Easter is approaching, and what better time to spend a few days in one of Italy's many farm holiday centres, concentrating on winding down in the fresh air, enjoying the early sunshine and the heart-warming spectacle of nature's reawakening?
In Italy, Easter is also the holiday period above all others that connects with the rituals of regional traditions, linked to the unique cultural roots of each location, to the cycles of the soil, the rites that date back to time immemorial and to Christian spiritual festivities, and also to cuisine and local culinary products.
For Easter many agritourism centres are offering special packages with discounted meals and accommodation deals. Promotions, special offers and last minute deals allow you to enjoy a wonderful Easter break in an agriturismo at exceptionally economical rates.
The offers of agritourism centres for Easter frequently include the possibility of organising excursions, horse riding, wellness treatments, and the possibility of attending local traditional celebrations or even taking part in the rites of preparation for Easter, learning how to cook some speciality recipes.
Choose your agriturismo for Easter, region by region
Ci avviciniamo alla Pasqua e una delle specialità gastronomiche abruzzesi di questo periodo sono i fiadoni, bocconcini salati ripieni di formaggio e cotti al forno. Dal gusto irresistibile! Foto Marco Rossi #Abruzzo #turismo #tastyabruzzo #paesaggidabruzzo #ig_abruzzo #yallersabruzzo #igersabruzzo #igitalia #igersitalia #yallersitalia #volgoabruzzo #liketitaly #enit #besocialabruzzo #borghi #italianvillages #italianvillage #loves_italia #italia365 #beautifuldestinations #discoverabruzzo #travelerinitaly
For the entire Holy Week, Barile, the site of an historic Italian-Albanian community, hosts the Byzantine Catholic festivity Java e Madhe, with superb theatrical interpretations of the events of the Passion. The spring is also the best time of the year to explore the fascination of the famous Matera dwellings and watch the annual return of migrant birds of prey, including the Lesser Kestrel.
On Good Friday in Catanzaro visitors can watch the Processione della Naca (the Naca is a cradle in which a statue of Jesus is laid). On Easter Sunday after the mass, Vibo Valentia, Laureana di Borrello and many other small towns in the province, host a moving rite accompanied by the triumphant anthem of the local band with a finale marked by loud explosions of firecrackers.
Easter in Campania combines intensely spiritual experiences with the joy for the arrival of the warmer weather. On Easter Thursday the residents of Naples engage in a traditional activity known as "fare i Sepolcri", involving a visit to seven different churches, enjoying the opportunity for a long promenade in their finest clothes. The events of the Holy Week in the outlying towns, notably Somma Vesuviana, Sorrento, Taurano and Calitri are absolutely fascinating. And visitors should make sure they don't miss out on the Easter sweetmeat par excellence: the pastiera.
- Emilia Romagna
- Friuli Venezia Giulia
Cividale Del Friuli hosts a traditional Easter game called “Il Truc”, which takes place in the city squares. Erto and Casso in the province of Pordenone celebrate Easter with theatrical representations of the Passion of Christ on Good Friday. Trieste is famed for its Easter tradition of preparing the “Pinza”, a simple and delicious Easter cake.
Easter is accompanied by a host of fairs and events in the municipalities of Lazio, with traditional religious plays, notably in Tarquinia, Palombara Sabina, and Pulcherini di Minturno. The town of Tuscania hosts the Processione degli Incappucciati, in which a procession of hooded men files past behind the Statue of the Virgin Mary, barefooted and tied together with chains. The Lazio cuisine for the Easter period is particularly abundant and varied: from the typical abbacchio lamb dish to carciofi alla giudia (Judas artichokes) and sweet maritozzi buns.
Easter in Liguria may provide the ideal opportunity for the first dip in the sea of the season, or to discover the idyllic beauty of the Cinque Terre or the wonderful Aquarium in Genoa. Also, on Easter Sunday Chiavari is the site of a famous antiques market, while in Rapallo an Easter egg weighing one hundred kilograms is traditionally cracked open on the seafront. On Easter Monday visitors can choose between the olive oil fair at Moneglia, a guided tour of the Portofino nature park, or the festival of the focaccia in Recco.
During the Holy Week Longardore is transformed into a representation of ancient Jerusalem. In Mantua, the ceremony of the Ostensione dei Sacri Vasi is performed on the high altar of the cathedral. Beliefs would have it that the Sacri Vasi vessels contain drops of the blood of Christ mixed with soil. In the evening the two relics are carried in a procession through the streets of the old town centre, with the procession headed by the bishop of Mantua.
