infidels. A wagon, called “Il Brindellone”, is transported by white oxen from Piazzale del Prato to the Church of the Holy Saints Apostles of Florence and a dove, which is nothing but a rocket with the appearance of a white pigeon, sets the fireworks on fire contained in the wagon. More precisely, a rope is stretched that starts from the church choir and goes up to the wagon and on which the dove is slid; once the artifices are set on fire, the colombina must go back to the Maggiore Altar, from where it left, retracing the route itself. The tradition wants that if the explosion is perfect and the colombina returns to the altar without problems, for Florence promises a positive year. The last time “the return” did not succeed, it was 1966, when the flood occurred. This party has always attracted a large crowd of tourists, citizens and above all of many farmers in the Florentine countryside who were hoping for a good harvest for the time to come.In Florence for Easter we eat the traditional Florentine steak, accompanied by “pan di ramerino”, a sweet sandwich with rosemary and raisins, and we end the lunch in sweetness with the typical Florentine schiacciata and Lenten, biscuits in the shape of letters made with cocoa.
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Easter in Tuscany
Even the surroundings of Florence are full of attractions and beauties not to be missed. The Mugello area is characterized by villages, castles and villas built by the Medici’s family, for years the lords of Florence and originating in this area. Among the most beautiful things, we can find Park and Villa Demidoff in Vaglia, Palazzo dei Vicari in Scarperia and Villa di Cafaggiolo in Barberino del Mugello. There are also towns and villages, all to be discovered, where events and fairs dedicated to food and wine and typical local crafts are often organized. Shoppers can quench their thirst for purchases with the outlet of Barberino McArthurGlen, which offers the best brands at discounted prices, and motor enthusiasts can visit the Mugello racetrack.
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The Val d’Elsa area, which includes beautiful villages like San Gimignano, Volterra, San Miniato, Castelfalfi, Certaldo and Siena, is one of the most evocative areas of Tuscany. These small villages are real miniature works of art, which are able to immerse visitors in a medieval atmosphere. Among the less known but not less characteristic, the small medieval village of Montaione is characterized by the medieval walls and the hilly landscape. Among truffles, steaks and red wines produced by the vineyards in the area, a trip to Val d’Elsa is also a pleasure for the senses.
Easter in Versilia
Between sea and mountains, Versilia is the ideal destination to enjoy the first days of spring and to spend an Easter in the name of relax but also able to offer every kind of entertainment and where every need can be satisfied. The most glamorous Tuscan coast, thanks to the city of Forte dei Marmi, is also an excellent starting point for day trips to discover Pietrasanta, Pisa, Lucca or the famous Cinque Terre. For lovers of wellness, Versilia collects in its area many locations where you can escape from the daily routine to enjoy pleasant moments pampered by the warmth of saunas and Turkish baths and the expert massage techniques of competent and professional staff. One of the best facilities for beauty treatments, body care and physical well-being, is located in Lido di Camaiore: UNA Hotel Versilia has a wide range of packages for a day of wellness and beauty.
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Easter in Sicily: Syracuse, among temples and olive trees
Syracuse is a wonderful city, rich in history, traditions and overall cultural beauties. To visit “the most beautiful city that the Greeks built in the West”, as Cicero called it, we can only start from what made it famous in the world: Neapolis Park. It is the most important archaeological area of the city, which includes the famous Greek Theater, the Roman Amphitheater and the Ara of Ierone. Do not miss the Ear of Dionysus, the particular cave with the shape of a donkey ear built, according to legend, by the tyrant Dionysus, where he imprisoned the prisoners and listened to their speeches: it is said that this cavity, in fact, amplifies the sounds up to 16 times.
After this dive into antiquity, you can take a walk to Ortigia, the historic Syracuse center that’s located on an island, up to the majestic Piazza del Duomo; from there you can reach the seafront up to the Fonte Aretusa.To get to know something more about the city’s costumes, you can visit the Museum Aretuseo dei Pupi, and those who prefer the story full of mystery can not miss the Catacombs of Saint Giovanni. Who decides to visit this city during Easter, will have to visit Ferla: a small town in the province of Syracuse where Easter is celebrated starting from Palm Sunday with a long procession with palm trees and olive branches. In fact, the entire Holy Week is full of processions, events, celebrations, and rituals, until you get to Holy Saturday that is celebrated with fireworks and bells to party. None of the local inhabitants go to sleep because they expect the dawn mass on Easter Sunday, in which a procession brings the risen Christ on the triumphal chariot. The lamb, “U pupu cu l’ova” (a bread seasoned with hard-boiled eggs), ravioli with ricotta cheese in the sauce and biscuits with almonds and marzipan are the absolute protagonists of the laid tables.
Which city do you prefer to spend Easter?