Easter Traditions in Italy

Holiday traditions around the world vary from country to country, and region to region. Many of us will be celebrating Easter this Sunday with our own unique traditions. We are so lucky that our Maria Pia L. from Rome took a few minutes to share some Italian Easter traditions with us. Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca may have Easter traditions of their own too.  Guys what about it?  How do you celebrate Easter in Marsala, Montepagano and Naro?  We’d love to know!

Maria Pia says, “This is the Holy Week and all we Roman Catholics are preparing for the Easter Sunday. As you know, for us Easter is the most important event as it represents the Christ’s resurrection.

Here we’ve the habit of exchanging Easter eggs in chocolate, preparing hard-boiled eggs to be colored and decorated in various ways, and of course, preparing a lot of food and a lot of candies that vary from region to region.

But there is a candy which is famous throughout Italy i.e. the COLOMBA PASQUALE (EASTER DOVE). It identifies Easter as the PANETTONE identifies XMAS.”  Thank you, Maria Pia!

UPDATE: Just in case we do not hear from Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca on their Easter traditions, Maria Pia, whose father was from Abruzzo added this, “Well, I don’t know what the Sicilian [traditions] are, but I can say on Gianluca’s behalf which is the Easter breakfast in Abruzzo, as my father was from there.

On Easter Sunday the table is set with a beautiful tablecloth and there you put the breakfast cups, a particular cake,  made only at Easter, and made of eggs, flour, butter, baking powder and grated “pecorino” (a  tasty cheese typical of central and South Italy), then salami, hard-boiled eggs, other candies and wine. And this is just the prelude to a wonderful lunch.    

As you can see here in Italy every occasione is good to eat and to stay with relatives and friends.”

Maria Pia, Thank you so much for this update! I see that my family still carries Italian genes – as we definitely  take every “occasione ” to eat and spend time with family and friends!  We spend a lot of time talking about eating too!   Happy Easter to all!   I am so excited you all are enjoying this post!  Michele

 Italian Easter treats from the Internet

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More from the web!  I found “Easter in Italy: Traditions and Calendar of Events” from Monteverdi LLC’s Daniele S. Longo of the Chief Marketing Office, Monteverdi Tuscany interesting, I hope you enjoy it too.   Michele

Easter in Italy: Traditions and Calendar of Events

The weeks before and after Easter represent a very special time of the year for all Italians. Many cities and villages host ceremonies and events whose origins can be traced back to hundreds or thousands of years while people prepare meals based on “secret” family recipes handed over from generation to generation.

For all Italians, Easter “week-end” begins on Thursday. I remember being a young child scouting for leaves and colorful flowers in my neighbors’ gardens. As from tradition, all churches designed elaborate sketches nearby the main altar. Each drawing, representing a special scene of Jesus Christ’s life, was “colored” with flowers or leaves—petal by petal, leaf by leaf. Petals could not be colored so the children had to scout for specific colors needed to complete the artwork. The deadline was always the 6:00 p.m. mass and I remember that many times we were finishing the “tappeto di fiori” (carpet) or “sepolcro” (tumb) while churchgoers were reciting the rosary, just a few minutes before mass began. Tradition asks that after attending mass, people visit at least three or more churches between Good Thursday and Good Friday, always being careful to visit an odd number of them.

The most emotional celebrations and events usually happen on Good Friday when many cities host ceremonies recalling events related to the Passion of Christ and when priests bless homes and buildings. If you happen to be at Monteverdi during Easter week, make sure you visit the cities nearby. In Pienza, just a few miles from Monteverdi Tuscany and Castiglioncello del Trinoro, a religious procession (“La Processione degli Scalzi”) showcases a statue of “Cristo morto” (dead Christ) along the main streets and squares. Twelve hooded and shoeless people holding candles open the procession and a band plays sacred songs. on the same day, in Chianciano, people dressed up in traditional historical costumes (Roman soldiers, Ponzio Pilato, the Holy Women, Erode’s entourage …) accompany the statue of Christ and the Virgin Mary in their journey around the city. The procession, called “La Giudeata di Chianciano,” is a tradition dating back to the 17th Century. Interestingly, all of churches’ bells get fastened on Friday and no bells will ring until the Resurrection of Christ. Also during this time, you should not bow nearby a church’s altar. (This is the only exception during the entire year!) When I was a child I was told, “Jesus is not home right now. He shall be back soon.”

Holy Saturday is a very “quiet” day. Italians spend most of the time with their children getting ready for Easter and mostly cooking. Each region has its own typical set of traditional Easter dishes. However, lamb, “Colomba di Pasqua” (Easter dove), and Easter eggs make the list of almost every household’s Easter meal. The day ends usually at church with a long and elaborate evening mass. At midnight, all the bells are “released” to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ.


