Easter in Tuscany, where to go and what to see
Easter in Tuscany is great as such as in the other Italian regions. As a Catholic country, often the folklore in Italy is strongly linked to religion and Easter is a joyful celebration especially because it happens in Spring, when the temperatures are mild and flowers and trees are in blossom. In fact, one way we usually spend the Easter Monday is enjoying picnics in the countryside, near rivers or at the beach.
If you’re planning to spend your Easter in Tuscany I want to share with you some infos about suggestive events. Of course, this list is not even close to be complete, but it may inspire you.
Easter Processions in Tuscany
As in other Italian areas, in Tuscany it is possible to participate in processions that depict the last hours of Jesus’ life.
In Castiglione di Garfagnana, near Lucca, on the evening of Holy Thursday takes place the Processione dei Crocioni.
A hooded man, dressed up as Jesus, walks through the narrow streets of this small village. He walks barefoot, with heavy chains around his ankles, carrying a huge wooden cross on his shoulders. He is guided by other dressed up men while the people on the roadsides silently look at him.
Nobody in town knows who the man is.
The darkness, the sound of the drummer and the medieval town around make the this procession one of the most suggestive.
A similar procession, called Antica Giudeata, is held in Chianciano Terme. The difference with the Processione dei Crocioni is that the Antica Giudeata looks like a real theatrical show, with more than 150 dressed up people, music and lights.
In my opinion is less evocative than the one in Castiglione della Garfagna, but it is undoubtedly more surprising.
I have already written about Pienza. In this lovely town a traditional procession takes place on the evening of Good Friday. This event is organized by the ancient Scalzi brotherhood.
Twelve Scalzi hooded men walk barefoot with torches throughout the streets. The procession starts and ends in front of the Cathedral and is usually accompanied by a band.
Easter in Florence
Since Florence is the most popular tourist destination in Tuscany, I think it is a good idea to tell you something about the main Easter event in the city, the Explosion of the Cart.
The Explosion of the Cart is a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages when a young member of the noble Pazzi family came back from the First Crusade, taking with him three flints from the Holy Sepulcher that he received for his courage. These flints are now treasured in the Church of SS. Apostoli.
The Cart is a 9 mt high decorated wagon that was built over 500 years ago! The wagon is loaded with fireworks and a wire connects it to the altar inside the Cathedral.
On Easter Day the three flints are used to lit a fire. The Archbishop uses the fire to light a dove–shaped rocket that flies down the wire from the altar to the Cart outside the Church. Once they collide, the fireworks on the Cart are ignited creating a joyful confusion of smoke and noise!
If all of the fireworks go off, then good luck is ensured.
During your Easter in Tuscany you can taste many traditional dishes.
The colorfully wrapped chocolate eggs are one of the most typical products you can find in Italy in this moment of the year. The eggs can be big or small, expensive or cheap, made of plain chocolate or enriched with other ingredients, but they always have a surprise inside. For this reason they are particularly appreciated by kids, but adults too usually indulge in this treat!
Remember that Easter Monday is national holiday here in Italy. However, many museums are open.