Historical re-enactments, events celebrating the foods of past eras and charming village festivals are all part of Tuscany’s Easter traditions: spending Easter in Tuscany is a fantastic opportunity to discover authentic traditions and spend a weekend enjoying the region’s bounty.
TRADITIONS: For 350 years, every Easter Sunday in Florence, the wildly popular “Scoppio del Carro” or “Explosion of the Cart” tradition has taken place in front of the Duomo. The ceremony begins at 10am annually. The cart, loaded with fireworks, parades with flag bearers and drummers through the streets of the historic center. At 10, it arrives in front of Santa Maria del Fiore, but at 11 is when the show really starts. A flying “colombina,”—a rocket shaped like a dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit—flies out of the cathedral and ignites the cart, creating an extraordinary fireworks display.
Productions and processions inspired by the Passion story abound during the Easter season, but one of the most famous is L’Antica Giudeata in Chianciano Terme. This procession is inspired by a 17th century tradition. Over 150 costumed figures take to the town’s streets, with Roman soldiers on horseback, Christ carrying the cross, and Pontius Pilate’s court with housemaids and dignitaries. Another event worth attending is Pienza’s Processione degli Scalzi (Barefoot Procession), which takes place each Good Friday and is preceded by 12 hooded, barefoot figures carrying torches.
In Grassina, over 500 costumed figures take part in the Passion play: it’s only a 90-minute production, but it is quite powerful.
In Radicofani, the historical reconstructions begin on Maundy Thursday: after Mass, the penitence procession parades along the street, in which 12 monks take place from the Sant’Agata congregation, clothed in red capes, as well as 12 members of the Misericordia confraternity, in white capes. On Holy Friday, the procession begins from the church of San Pietro as far as the church of Sant’Agata, where the adoration of the Calvary is held in front of the beautiful altar of Andrea Della Robbia.
CELEBRATIONS: On the Monday after Easter (Pasquetta), you can enjoy the Festa del Cedro (Cedar Festival) in Bibbona, which hosts a charming little daytime market filled with typical local products. At night, head to the Palio delle Botti, a traditional barrel race through the narrow streets of the town.
FLAVOURS: Another Pasquetta celebration is held at the Hermitage of Santa Caterina in Rio nell'Elba: the Sagra della Sportella. Sportella is one of the island’s typical Easter sweets. In the past, suitors presented it to young women as a sign of long-term commitment.
In Piteglio, which is located in the mountains of the province of Pistoia, Easter Monday means getting to celebrate the Festa della Farina dolce (Festival of Sweet Flour). You’ll get to sample countless specialties made with chestnut flour, such as necci, which are similar to crepes and filled with ricotta.
Enjoy the Easter egg tradition at another exciting Pasquetta festival held in Quadalto. Quadalto is a small part of the enchanting village of Palazzuolo sul Senio. The Sagra dell’Uovo Sodo (Hard-Boiled Egg Festival) offers many fun, quirky activities beyond just food stalls filled with Easter treats. Attendees can even compete in a series of challenges involving hard-boiled eggs.