Spending Easter in Italy will more than fill your basket

Italian Easter…

April 24th 2011 – Chieti in the Abruzzo region is believed to have the oldest Good Friday (pre-Easter) Procession in Italy. A highlight being ‘Selecchi’s Miserer’ played by 100 violins!

The Easter Sunday tradition in Florence dates back to 1679. It is a pageant lead by an elaborate multi-storied wooden wagon drawn by a team of white oxen adorned by floral garlands. The procession ends in front of Bascilica di S. Maria del Fiore and after the mid-day mass, the Archbishop ritualistically lights a dove shaped rocket that ignites decorated wagon now in the center of the piazza, setting off spectacular fireworks and loud explosions, which ensure a good harvest!

Let me know what you’re looking for and I can make all your arrangements.  Let me set up a daily chef service in your villa and activities around the region like winery tours, concerts and much more.  Just contact me at 503.546.1058 – direct, 866.297.1058 – toll free or Email: CLamont@peaktravel.com to discuss your travel needs.

In my last post I offered a special deal for the Easter holiday, but there are many places in Italy to experience this spiritual holiday.  Here are a few of my top rated rental villas near Florence.  There are many other options too.

Poggio Canale, San Casciano, Florence
An elegant country home overlooking Florentine wine estates, sleep 6-8.

In the countryside where the historic noble families of Florence built large estates to feed their households and provide themselves with elegant summer residences, Poggio Canale upholds tradition on a smaller scale. The new owners of this 500-year-old country house may no longer cultivate the land, but they have taken its renovation to heart and, with obvious pleasure and good taste, sought out local artisans and… REAM MORE

Poggio Capponi, Montelupo, Montespertoli, Florence
Apartments on a Chianti wine growing estate southwest of Florence, sleeps 27.

The beautiful farm of Poggio Capponi dominates a hill in Chianti, south west of Florence. The 500-hectare estate, which specialises in very fine wines and extra virgin olive oil, enjoys very impressive hill views of vineyards, olives, cornfields, forests and castles. There is a small antique car museum within the property. Two apartments are within the main farm villa, and four others are in a nearby hamlet on the same estate. Guests share the swimming pool and… READ MORE.

Ausilia, Montelupo, Montespertoli, FIorence
Apartments on a Chianti wine growing estate southwest of Florence, sleeps 2-4.

This lovely ground floor apartment is entered through a glass door under the large arch in front of the house. There is a kitchen/ living room, a twin bedroom with wrought iron bedsteads, a double bedroom and a shower room. A private outdoor sitting area is at the side of the apartment… READ MORE.

Here’s a great article from italylogue.com…

– by Jessica | April 7th, 2009  

If you’re traveling in Italy at Easter and you’re expecting an Easter Bunny that just happens to speak Italian, you’re going to be a little disappointed. No, there’s no Italian Easter Bunny. There are, however, plenty of festivities. Easter in Italy is an incredibly important holiday – makes sense, what with the Roman Catholic Church being headquartered here and all – and the Monday following Easter is equally as important. The whole week preceding Easter, in fact, is a great time to be traveling through Italy, provided you can tolerate crowds and traffic jams, that is.

Easter in Italian is “Pasqua,” and it’s a time of… READ MORE.

Easter Food:
Since Easter is the end of the Lent Season, during which fasting is commonly practiced, food plays a big part in the celebrations. Traditional Italian Easter foods include lamb or goat, artichokes, and special Easter breads that vary from region to region. Pannetone and la colomba (the dove) breads are often given as gifts, as are hollow chocolate eggs beautifully wrapped and often with a surprise inside.

A traditional Easter recipe:
There are many legends surrounding la colomba (the dove). One of the most famous says just after Easter, during the Battle of Legnano, the Milanese who were fighting Barbarossa saw the battle turn in their favor just as three doves flew up from the church steps. The story goes, since that time the Milanese have celebrated the event by eating dove-shaped cakes. Everywhere in the world la colomba is synonymous with good news and provides a joyful end to the Easter meal. Another, much shorter version of the story is about a cake in the shape of a dove that was offered to try to end a siege in the Italian town of Pavia.

Ingredients: flour, butter, egg yolks, sugar, orange zest, almonds and milk.

1/2 cake compressed yeast or 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
5 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup almond paste
2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shredded blanched almonds

How to make La Colomba: In a small bowl mix the yeast with the 3 tablespoons warm water and the brown sugar. Leave for 10 minutes until frothy. Bring the milk to the boil, remove from the heat and add the butter or margarine, sugar, lemon rind and vanilla extract. Stir well to melt the butter and then leave to cool to lukewarm.
When the butter mixture has cooled, stir in the yeast liquid and the 6 egg yolks and beat well. Gradually beat in three-quarters of the flour and the salt, or enough flour to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the remaining flour. Knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and satiny. Form the dough into a ball, put it into a greased plastic bag and let rise in a warm place for about I 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in size. Punch down the risen dough on a floured surface, knead until smooth and then divide it into 2 pieces.
Roll out half the dough into an oval about 5 inches by 11 inches and lay across the width of a buttered 13x 15-inch baking sheet. Roll out the remaining dough to a triangle 5 inches wide at the base and 12 inches long. Arrange this triangle over the oval to form a cross. Hold the triangle at the center and twist it once, to form the body of a dove. Pinch the dough about 3inchesibelow the top of the triangle to form the dove’s neck and head. Elongate the tip to form the beak. With the blunt edge of a knife score the tail and wings to simulate feathers.
If liked, make an almond paste topping by creaming together the almond paste with one of the egg whites and 3 tablespoons sugar then spread it thickly over the wings and tail of the dove. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place to increase its bulk a little -do not over-rise at this stage or it will lose its shape during baking. Brush the surface of the dove with the remaining egg white, lightly beaten, and sprinkle the wings with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and the almonds, if liked. Bake the bread in a moderate oven (325°F) for 40-50 minutes or until it is browned.
Transfer the bread carefully to cake racks and leave to cool.
Serve the bread warm.

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