Easter is a big deal in Italy, especially because it is the first holiday of the year in springtime, when the weather is already warmer, and everyone’s mood is lighter.
However, Easter Monday is even more popular, and it is celebrated as if it were another holiday, unrelated to Easter. Known across the whole country as Pasquetta (meaning Little Easter), this festivity has totally lost its religious connotation, becoming a simple occasion to enjoy a nice day with friends, while eating and drinking before going back to work, or school, the following day.
On this day, families and groups of friends usually plan a trip out of town, a walk in the woods, or at the beach, a visit to a nearby city or museum. The menu is always very simple, with everyone bringing something, often leftovers of the previous day and generally cold dishes: tramezzini, sandwiches with cotoletta and, of course, the ever-present rice salads (insalata di riso) and pasta fredda, typical of any spring/summer lunch in Italy.
Others, instead, gather at someone’s house to have a classical Pasquetta barbecue, eating grilled meat and vegetables, spiedini, bruschetta and panzanella, accompanied with red wine, Limoncello and several desserts, from Pastiera to Salame di Cioccolato, not forgetting the chocolate from the Easter Eggs. The rest of the day is spent playing cards, soccer, volleyball, or simply relaxing laying on the grass.
An inside joke among Italians is that regardless of this tradition, the weather on this day will always be awful, so you’d better have a plan B. Unfortunately, this joke is rather true: for unknown reasons, Pasquetta is sometimes cold, rainy and windy!