What to do and where to go to discover ancient villages, tradition and culture
From art cities to the seaside, tastings at wineries and local folklore, Tuscany is the ideal destination for an Easter getaway. Here are some suggestions.
A great classic – a weekend in the cradle of the Renaissance, made even more fascinating at Easter by the Scoppio del Carro (“Explosion of the Cart”). On Easter Sunday morning, the cart, fondly called Brindellone, pulled by white oxen and followed by an historical procession, crosses the city to a point between the Cathedral and the Baptistry. Inside the cathedral, the sacred fire which has been burning since Saturday, is used to light the fuse that will make a small rocket in the shape of a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit, dart along a rope connected to the cart, setting off a series of firecrackers and a unique fireworks display, which according to tradition predicts a good harvest.
PIENZA, MONTEPULCIANO AND MONTALCINO
With its golden fields, rows of cypresses and timeless villages, Val d’Orcia is a treasure trove of priceless gems. Among these is Pienza, the enchanting birthplace of Pope Pius II, where you can buy the famous pecorino cheese and see the Scalzi, or barefoot, procession on Good Friday. In Montalcino and Montepulciano, home of some of the most famous wines in the world, you can enjoy tastings among endless rows of vineyards.
Another Tuscan pearl to explore is Siena, where Palazzo Piccolomini delle Papesse has reopened its doors to art after 12 years to host a great exhibition dedicated to Dalí, on until 30 April. Spend Easter in the enchanting spiral or snail-shaped city, exploring Piazza del Campo, the Duomo and all the medieval corners and streets of an historic centre without equal.
Lovers of the sea should not miss PasquaVela in Porto Santo Stefano, an historic regatta, this year from 16 to 18 April, that ends on Easter Monday, which can also be admired from the seafront. Back on the “mainland”, don’t forget a visit to the nearby Tarot Garden, a small Parc Güell in the Maremma.