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An Expert Guide to Celebrating Easter in Italy

Easter is one of the most important religious celebrations in Italy, and it’s also one of the best times to visit the country. During this time, cities and towns throughout Italy come alive with colorful processions, intricate religious art, and mouth-watering culinary traditions. If you’re planning a trip to Italy around Easter, this expert guide will give you all the information you need to fully experience this unique and special celebration.


What to Expect


Easter in Italy is a week-long celebration, culminating on Easter Sunday. During this time, many cities hold religious processions, where locals dress in traditional costumes and carry religious statues through the streets. In Rome, the Pope conducts a special mass in St. Peter’s Square, and the city also hosts the famous ‘Scoppio del Carro’ – where a brightly decorated cart is set alight as a symbol of good luck. Throughout Italy, many churches also hold special services and concerts during Easter week.


Where to Go


If you’re visiting Italy during Easter, Rome and the Vatican are obviously must-visit destinations. However, many other Italian cities host their own unique celebrations. In Sicily, the city of Trapani hosts a stunning procession with life-size statuary, while Florence features the ‘Scoppio del Carro’ and the ‘Explosion of the Cart’. Other cities with notable Easter celebrations include Parma, Perugia, and San Gimignano.


What to Eat


Italian Easter food traditions vary by region, but some options are available everywhere. One of the most popular is Colomba di Pasqua, a sweet, dove-shaped cake filled with candied fruit and almonds. Other Easter sweets include marzipan lambs, chocolate eggs, and ‘Pastiera Napoletana’ – a rich Neapolitan ricotta and wheat cake. In Rome, it’s traditional to eat lamb for Easter dinner, while in Sicily, ‘Cassata Siciliana’ – a sweet, ricotta-filled cake – is a must-try.


What to Wear


In general, Italians dress up for Easter, so it’s best to leave casual clothes at home. In many cities, processions are preceded by a ‘costume parade’, in which locals participate in wearing traditional clothing. If you’re attending any of these events, it’s a good idea to dress up accordingly. Also, bear in mind that Easter is in early spring, so prepare for cool weather.


Other Tips

If you’re not religious, it’s still worth attending some of the Easter celebrations in Italy, as they are a unique cultural experience. However, you may want to avoid churches on Easter Sunday itself, as they are usually packed with locals attending mass. Also, bear in mind that many shops and restaurants may be closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, so plan accordingly.


Easter in Italy is a truly unique experience, and it’s a perfect opportunity to experience Italy’s rich culture and tradition. Whether you’re attending the famous Easter mass in Rome or feasting on Easter sweets in Sicily, this will undoubtedly be a trip to remember. 


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