Easter Sunday and Monday are all dedicated to family events and elaborate meals. On Easter Monday, Italians celebrate the discovery by the Holy Women that Jesus is no longer in his grave. I am not sure who and when the tradition started, but on that day, you won’t find most Italians at home. We all scout for isolated and remote places to go (i.e. mountains, lakes, countryside …). However, as there is a limited supply of remote places to go, we all end up meeting our family members and friends somewhere.

If you are looking for a place to go to during Easter week-end, come and join us at Caffé Monteverdi in Castiglioncello del Trinoro, Siena. Take time to tour the village, enjoy a breathtaking view of the Val d’Orcia and learn about our villas and the upcoming pool and hotel.

Buona Pasqua
Daniele S. Longo
Chief Marketing Office, Monteverdi Tuscany

More  Easter Traditions in Italy

– What to Eat in Italy on Easter Sunday

– Easter Recipes: Colomba Pasquale Cake

– Easter in Italy

– kucinare.it


23 thoughts on “Easter Traditions in Italy”

  1. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read today’s blog – with thoughts of my parents who from Sicily. As I studied my Italian lesson for today – I wondered why I didn’t appreciate my heritage as I was growing up. As I struggle to conjugate verbs such as bevo, legge, scrive. Also, we walked to nine (9) churches in New Orleans on Good Friday, beginning with St. Louis Cathedral (and a stop at Morning Call for coffee and doughnuts), then Jesuit Church on Baronne St., and the ones on Canal St., before returning to our parish church St. Rose de Lima for Mass. It was easy to locate nine churches between Esplanade Ave and Canal St. We also walked to the movies (Gone with the Wind) – I remember it well. I relocated to Athens, Ga., after Hurricane Katrina – Beautiful memories thanks to the Il Volo Flight Crew – wonder what it would be like to meet and greet you – such like-minded people. Happy Easter to all!

  2. Wow Michele that was a wonderful tour of Italy Abruzzi & the other Italian cities & the information of Easter celebrations in Italy. I’ll take the holiday on a private island. I’ll think I’ll trying winning that trip. I’m sure if I tried all the the food that was mentioned that I would put on at least 30 pounds. Thanks again Michele & Marie Pia for all your hard work

  3. Michele— Thank you so much for your usual superb job of research and info on Italian Easter. I enjoyed the whole presentation and it really makes me long to spend the Easter holidays somewhere in Italy….Tuscany, I think, if not Abruzzo!!! The Spring season in every part of Italy must be spectacular! Adored all the scenic pictures!!

  4. Thanks for sharing this Michele! The Italians make such colorful and yummy looking pastry! Spaghetti and pastry, if I lived there I would weigh 500 pounds!

    I have seen the “La Giudeata di Chianciano” procession on TV. A very solemn and traditional ritual.

  5. I truly love everything I read on this site, and today’s blog was no exception. Thank you for the research and the details of what Easter is like in Italy. It brought back so many memories of my youth here in the US.

    1. I like Marie, was taken back in time… So many of the traditions were what we did growing up… Easter was very special… It started with Palm Sunday… I remember my Grand Father weaving crosses with the palms that we were given in church… Then my mother would be cooking and baking all week… I see the Easter bread with the colored eggs in it and it brought tears to my eyes as well… So many traditions have gone by the wayside when our parents or grandparents from Italy are gone… I thank you for this blog, it not only brought back beautiful memories but made me remember that our culture is full of so many wonderful things, and I am proud to be of Italian heritage…
      Thank you once again and Happy Easter to all who celebrate it…

      1. Thank you all so much! We are so happy to have you here! I know you all are crying tears of joy! Please be happy!

  6. Thanks Michele for the wonderful look at Italian Easter. Many beautiful traditions. Although, not Italian, I have fond memories of our family’s Easter traditions. Thanks again!

  7. PS – Now I know why the neighbors congregated at our home at Easter – it was all the traditions mentioned above that are so inviting.

  8. Beautifully done! When I read these wonderful articles about a part of the world I may never get to…I feel a little closer to it. Thank you so very much. Easter Blessings to all!

    1. Thank you! Isn’t the Internet wonderful! We can travel so many places and learn so many things – that we might never have without it!

  9. Michele,
    Thank you for another wonderful article. It really makes me want to be in Italy for Easter.

    Happy Easter to All!

  10. It’s nice to learn about these Easter traditions and I enjoy the mini tours and foods of Italy from the links. Thanks Michele.

    Gianluca, Piero, Ignazio, hope you will have a great time celebrating Easter with your friends and family. Although I am no where near Miami next week, it’s still nice to know we are in the same continent. Enjoy the taping and good luck at the Latin Billboard award. You are my winners. Love you guys.

    1. Thank you Elaine, my background is education, so it makes me happy to hear you are enjoying learning new things about Italy – how could there be a more interesting subject!

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