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Italy Travel Blog

What are Your Favorite Italian Easter Dishes?

Easter egg

As in other countries with a long history of Christian tradition, Easter is one of the two most important religious festivals in Italy, rivaling only Christmas in terms of cultural significance. First instituted by early Christians at around the second century C.E., the Easter holiday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after he was crucified in Calvary. Although Easter this year falls on the 20th of April, this isn’t always the case because it is a moveable festival based on the Christian liturgical calendar. The date varies every year (from March 22 to April 25), but it is always held on a Sunday. In Italy, Pasqua, as Easter is called, is a national holiday, but the Monday that follows it is also a holiday and is called Pasquetta or Little Easter. The Italian celebration of Easter is marked with joyful festivities and feasts, a stark contrast [...]

What You Should Know about Holy Week Traditions in Italy

Via Crucis

Any visitor in Italy during Holy Week would do well to know a bit about the rich traditions that surround this occasion. With Roman Catholicism being considered as the largest religion in the country in which the Vatican can also be found, a number of Holy Week traditions in Italy, from practices to rituals still prevail, particularly in the southern regions. The beginning of Holy Week is on Palm Sunday, and it lasts for the rest of the week up until Black Saturday, before ending in joyous Easter, or “Pasqua”, celebrations. Take note that the Monday right after Easter (“Pasquetta”) is also a holiday, so plan your trips accordingly. On Palm Sunday, the faithful normally flock to the churches where a mass and possibly processions are held. There are also baskets of olive branches and palms which are then blessed by the priest and are handed out to the congregation. [...]

How It Came to Be: The Origins of the Vatican City

Basilica di San Pietro

Ask anyone what they know about the Vatican City, and you’re probably going to get some very familiar answers: “It’s the home of the pope,” “it’s the world’s smallest country,” or “it’s where Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Catholic Church’s mother church, is located.” True enough, the origins of the Vatican City, a walled compound within Rome, is where the pope lives, and it is indeed the world’s smallest sovereign state, being only 44 hectares in size – that’s about one-eighth the size of Central Park in New York! But did you know that Saint Peter’s Basilica is not actually the official ecclesiastical seat of the pope, hence it is not the ecumenical mother church of the Catholic hierarchy? This honor belongs to the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, which is one of the four major basilicas of the Catholic Church, the others being the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the [...]

Beyond Art: Other Attractions to Experience in Florence

Mushroom shop in Central Market Florence

Whenever travel to Italy is mentioned, it is almost inevitable to include the city of Florence in the discussion. Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, and ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Florence is the capital of the lush region of Tuscany and is considered as the birthplace of the Renaissance. It was also a center of trade during medieval times, and to this day, it remains a major economic center. As one can expect from a city that is steeped in culture and history, almost every street and every corner boasts a historical building or a work of art (because even the door knockers here are sights to behold). However, other than your usual tour of galleries and museums, there are still a myriad other interesting places to see and things to do in beautiful Firenze. Here is [...]

10 Best Springtime Festivals in Italy

Chocolate Festival in Turin

For a lot of people, spring is the best among the four seasons of the year. It’s when we shake off the winter freeze and embrace the freshness of rebirth. Across the world’s temperate regions, there’s not a single place that doesn’t look good at this time of year. Few places, however, are as much fun to be in as Italy is from March to May. With crisp weather, nature in full bloom and a renewed energy in the air, spring is ideal for visiting this lovely European nation. Seeing archaeological sites, appreciating works of art and tasting the wonderful cuisine is standard faire when visiting any Italian city, but what can make your stay even more memorable is participating in awesome festivals during the springtime months. Taking part in the celebrations is the fastest way to immerse yourself in Italian culture; it helps you appreciate the country and its [...]