After Christmas, Easter is the most heartfelt holiday in Italy and, despite the popular saying “Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi” (celebrate Christmas with your relatives, and Easter with whomever you like), it is usually spent with the family, doing what Italians do best: eating amazing food. As you know, traditional dishes in Italy vary from region to region, and Easter is no exception.
Starting from the North, Torta Pasqualina can be found almost on every table: originally from Liguria, it is a pie stuffed with spinach, herbs, ricotta and eggs, but often enriched with ham, salame and other types of meat.
In Emilia-Romagna, there is a particular dish passed down from generation to generation: Cappelletti in brodo, composed of egg pasta stuffed with meat and cooked in chicken broth.
Moving to South, Casatiello is one of the multiple delicacies from Naples: the dough is similar to bread, but it is shaped as a donut, filled with salame and Pecorino, and most importantly, it has fresh, entire eggs incorporated in the dough.
If you spend Easter in Rome, instead, there are two things that will not be missing from everyone’s menu, abbacchio (a young lamb born and bred in Lazio) and carciofi (artichokes), in different variations: abbacchio alla scottadito (grilled), alla cacciatora (with vinegar and herbs), alla romana (roasted with potatoes), frittata di carciofi, Carciofi alla giudia (fried) or Carciofi with coratella (with lamb entrails).
Finally, some regional dishes became so popular that are now considered national specialties, especially if we consider desserts. Besides the classical chocolate eggs, the traditional Italian Easter desserts are Colomba and Pastiera. The Neapolitan Easter dessert par excellence, Pastiera is made with shortcrust pastry, wheat, Ricotta Campana, eggs and with an intense orange fragrance; Colomba is basically the Easter equivalent of Panettone and Pandoro, and it comes in the shape of a dove (in Italian “colomba”): it is a soft leavened cake, with candied fruit and a crisp coating of icing and almonds in its traditional version, or you may add chocolate, salted caramel, berries, pistachio and Nutella for a more modern reinterpretation.
Finally, Italy does not have the Easter Bunny, but they do have tasty chocolate eggs, with surprises inside.