How to Celebrate the Easter Holidays
From hours-long meals to picnics with friends, here’s how Italy spends the Easter break
Very much like Christmas, Easter is one of the most important holidays in Italy – though, unlike Christmas, you’re allowed to spend it not just with family but friends, too.
While some of the traditions around it are deeply rooted in religious beliefs, others are linked to regional customs, family histories and, of course, food. Keen to experience the long weekend like an Italian? Here are some key tips to know.
Attend Easter mass
Easter Sunday Mass is a pretty important event for churchgoers around the country, and it is usually attended by many people, especially in Rome and Vatican City. In St. Peter’s Square, the Pope delivers the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing, which is a special message of hope and peace to the world, though you’ll find holy ceremonies anywhere from tiny borghi to bigger towns. Consider joining in even just for a bit: regardless of your religious inclinations, Easter Mass offers a unique glimpse into the spiritual soul of the Bel Paese.
Eat some colomba (the cake, not the bird)
Like we’ve said before, colomba – the dove-shaped cake you see everywhere during Easter – is the holiday’s quintessential dessert, and a classic of the Easter culinary canon. Make sure to share a piece, or two, with family and friends during the Easter celebrations, then buy a whole new one for yourself to savour for the rest of the month. This sweet and oh-so delicious treat symbolises peace and hope, which makes it all the more special in our opinion – perfect to be enjoyed with your loved ones.
Join an Easter procession
Easter processions are an important part of Italian Easter, especially in the southern regions of the country. They usually take place on Good Friday and involve carrying the statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ through the streets of the town, accompanied by religious hymns and prayers. The atmosphere is solemn and emotional, and it is an experience that you should not miss.
Cook an authentic Easter lunch
Easter lunch is a big feast in Italy, and it usually involves a variety of traditional dishes that vary from region to region. In the south, lamb is the main affair, while in the centre and north options range from roasted meats to pasta dishes and savoury pies. Need some ideas on what to put on the menu? Check out our primer to the Italian Easter table. Whatever you decide to make, it’ll be delicious, and steeped in traditions.
Fill your home with Easter eggs
Easter eggs are a popular symbol of Easter in Italy, and something both adults and kids like to indulge in. Artisanal are best – we love our ISSIMO x Peyrano miniature-sized ones – though really, any kind will do, as long they’re bountiful, filled with silly surprises and brightly decorated.
Celebrate Easter Monday with a picnic
Easter Monday, also known as Pasquetta, is a public holiday in Italy, and it is usually celebrated with a picnic in the countryside or by the sea. Italians love to spend Pasquetta with friends, enjoying good food, wine, and company (the Italian lifestyle in a nutshell). To organise your own, pack some Italian specialties like prosciutto, cheese, bread, and prosecco, add some colomba and chocolate eggs for good measure, and find a nice spot in the sun. Just like an Italian.