Easter in Italy
We all know that the Italians rarely fuck around. Food, fashion, going to the doctor with abandon (a story for another time). There is also very little messing around with holidays. Especially Christmas and Easter. And I fricking LOVE this. I love how they go all in.
Things in the Motherland start heating up the Sunday before. On Palm Sunday. It’s not as if we don’t celebrate in the U.S. We do for sure. But here, it’s amplified. On Palm Sunday there’s people carrying branches on repeat. Cell phone in one hand, branch in the other. Sit down for a coffee. Hold on, let me put my branch down. On the other hand, I don’t know if I’ve seen a branch on Palm Sunday in the States. We’re branchless.
This week, there’s a distinct holiday feeling in the air. Attendance at Pump Class in the today was sparse. Buona Pasqua! we called out to one another after we sweated our faces off. I walked next door to the grocery store and it was filled with Nonna’s. We all know my love for the Italian grandma. As fierce as they are tiny, they were clustered three deep today at the counter vying for acres of fresh ricotta and prosciutto. Wearing full fur coats and pearls both likely handed down generations ago, I stood watching them as they squeezed the tomatoes and clucked over the cost of fresh strawberries. I clucked along with them and then bought some for a decidedly non-Italian dessert — strawberry shortcake.
Today, Good Friday, is not just a warm up for Easter Sunday. It’s a force all its own. There’s a huge processional in town today, the biggest in the region — it’s also the oldest. La processione del Venerdì Santo (Good Friday Procession) attracts thousands of people who watch silently as congregations carry religious symbols throughout the crowd. The wooden figure of Christ and the statue of Mary weeping over him dates back to the 18th century. Whatever your religious beliefs, there’s nothing more moving than a torch lit, silent processional.
Sunday is filled with church, more processionals (see my Ischia post from last year), bright easter clothes, and food. Lots of it. I won’t be going to church. BUT I do live right by one (naturally) and I will be posted up at the bar to drink my morning cappuccino and people watch. One of my favorite past times.
Then it’s home to host family lunch. But we’re going to do less of a lunch and more of an aperitivo. Think: American Brunch served charcuterie board style with high quality Italian ingredients. Because that’s how I like to hostess. Snacks. Lots of them all arranged on wooden boards.
I’m thinking marinated olives, mozzarella di bufala and freshly baked focaccia procured from the corner store I go to several times per week. Dried figs (why not?), pistachios, and probs fresh ricotta. Then I’m also thinking deviled eggs. Because: I’m an American and, also, EVERYONE loves them. Especially Mimmo. He’s a deviled eggs fiend. Then I think I’ll round it out with plenty of good wine, maybe a spritz, and of course the strawberry shortcake.
Friends, that’s what I got going on over here this weekend and I’m sure I’ll be posting my face off on Instagram as well.
What about you guys, what are you up to? I’ve gathered the latest musing from around the web for your weekend reading.
And now I’ve started this one. I am pacing myself when all I want to do is race through it. I have a pretty healthy love of true crime. I think it started when I found a weathered copy of Ann Rule’s book Small Sacrifices sometime during high school. Reading it with abandon when I was likely supposed to be sleeping or studying for a calculus test. Ugh. Math was not my friend. But reading was, still is.
I’m not a big fan of wearing shoes in a house. And REALLY not a fan of wearing them in the bathroom (don’t step on the bathmat!) So reading this article had me washing my hands on repeat.
Ciao for Now!