Spend the long Easter 2013 weekend (Friday March 29th – Monday April1st) and Easter holidays in Tuscany in Chianti in the charming boutique country hotel Villa le Barone.
You will enjoy the first days of spring, with the blossoming trees and the spring flowers: tulips daffodils, wisterias… You will discover the traditional festivals and events, and you will taste the local dishes prepared in the Tuscan culinary traditions of Easter.
Easter Sunday, the most important feast of the Catholic Church, falls the first Sunday following the first full moon of spring. It thus occurs at various dates of the Gregorian calendar between March 22 and April 25. In 2013, it will be March 30 and Villa le Barone will therefore fully open Friday, March 28 … but some rooms will be available the previous days.
Many ancient pagan customs related to the return of spring are still today associated with Easter. In Christian countries, the Easter egg is the favorite gift on Easter Day. The egg is the symbol of germination, rebirth and life. The tradition of giving eggs dates back to antiquity: the Egyptians and the Romans already offered painted eggs in spring. During the Pharaonic era, wishes were written on colored eggs, they were put as an offering in baskets to get blessings from Ra, the god of Sun. Villa le Barone’s guests will also receive a nice chocolate egg at breakfast as a gift and children will be able to enjoy the traditional egg hunt in Villa le Barone‘s garden! Another symbol of Easter are the bells. Of course you’ll hear them and see them ringing in the bell tower of the San Leolino church on Easter morning. Finally, hares and rabbits, symbols of fertility are also associated with Easter and if you get up early, you may be able to see a hare running in our property!
Easter holidays in Tuscany are always rich in traditional events which date back hundreds of years. They differ from city to city and from village to village. Let’s describe some of them taking place around Villa le Barone.
In Panzano in Chianti, a hamlet of Greve in Chianti, the traditions are similar to those of Florence, where the ” Scoppio del Carro ” lit by a mechanical dove takes place on Easter morning. At the church of San Leolino, at walking distance from the Villa Barone, the “Volo della Colombina” happens on Good Friday, after the Easter Vigil: the priest lights a little dove-shaped rocket carrying in its beak an olive branch, the rocket goes down along a wire to the hamlet and ignites anothe rocket in charge of bringing the dove back to the church. If all goes well, the year will be good, if the dove cannot come back it is rather a bad omen! In the village of Panzano, at 15 minutes walk from the Villa Barone, the flight of the dove takes place in the afternoon of Tuesday after Easter, but the tradition is similar. The dove reaches a basket full of fireworks on the place of the old town and sets it on fire: colorful reels and colorful pyrotechnicbouquets guaranteed! A costumed parade ends the event.
In Grassina, between Panzano and Florence, 30 minutes away from the Villa le Barone, the traditional Historical re-enactment of the Passion of Christ takes place on Good Friday. This is a great performance, which includes a historical procession through the streets of the town, with the participation of about 500 people in ancient costume and scenes of the Passion of Jesus on Calvary interpreted by nearly 100 actors.
In Greve in Chianti, the famous triangular square where you can admire the statue of Verrazzano, a flea market is held on Easter Monday, a holiday called “Pasquetta” in Italian. You can stroll through the many paintings, objects and antiques, haggle and discuss with humorous Tuscan, even without buying anything !
Easter holidays have also their gastronomic traditions, and on the evening of Easter Sunday our Tuscan cooks will prepare for Villa le Barone’s guests the traditional Easter lamb, accompanied by delicious beans! The “torta Pasqualina”, made with ricotta, spinach and eggs will also be served and finally, for desert, there will be the “Colomba”, the delicious dove-shaped Easter cake and symbol of good news, peace and joy!