The spring season has arrived and with it also the rays of the warm sun, blooms and Easter. In every corner of the world, Easter has its ancient traditions and rituals and on Amalfi Coast the tradition becomes an explosion of flavors, scents, conviviality, and Catholic experiences to live in the warmth of your own town and home.
Mainly this year, without weddings and holidays, its cultural, religious, and culinary traditions could be more appreciated!
Easter is a symbol of liberation, renaissance and hope to be celebrated; so let us share with you some of its religious and culinary traditions highlights on the Amalfi Coast!
Good Friday and Via Crucis Processions
Easter is known for its historic religious processions featuring solemn hooded figures who silently walk the streets on the Thursday and Friday before Easter Sunday in a huge number of towns on Amalfi and Sorrento Coast.
This is an ancient custom dating from the 1300s, and very important to the local culture; participants generally pass the tradition of the procession from father to son.
One of the most distinctive processions that take place on Good Friday is called the Via Crucis, which is a solemn procession following the stations of the cross. It takes place in most towns along the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento on Good Friday, except in Ravello where it usually happens on Palm Sunday – the week before Easter.
In Amalfi, this incredibly moving procession takes place after dark. The lights in the town’s main square are turned off as the candle-lit procession exits the Duomo of Amalfi. Many churches have a statue of dead Jesus lying on a bed, after having been taken down from the cross, which is carried in this procession. Just behind it, is carried a statue of Maria Addolorata, Our Lady of Sorrows. The two statues that are used in Amalfi’s procession are on display throughout the year in the nave of the church. If you are traveling on the Amalfi Coast for Easter, try not to miss seeing the Via Crucis procession as it’s a remarkable experience!
After Easter Sunday mass, it’s time for lunch! This is usually quite a rich meal, with each course featuring the types of foods traditionally avoided during Lent. While the menu varies from family to family, there are some traditional dishes that show up on most tables.
Often lunch starts off with an antipasto of ricotta salata, mozzarella and provola cheeses along with slices of soppressata, a cured salami. This is usually served along with hard boiled eggs cut in half and casatiello, a special type of savory bread made at Easter with lard, salami, cheese, and often baked with eggs on top. And that’s just the antipasto!
Next comes a heathy dose of vegetables in the form of minestra maritata, a soup made with seasonal leafy green veggies and meat. Lots of meat. Another great option is the typical Italian lasagna, absolutely delicious!
After this, here comes the second course, which is traditionally lamb. However, some families replace the lamb with a roast or different type of second course. At this point, most people are already thinking if they saved room for dessert. I hope you did! As there is plenty choice on that!
One of the most classic in the Amalfi Coast area is the Neapolitan pastiera. It just wouldn’t be Pasqua without a pastiera! Another traditional and colorful dessert called the sweet casatiello often graces the table. This liquor infused cake is covered with white icing, sprinkles, meringue, candy, and sometimes even a lamb crafted from marzipan.
The traditional Colomba di Pasqua is popular throughout Italy, and is a classic dessert after the Easter lunch. Similar to the panettone served at Christmas, this bread includes candied citrus peel and is topped with almonds and pearl sugar. What makes it so distinctive for Easter is that it is shaped like a dove since colomba means dove in Italian.
Now you’re ready for the finishing touch on every Easter lunch: chocolate eggs! And we’re not talking about the teeny tiny little chocolate eggs you find in America. Nope, when it comes to chocolate Easter eggs in Italy, it’s definitely “go big or go home”. These giant chocolate eggs are hollow and when cracked open reveal a surprise inside. It’s a lot of fun opening the giant eggs around the table to see what is inside!
In Italy, Easter celebration doesn’t end on Sunday, but instead extends through the following day, which is called Pasquetta, or Little Easter. What do you do after such a big meal the previous day? Take a walk!
Pasquetta, indeed, is a day traditionally spent outdoors celebrating the spring weather with family and friends. But, of course, food is involved, too! That’s where the leftovers from Sunday lunch come in handy. Leftover hardboiled eggs, soppressata, the rich casatiello bread, or perhaps a frittata are very popular options. With so many beautiful hiking spots, the Amalfi Coast is an incredible setting for enjoying your Pasquetta.
So, it's time to lay your tables with pastel-colored tablecloths, tulips and lots of tasty food to celebrate Easter in any part of the world with LOVE.
From all of us of Mr and Mrs wedding in Italy, a very happy Easter celebration to everybody!
If you want to plan your Easter holidays in Italy or any other special event on the Amalfi Coast, we're here to help, just get in touch!