At Easter time the town centre of Cagli hosts a barefoot procession of hooded members of the Catholic confraternities. In Cantiano the traditional Easter event is La Turba, involving an alternation of theatrical events and religious procession. In Fermignano a solemn Processione del Cristo Morto (Corpus Christi Procession) winds its way through the narrow streets of the town centre, illuminated only by oil-burning torches.
At Porto Recanati on the afternoon of Good Friday, an effigy of the corpse of Christ is lowered from the Cross and placed on a casket held aloft by twelve fishermen, who carry it on a procession followed by the faithful. The regional cuisine at this time of the year is especially generous: from cheese balls to the typical “fiadoni”, meat skewers, and the Easter panettone cake called "pigna".
Towns and villages, notably in the provinces of Asti and Cuneo offer a rich series of Easter celebrations in the form of events, open-air feasts and historical plays invoking daily life of bygone times. Ancient rites such as the cantè j’euv, in which groups of youths travel from one farmhouse to the next, singing, playing and asking for eggs. In Romagnano Sesia the representation of the Passion of Christ is one of the most famous in all of Italy.
The historical pageant of the Calvary of Christ is combined, as in other regions of the country, with the celebration of the Madonna in Sorrow, the "Desolata". The holy representation of the Vie Crucis procession with the flagellants is frequently exorcised by subsequent events, such as the Scoppio delle Quarantane, or burning of mock witches to celebrate the end of Lent at Ruvo di Puglia, or the Nzegna flag-waving dance and game in the town square of Carovigno. The traditional sweetmeats of the Easter period are taralli and scarcelle.
On Good Friday in Sarule, in the province of Nuoro, a celebration is held of the Deposition of Christ from the Cross, known locally as s'iscravamentu, with a holy pageant, in costume, that involves the entire local population. Easter Tuesday Iglesias hosts the procession of the sacred mysteries, in which seven effigies representing the Passion of Christ are carried in a procession around the town streets. On Easter Thursday the town hosts the procession of Our Lady of Sorrow, during which a statue of the Madonna is carried to seven churches in the symbolic search to find her Son.
Ispica still hosts an Easter tradition of mediaeval origin, during which a parade is held involving a procession of flagellants. In Aragona, the rites of the Holy Week reach their culmination with Easter Sunday and the "Meeting of the Giants" between Jesus Resurrected and the Madonna, and two huge effigies of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
The centre of Florence comes alive on Easter Sunday with the Corteo Storico parade, which starts from the deposition in Prato and proceeds up to the Piazza del Duomo. A wagon is pulled by white oxen from the square up to the cathedral. In the beautiful mediaeval town of Castiglione di Garfagnana Easter Sunday hosts the “Processione dei Crocioni”, which is both a religious celebration and a spectacular representation.
- Trentino Alto Adige
Easter time plays a particularly important role in the lives of the residents of Alto Adige. Every parish is involved in organising activities for children after the Easter mass, like the decoration of eggs followed by the search for gifts brought by the Easter bunny, while adults challenge one another in the "battle of the eggs". In Vipiteno the Easter pageants, known as “Osterspiele”, comprise a series of concerts and theatrical representations.
On Easter Sunday and Monday the atmospheric setting of the cellars of Palazzo Orca in Città della Pieve forms the venue for the enactment of tableaux vivants depicting the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. In Passignano sul Trasimeno the ancient rite of ceremonial feet-washing is revived at Easter. On Easter Thursday Piegaro hosts a unique religious procession inspired by a wooden effigy of Jesus carved in the 18th Century. On Good Friday the ancient drama of the Passion of Christ is re-enacted along the streets of the old town centre of Foligno.
- Aosta Valley
A charming Easter market is held in the centre of Aosta, while at the famous resort town of La Thuile, which lies in a hollow with the del Bulor glacier towering above it, Easter is a time for sporting events, concerts, and children's games.
In Gallio, on the Altopiano dei Sette Comuni, Easter Friday is celebrated with a large procession, during which the Cross is carried through the streets of the town, lit with lanterns and bonfires. Good Friday in Fratta Polesine is accompanied by a re-enactment of the Via Crucis and the Last Supper, with costumed actors. And here, specifically in Verona, is the home of Italy's most famous and well-loved Easter cake, the delicious colomba.
In conclusion, deciding to celebrate Easter in an agriturismo, despite having been confirmed already by many visitors, remains an original approach to a short and relaxing break, combining culture, wellness and the good life, to shake off the winter blues in the gentlest way possible.