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Holiday ideas

An Easter to Savor: 4 Ideas for a Delectable Trip

Perhaps the best way to truly understand a place, its people and its past, is through the palate. With that in mind, here are four deliciously refined trip ideas for a tasty Easter weekend in Liguria, Tuscany, Abruzzo and Calabria.

 

  • Liguria and Tuscany
  • Abruzzo and Calabria
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Liguria: torta pasqualina and Albenga violet artichokes


What to eat: for your first taste of sea and summer, spend the long Easter weekend in Liguria savoring an authentic torta pasqualina.
The pasqualina, or Easter pie, is a famous savory pie made with fresh ricotta cheese, marjoram that grows on the rolling hills of Liguria that sweep down to the sea, and the very tasty violet artichokes of Albenga, a delicious early season vegetable. All these ingredients are wrapped in at least ten very thin sheets of pastry dough, which many housewives in Liguria still make at home.
This pie is excellent with a fresh bouquet wine, like a Golfo del Tigullio or a Vermentino del Ponente, as you enjoy the view from a terrace overlooking the sea and take in some fresh salty, balmlike air.

What to see: you may enjoy the start of spring by strolling through the evocative fishing hamlets, which today have become fashionable areas that nonetheless have kept their charm intact. Nature lovers can walk or go on mountain bike, the trails of the Cinque Terre, and for those with children don’t miss a visit to the Aquarium of Genoa, and then wander about the city’s narrow alleys and backstreets where to savor fragrant breads, superb fish dishes, and other local delicacies.

Where to sleep: stay at one of our agriturismi in Liguria.

Tuscany: schiacciata di Pasqua

What to eat: In the past, women prepared thirty or more schiacciata di Pasqua every year at Easter to give away to friends and neighbors, as well as the family doctor, pharmacist, teachers and anyone else they wished to thank or ingratiate. The schiacciata di Pasqua is not the typically flat focaccia you might expect, but a semi-sweet dough as high as a panettone. The recipe was born from the local people’s need to consume an abundance of eggs at the start of spring, and their desire to celebrate the advent of warmer weather and the Easter holidays with something soft and sweet. The schiacciata di Pasqua is great for breakfast or a snack, with chocolate or – why not? – sliced meats, and today still entices the appetites of both children and adults. 

The simple but slow and elaborate preparation, which entails various risings and time in between, is the perfect metaphor for a region like Tuscany where the pace of life has remained like bygone days. The vibrant fields and hills, terracotta hues of medieval hamlets and Tuscany’s magnificent blue sky suffice to give you a taste of happiness that endures well past your stay. 

Don’t miss out on other traditional dishes during the Easter holiday, from lamb to rosticciata with olives, buccellato cake to cantucci served with vin santo.

What to see: There’s certainly no problem filling your days in Tuscany. From visiting the most important city of art, Florence, to relaxing at the spas in Chianciano or Montecatini, exploring Maremma on horseback, watching local Easter processions evoking the Via Crucis or partaking in the exciting Tuscan tradition scoppio del carro, or “exploding the wagon”, Easter in Tuscany is a treat for everyone.

Where to sleep: Stay at one of our agriturismi in Tuscany.

Abruzzo: mazzarelle and cace e ova lamb stew

What to eat: In the past, Easter symbolized the end of fasting for Lent, a period further harshened by winter’s limited food supply. Consequently, Abruzzo’s traditional Easter dishes are rich and filling. In a land of shepherds, sacrificing a lamb was symbolic from many points of view and gratefully eaten by all. Its organs make up the main ingredients of the first course - mazzarelle - which even today starts off the traditional Easter feast. Cooked for hours in a flavorful sauce perfect for dunking bread, it’s for lovers of bold tastes.

This specialty is followed by maccheroni alla chitarra and a second traditional lamb dish, cace e ova, which blends fresh cheese with another symbol of renewal and Eastertime: the egg.

What to see: Abruzzo’s bold and tasty cooking calls to mind the harsh and wild landscape of the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, which is simply breathtaking at this time of year. Nature reawakens and animals, still sleepy from their winter hibernation, come out of hiding in search of food or company. Just a few days in this peaceful area of the Abruzzo mountains, surrounded by boisterous streams and vibrant meadows, is enough to make both children and adults happy. 

Where to sleep: Stay at one of our agriturismi in Abruzzo.

Calabria: the sgute

What to eat: A homemade specialty typical of Calabria during the holy week of Easter, sgute or cuzzupe, were traditionally given as gifts to loved ones. Simple sweets, much like giant cookies, are adorned with hard-boiled eggs with decorated shells. The array of shapes vary in their significance, for example, two intertwined rings symbolize a bride and groom, while other sgute are made especially for children, for boyfriends, and more…

Calabria’s Easter meal is rich and varied, as only those who have tried it can attest. From fresh pasta with provolone cheese and prosciutto, to potatoes with bell peppers and sausage, from the ever-present lamb roast with scrumptious side dishes where eggplants play a main role, to countless sweets and cakes. 

What to see: To satisfy the spirit as well as the palate there’s no time better than Easter, when the weather is warm but not too hot, to visit the spectacular castles scattered across the region. Plan a trip to Aragon Castle in Reggio Calabria, which, along with Bronzes of Riace, is the area’s most visited landmark, as well as the splendid castles of Amantea, San Lorenzo del Vallo and the Swabian castle in Cosenza, a city with a splendid historic center. 

Archeological sites and the Calabrian Magna Grecia museums make up another very interesting itinerary, especially in the spring when the weather is pleasant and air perfumed with flowering Mediterranean brush.

Where to sleep: Stay at one of our agriturismi in Calabria.

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