What to do for Easter and Easter Monday in Tuscany
All the most beautiful traditions not to be missed
From the spectacular Explosion of the Chariot in Florence to the blessing of the sea in Porto Santo Stefano. Here are all the Easter traditions that make Holy Week in Tuscany special.
If, on the other hand, you prefer to stay in Florence, here are all our tips on how best to spend it in the city. While here you will find the best restaurants to book near Florence for an Easter or Easter Monday.
On Easter Sunday, 9 April, as per tradition, the city of Florence celebrates with the Scoppio del Carro. This is an unmissable event that starts at 8.15 a.m. from Porta al Parto with the departure of the Brindellone followed by a representation of the Florentine Republic to head towards Piazza Duomo. The event goes through the streets of the historical centre and also includes a performance by the Bandierai degli Uffizi. The real moment of the bursting takes place around 11 a.m. when the archbishop lights a rocket in the shape of a dove that from the central nave of the Duomo reaches the float outside, setting off the fireworks inside. It is a good omen that the rocket, called a 'colombina', returns after the burst, ensuring prosperity for the city and abundance for the crops.
PASSION RE-ENACTMENT AT GRASSINA
The historic event in Grassina (in the province of Florence) returns on Good Friday, 7 April, which re-enacts the Way of the Cross. The popular event in which the whole town participates is divided into two important moments: the historical procession (starting at 9.15 p.m. from Piazza Umberto I) with costumes from the Roman era, followed by scenes from the life of Jesus on the hill of Mezzosso. Starting from the birth, the life of Jesus is retraced, and just before the crucifixion, the procession enters the scene arriving from the village and becoming an active part of the performance. The event ends at 11.45pm. On the day, there is a craft market in the square, guided tours of the area's monuments, trekking and much more.
THE ANCIENT JUDEATA OF CHIANCIANO TERME
For the past thirty-six years, Good Friday in the historic centre of Chianciano Terme has seen the Judeata, an ancient tradition rooted in 17th-century sacred representations. The Giudeata consists of about 150 participants in historical costumes representing Roman soldiers on horseback, Christ carrying the cross to Calvary, the Madonna and the Pious Women, followed by the group of Senators and Herod's court. The procession departs at 9.30 p.m. from the Church of the Compagnia.
THE CROCIONI OF CASTIGLIONE DI GARFAGNANA
The Processione de' Crocioni di Castiglione di Garfagnana (Procession of the Crosses of Castiglione di Garfagnana) is held after the Holy Thursday mass when the faithful, leaving the church, follow through the streets of the village a man interpreting Christ with chains on his feet, his face covered and a large cross on his shoulders. Along the way, Christ faces three falls announced by the roll of drums: on the parvis of San Pietro, Torricella and the Porta del Ponte Levatoio. No one knows the identity of the chosen one, except the prior of the confraternity.
THE DARK PROCESSION OF RADICOFANI
Also on Maundy Thursday in Radicofani, barefoot men - hooded men - carry a massive cross and, followed by the apostles, walk through the streets of the village in prayer. This is the dark procession of Radicofani, an evocative celebration that continues on Friday, when it is possible to listen to 18th-century texts and Easter songs, while Saturday is the time for the traditional blessing of eggs.
THE PROCESSION OF THE SCALZI IN PIENZA
At 9 p.m. on Good Friday, the Procession of the Scalzi starts at the Cathedral of Pienza. During the procession - which passes through the historic centre - the statue of the Dead Christ is carried in procession, preceded by 12 figures of the Scalzi, who, barefoot and holding torches, announce the arrival of the rest of the procession, accompanied by solemn music. The procession returns to the Cathedral where mass is celebrated (here our top tips on what to do and where to eat in Pienza).
THE PROCESSION OF THE MYSTERIES OF SAN GIMIGNANO
A traditional celebration that takes place every year in San Gimignano during Holy Week. Through the streets of the historical centre, from Piazza della Cisterna to Piazza Duomo, on Holy Saturday a procession of 60 people in medieval clothing parade, escorting a wooden cart with statues depicting the Passion of Christ. These were sculpted by local artists between 1600 and 1800 and symbolise scenes from the life of Jesus (Here our recommendations on what to do and where to eat in San Gimignano).
THE BLESSING OF THE SEA IN PORTO SANTO STEFANO
On Easter Sunday at the crack of dawn a long procession, with the risen Christ carried by the arms, passes through the streets of the town. The highlight of the event is the blessing of the sea: the statue of Christ is carried over the harbour and raised three times, the moored fishing boats respond to the blessing by sounding their sirens.