Easter in Italy. Why Le Marche Does Easter Beautifully.
Easter in Italy is of course about religion, but also a celebration for family and friends. Pasqua (Easter Sunday) is for families, whereas Pasquetta (Easter Monday) is a huge friends-fest. Here are some of our favourite elaborate events you will witness if you visit Le Marche during Pasqua.
Easter Holidays in Italy
Venerdi Santo (Good Friday)
Re-enactments of the crucifixion takes place on Venerdi Santo (Good Friday), and many towns see a procession of Christ on the cross being carried through the streets. Good Friday is not a public holiday in Italy, as it’s a day for solemn reflection, not a celebration. It’s not unusual to see crosses in churches covered in a black cloth.
“La Turba di Cantiano”, held in the town of Cantiano (in the province of Pesaro and Urbino), features a huge procession of Roman Soldiers arriving on horse back to the piazza in the centre of town, where the Passion of Christ is re-enacted. Running throughout the entire afternoon, this impressive spectacle culminates at around 11pm with Christ’s Resurrection.
“La Morte del Giusto” in Loreto (in the province of Ancona) is another fantastic re-enactment of the Passion of Christ (where Jesus made his entry into Jerusalem before being crucified), which involve hundreds of participants dressed in period costume. The sounds of chants, music and drums are in the air and the streets lit with lanterns and fire-torches.
In Cagli (in Pesaro & Urbino), another unmissable procession takes place, where over 350 barefooted, cloaked & hooded men walk barefoot through the town to the rhythm of a music called “Passio”, carrying statues and lit only with torches. This ritual has not changed since the sixteenth century.
Easter Events in Le Marche
Pasqua (Easter Sunday)
Pasqua is more of a lively, celebratory affair. Many towns across Le Marche holds its own colourful procession with performances depicting the resurrection of Christ. Statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary are paraded through the streets while jovial participants dressed in ancient costume carry olive branches and sing religious songs. A long mass is held and then it’s time for Easter food!
Special breads are enjoyed in Le Marche on Sunday morning. Torta Brusca, sometimes called Crescia di Pasqua is a savory bread made with Pecorino cheese, and is delicious.
A Marche speciality, “Cappelletti con Ragu” is served as antipasti, and some still eat this for breakfast. Meaning “little hats”, the pasta is shaped into tiny hats and stuffed with chicken, veal and pork.
Traditionally the main dish of the Easter meal consists of lamb, while eggs (symbolizing rebirth) are eaten as chocolates or as decorated boiled eggs.
Colomba cake is served for dessert – a bread much like Panettone but with sweet orange peel and topped with sugar and almonds. Colomba, meaning dove, is shaped like a dove and what better way to end Easter than with this symbol of peace?
Easter Monday is a public holiday in Italy and usually spent with friends. Lunches are long and are usually taken in the countryside, with huge groups of friends and family feasting on lamb for the entire afternoon.