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Easter in Italy
Part 3 of 5: The Holiday for Taking Holiday
Your prize is even more luxurious because you can observe Pasqua in your own special way. The other Italian saying for this season is "Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi," or "Christmas with your family, Easter with whomever you want." With this philosophy, thousands of Italians go on vacation for Holy Week. Often, they head for the mountains or the newly reopened beaches. For southern tourist spots, like Capri, Ischia, and Sicily, Easter is the start of the high season. The natives of those areas, therefore, can't take a holiday; they're just going back to work after the long winter. It's literally like they're coming out of hibernation - one by one, the bears come outside again and island life resumes. Inside yourself, you'll feel their relief and peace. And that will help you work up an appetite.
Wherever Italians go, they make food the star of the show. In 2003, during one of my best Easters in Italy, I celebrated with my cousins in a party room that they built on a small piece of property overlooking Maronti, Ischia's largest and most popular beach. It was the only day during that stay that was overcast. Every once in a while, soft drops of rain would make my face dewy. When the water works stopped, my cousin Gigino cooked rabbit and lamb over a fire he made with some scraps of paper and dried branches. Heightening my senses, that smoky, flavorful meat and a swig of the much more bubbly Italian Coca-Cola lingered on my taste buds. I can almost taste it again now.
Truly, tables all over Italy - from Naples to Milan - overflow with hard boiled eggs, antipasto that includes dry sausage and fresh cheese, pasta, and of course lamb, which is the centerpiece of the holiday. Popular Easter desserts vary by region but include the wheat pie pastiera, the spaghetti cake migliaccio, and colomba, a dove-shaped cake with icing and almonds.
Part 1: A Spiritual Experience
Part 2: A Religious Experience
Part 3: The Holiday for Taking Holiday
Part 4: Egg-stra Special
Part 5: The Next Day
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