Can you smell that scent in the air? That warm climate, full of expectations, the blue and still capricious skies, the blossoming flowers and blooming fields? Well yes, spring is here and it is one of the most beautiful seasons in Rome, to be enjoyed in many different ways; Walks around monuments or parks, eating outdoors, trips to the beach to enjoy the first warm sun of the year. Along with spring comes Easter, co-protagonist of the saying “Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi”, meaning “Christmas with your family, Easter with whom you wish”, a holiday that mixes tradition with greater freedom of interpretation and experience.
What are the traditions, rituals and the typical traits of a Roman Easter? Certainly of great importance are the religious rites related to two key moments: the Palm Sunday, with its processions in various districts of the city and its surroundings and Good Friday, with the Via Crucis to the Coliseum walked by the Pope in person in a context to define suggestive would be simplistic.
In addition to the religious aspect, another certainly fundamental element of Easter is the culinary one, with the unusual breakfast of Easter Sunday’s morning; not a typical breakfast by Italian standards, but rich and abundant, a surprise for you if you were to be hosted by a family that respects the traditions.
No tea, cookies, cappuccino and croissant, but, rather, the green light to a wide variety of dishes which come as a “reward” after the forty days of the “lean” Lent diet.
What is on the table? The Colomba (an Italian cake in the form of a dove), boiled eggs, painted with food colours or decorated with stickers, “Corallina”, a type of salami, a salty cheese cake, the “Pasqualina” cake made with rum, alchermes and vanillin and the inevitable Easter chocolate eggs, all of which conceal inside a surprise gift; the opening of the eggs remains one of the day’s favourite moments for the children and non.
A very rich breakfast at which you do not stop, but which is rather a prelude to Easter lunch, which has certainly nothing to envy to breakfast. So prepare yourself to eat a lot again, if you are invited to lunch at someone’s home. What is on the menu? The choices are many but usually, in honour of the ancient tradition from the region of Lazio, land of shepherds and farmers, you might taste lamb prepared in various ways (as chops, “in brodettato”, in broth with egg and lemon juice, in sauce chasseur or in the Roman way), roasted kid, artichokes in the Roman or in the Jewish style, re-grown pizza and of course desserts such as the Pastiera, of Neapolitan tradition, the Colomba and the chocolate eggs.
What do you do with the leftovers? Obviously nothing is thrown away and it can be used for Easter Monday picnics, a day traditionally dedicated to trips to the beach, or a lake, the countryside or simply to the park of one of the many villas in Rome. You can have a barbecue, eat, have fun and then simply return to normal daily life and the beautiful Roman spring days ahead.