CONTENTS
EASTER IN ITALY
EASTER SPECIALS
Buongiorno,

This year it seems that Spring is dragging it's heels and is taking an eternity to finally arrive! In Italy the weather is beginning to warm up as the Easter holidays approach. For the majority of Italians, Easter is the most important religious holiday, even more so than Christmas!

Many thousands of Italian and overseas visitors congregate in the Vatican City to hear the Popes Easter message which is especially significant this year as it will be the first Easter message from the recently elected Pope Francis and the crowds are anticipated to be larger than usual. Whatever your religious beliefs, Easter is a fabulous time to be in Italy.

Our English To Tuscany Facebook page continues to grow (4000+) and on Twitter (@ToTuscany), we were delighted to achieve 1000 followers recently. If you havent already joined us on these social media websites, do visit our pages and join us to get tips and current information on the region.

As always, please feel free to let me know any suggestions for items you would like us to cover in our newsletters.

Dympna

dympna@to-tuscany.com

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EASTER IN ITALY

The weeks leading up to the long Easter weekend are subdued as people observe the traditional fasting period of Lent. Just prior to the weekend of Easter, traditional food fairs take place selling Easter breads and cakes in preparation for the festivities.


Good Friday (29th March) brings people to the streets to watch the many parades depicting the Stations of the Cross: re-enacting Christ's walk to Cavalry Hill with his cross. The participants of the walk wear costumes of the time - near the Duomo in Siena is a good place to watch one of these re-enactments.


Easter Saturday (30th March) sees the priests in the many towns and villages visit local homes and businesses to bless them for the coming year with holy water. Easter Eve is celebrated by a midnight mass - the Duomo in Siena starts filling up from 23.00.

Easter Sunday (31
st March) is time for celebration as this is believed to be the day of the Resurrection of Jesus. In Italy the celebrations for this day are mixed with pagan traditions for celebrating the coming of Spring and the forthcoming harvest. The most famous celebrations on Easter Sunday (outside of Vatican City) take place in Florence where the Archbishop is responsible for the "Scoppio del Carro" - the explosion of the cart. This is a tradition which dates back over 300 years; the Archbishop fires a 'dove' (electronic) across the square into an ornate cart packed with fireworks. A big explosion is seen as an indication of a good harvest!

Scoppio del Carro, Florence
Scoppio del Carro, Florence

Easter Monday or Little Easter, Pasquetta (1st April) is a day for the Italians to gather together with their family and celebrate with good food, Easter breads and a special almond cake called La Colomba, which is shaped like a dove and covered in white icing. On Easter Monday the town of Tredozio holds the festival Pallio dell'Uovo - the racing of the eggs, and in Barano d'Ischia a traditional dance called the Festa della Ndrezzata takes place.

Traditional Easter meals usually contain Lamb and, or eggs although there are many regional variations. Eggs represent life, fertility and renewal, all of which are essential symbols of Easter. Eggs are often found in soups and in a traditional Easter pie (Torta Pasqualina). Roasted lamb is a symbol of birth and the Shepherd and is a traditional main course. Dyed eggs are used as decorations and decorated chocolate eggs are a traditional Easter treat and gift! Chocolate eggs are a symbol of Easter even for non religious people. Every cake shop produces their own handmade eggs, inside each egg is hidden a small gift.

EASTER SPECIALS!

If you are looking for a last minute escape for Easter, we can offer you any day arrival to our properties which means you can take advantage of the cheapest air fares available to you! With some of our properties already offering special prices, what's stopping you?

All our special offers can be found on the special offers link, click here:

If its a romantic getaway you are after, Rampa di Fugnano is a pretty cottage for 2 people with views of the beautiful town of San Gimignano, you could be staying here for just over 300 each:



For a few couples wishing to travel together, how about Casino di Vescine? Sleeping up to 8 people in 4 bedrooms, the villa has great access to all the main sights of Tuscany. A 25% discount means you could be staying for just 164 GBP per person (when 8 are staying)



For anyone wishing to maintain their fitness levels whilst still enjoying the delights of Tuscany, how about a villa with a tennis court as well as a swimming pool? Villa Alessandra is within walking distance of restaurants and a supermarket and sleeps between 10-12 people. This could be yours for Easter for just 145 (based on 10 of your travelling)


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We hope that you have enjoyed reading our newsletter and we look forward to helping you enjoy the 2013 season.