Easter holidays in Italy, 7 events not to be missed
20 February 2023
The “Scoppio del carro” in Florence
The “Scoppio del carro”, i.e the exploding chariot, is one of the Florentine events to not miss over Easter 2023 in Tuscany. A pyrotechnic cart pulled by two pairs of oxen which is positioned between two symbolic places in the city: the Battistero di San Giovanni and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. .
The event time of the “scoppio del carro” in Florence for 2023 is one that has been respected for centuries: 11.00 on Easter Sunday, in 2023 on April 9th. How is the exploding chariot celebrated in Florence? After the Historical Procession of the Florentine Republic, the fuse of a mechanical dove, (colombina as they say in Florence), is set alight, which from the main altar of the Cathedral sets fire to the fireworks positioned on the Brindellone chariot, starting the traditional show.
The “Pasquali” event of Bormio
Where to go for Easter in Lombardy? Easy: Bormio, in the heart of the Lombardy Alps. Here, one of the most ancient Easter traditions of the peninsula takes place, which has continued to the present day, known as the Pasquali of Bormio, a competition between the districts of the city of imposing themed palanquin floats that parade along the long via Roma up to the main square of Bormio.
In ancient times it was not palanquins that were paraded, but 5 lambs festively decorated by the residents of each of the 5 historic districts of Bormio, brought to be blessed in the church of Saints Gervasio and Protasio. The tradition has evolved over the decades to become a spectacular parade of palanquin style floats that attracts thousands of tourists and visitors to Bormio every year for Easter.
The Procession of the Mysteries of Trapani
Those aiming to spend Easter in Sicily cannot miss the Procession of the Mysteries of Trapani, a tradition that has been going on for 400 years now. 18 sculptural groups and 2 simulacrums made of wood, canvas and glue by the Trapani artisan shops between the 17th and 18th centuries are carried in procession for 24 hours through the streets of Trapani.
The event begins at 14.00 on Good Friday in front of the church of the “Anime del Purgatorio” (souls in purgatory), a sacred place where the Mysteries of Trapani are kept, which represent the passion and death of Christ.
The procession moves through the historic center of Trapani for the following 24 hours, stopping at the fishing port of the city during the night, in one of the most special moments of the event. From there, at dawn, the procession gathers to return to the Baroque church amidst music and festivities.
Via Crucis in Rome
Thousands of people will spend Easter in Rome to attend one of the most important events in Italy, the Via Crucis at the Colosseum. Celebrated for the first time in 1750 at the behest of Pope Benedict XIV and scheduled this year for Friday the 7th of April 2023.
The itinerary of the Via Crucis guided by the Pontiff follows the 14 stages of Jesus' journey towards the mount of Calvary, from the condemnation of Pilate to the crucifixion, concluding with his death, the deposition from the Cross and the sepulcher. Each year the Pope chooses a general theme which will be represented in the various stations of the Via Crucis on Good Friday. The Via Crucis 2023 starts at 21.15, in front of the Colosseum.
Gardaland at Easter and Easter Monday 2023
Where to go at Easter 2023 with children? For a day of guaranteed fun for the whole family there is the Gardaland amusement park with adrenaline-pumping attractions, shows and rides even for the little ones. Gardaland is open on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday from 10.00 to 18.00.
All Gardaland attractions are open for the two days, from Jumanji to the Blue Tornado, Oblivion and Raptor. Those looking for a quieter experience can also take advantage of the opening of the SEA LIFE Aquarium, a wonderful interactive aquarium within walking distance of the main park. The large Gardaland park is located on Lake Garda, a few steps from Peschiera del Garda.
Museums open on Easter
Many museums are also open on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, although some with reduced hours.
On Easter Sunday the Royal Palace of Caserta can be visited in the morning, on Easter Monday it remains closed to the public. Almost all the museums in Rome are open on Easter Monday, as well as the archaeological areas around the capital. In Turin, on the other hand, the Egyptian Museum closes at 14.00 on the two days of celebration. In Florence, from the Uffizi to the Galleria dell'Accademia, you can spend a morning viewing the most famous works of art in the world.
Fiera dell’Angelo in Milano
If you are wondering what to do on Easter Monday in Milan, the Fiera dell'Angelo is the right answer! It’s one of the oldest Milanese Easter traditions and is celebrated in the area surrounding the Church of Sant'Angelo, on the corner of Via Moscova and Corso di Porta Nuova. It’s mostly a large flower and plant market. However it’s also possible to find clothing and household items and also regional food specialities, ethnic curiosities and handicraft products.
The Fair has ancient origins. In 1511 - a heavy year, full of disease and famine - the Franciscan friars, who lived in the nearby convent of Sant'Angelo, were attacked by bandits. Full of faith, they prayed so much that a majestic angel armed with a sword appeared and made the assailants flee. The custom of the flower market for the Sant'Angelo Fair takes its inspiration from the profession of the friars, expert gardeners and farmers.
Spending Easter in Italy means enjoying two days of celebrations where popular traditions mix with sacred events and local customs. From North to South, it is a special occasion to experience the essence of the Italian spirit up close.