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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 spring by the seaside, spend the long Easter weekend in Liguria savoring an authentic torta pasqualina. 

The pasqualina is a savory Easter pie made from fresh ricotta cheese, marjoram that grows across the rolling hills of Liguria and the tasty violet artichokes of Albenga, a delicious seasonal vegetable. All these ingredients are wrapped in at least ten very thin sheets of pastry dough and baked, as per tradition, in the homes of many Ligurian families. 

This pie is excellent paired with a fresh local wine, like Golfo del Tigullio or Vermentino del Ponente, as you enjoy a view of the sea and breathe in Liguria’s salty, balmy air.

What to seeTake a stroll stroll through the characteristic fishing hamlets, which, despite their overwhelming popularity with tourists, have managed to keep their charm intact. Nature lovers can go on a walk or mountain bike ride on the many trails in the Cinque Terre, while families with children shouldn’t miss a visit to the Aquarium of Genoa, followed by a jaunt through the city’s narrow alleys and back streets where you can 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 eatIn 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 seeThere’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 eatIn 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 seeAbruzzo’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 eatA 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 seeTo 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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