Palm Sunday and the Holy Week are just around the corner, and on that day, you can see Venetians in the morning taking sprigs of palms to their parish churches. I owe the contents of this post to our visitors, for I am mentioning their questions they are usually asking, when they come to Venice, and also when they enquire what it would be like spending Easter in Venice.
Buona Pasqua da Venezia !! Happy Easter from Venice!!
Do you have processions during the Holy Week in Venice just like there are in Southern Italy?
Yes, there is a special procession in Venice, it takes place on Palm Sunday, and not on Holy Friday, as would be the case for example in Sorrento or in Sicily. But there is not such a unique tradition of Easter processions in Venice. Here, the Patriarch usually began with the benedizione delle palme at the Church of Santa Maria Formosa that I have already mentioned on this blog. This year is different, the procession will start next to the Basilica in Piazzetta dei Leoncini. Click here to learn more about the program and timetable. And again, the mass service will be broadcast by Bluradio Veneto. Click here if you would like to follow Venice on Palm Sunday.
In the previous years, after a short prayer – preghiera at the church of Santa Maria Formosa, the processione of people carrying lush palm leaves (and sometimes olive twigs) returned to the Basilica di San Marco to celebrate a mass service there. Here are some pictures of Palm Sunday morning in 2011.
Campo Santa Maria Formosa, just after 9 am on Palm Sunday 2011
The processione is arriving from San Marco …
People carrying huge palm leaves for Palm Sunday, inside the Church of Santa Maria Formosa
Waiting for the patriarch of Venice in front of the Church of Santa Maria Formosa
in Piazza San Marco
Which flowers are out in your garden in Venice at Easter?
Narcissi, tulips, forgetme-nots, acquilegia, see for yourselves, ere is a purple flower example …
Acquilegia flowers, narcissi, tulips …
Which flowers are on sale at the flower shops and stalls in Venice for Easter?
Narcissi, and most often tulips, mostly tinged with yellow and a hint of red. But also hothouse plants like the white and yellow roses you see in the background of the picture below.
Tulips for Easter
What do the windows (vetrine) of the Venetian bakeries (pasticcerie) look like in the Holy Week? Which are the presents you give to each other on Easter Sunday?
The typical Easter presents for adults are the colombe and focaccie, yeast pastries filled with raisins, and dried orange and lemon zests. Children usually receive huge colored Easter eggs made of chocolate mostly, wrapped in shining colorful paper, filled with sweets and little toys. But also, stuffed and chocolate easter animals such as lambs, ducks, chicks and hens are welcome. And this is exactly the merchandise you cannot miss now in the bakeries all over Venice.
Colombe: pasticceria Ballarin, Venezia
Pasticceria Rizzardini, often yellow stuffed easter chicks or ducks next to Easter Eggs and Easter focaccie and of course colombe
Even my favorite shop Drogheria Mascari, where I buy spices and tea, decorates its windows with an elaborate chocolate Easter egg
For a dessert in the evening of Easter sunday and monday, families will eat the chocolate Easter egg together, enjoing it with a fine cup of caffé
Do you have some spring pictures from Venice at Easter time?
There is a special quality to the light in spring. It can be surprisingly blinding at times, and then again, rather mild. See for yourselves in the pictures below, the first two were taken near Campo dei Miracoli, and the third was taken in Dorsoduro near Campo San Barnaba. The forth picture below is Campo Santi Apostoli,
A green terrace above the porta all’acqua
A not so secret garden
Early April lights against the Venetian brickwall / San Barnaba
A picture taken on a warm Easter Sunday in April
Which vegetables can I buy at the Rialto market at Easter?
March and April is the season of the special young artichoke shots called castráure in venexian from our vegetable islands, in particular from the Sant’Erasmo island. See for yourselves what the Rialto market looks like at Easter time.
Castraure next to vegetables from North Italian hothouses, but also from southern Italy
Which is your family’s traditional menu for Easter? Obviously we choose fresh ingredients from the markets, including Rialto. I would buy castraúre and asparagus, and lots of green herbs and fresh spinach leaves. Also, lamb and fish such as orata and branzin. But it depends on the weather. Easter is quite early this year, so let’s see … You can find more about a typical Venetian family menu at my other Blog Le Spezie di Venezia.
A selection of fresh herbs from Rialto, and red onions, and radish …
… and of course we would also buy artichokes and fresh basil as base ingredients for our Easter lunch
And of course – no matter what the weather will be like – this is what we enjoy in the afternoon: a hot and creamy cup of cioccolata densa. This one is served at pasticceria Didovich in Campo Santa Maria Formosa.
How do you spend Easter Monday – Pasquetta in Venice? Easter Monday is usually the day Italian families love spending in the countryside, and Venetians are no exception. No doubt, you would be finding me on Torcello, my favorite island in the lagoon. I would be enjoying a perfect lunch in one of the trattorie, and then look out for flowers and wild ducks across the island. Obviously I would use the time to pay a visit to the archeological museum of Torcello.
A nice place to spend Easter Monday – Locanda Cipriani is waiting for lunch guests.