Easter in the Valtiberina

Buona pasqua!


Well, it’s almost Easter and time to break free of the restrictions of Lent and celebrate with all the wonderful Easter food we’ve been dreaming of. Here in the Tuscan Valtiberina, Easter is of particular importance, especially in the town of Sansepolcro, whose name means Holy Sepulchre, referring to the tomb of Christ. In fact there are two important cultural items in the town connecting it with Easter. The first is 16th century model of the tomb of Christ in the Oratorio della Compagnia del Crocifisso. The second, and better known, is the painting of the Resurrection by Piero della Francesca which is housed in the Museo Civico.

One of the highlights of Easter in Sansepolcro is the procession on Good Friday evening of a statue of the dead Christ, which is carried through the streets to candlelight and accompanied by tableaux vivants of the Stations of the Cross. You can see a video of the 2014 procession below.

As far as food is concerned, the most important Easter dish from this area is the Panina Gialla di Subbiano, a fruit bread flavoured with fragrant saffron, which is found throughout the Tuscan province of Arezzo. You can find the recipe for it here.

This year, I published two traditional Italian Easter recipes on the Great Italian Chef’s website. The first was for a Torta Pasqualina, a savory spinach and ricotta pie with surprise eggs baked inside. The second was for a Pastiera Napoletana, a sweet pie from Naples which is now found all over Italy at Easter time. The recipes can be found by clicking on the names above.

Don’t forget there’s still time as well to make the Colomba Marietta, which is featured as one of twenty great Easter recipes on the Foodies 100 website. And there are also my recipes for Casatiello, a savory bread from Naples which is a real showstopper, and Azime dolci, which are Venetian biscuits for passover, which doesn’t coincide with Easter this year but is connected with the Easter story.

Anyway, however you’ll be celebrating I’d like to wish you a very Happy Easter, and Buona Pasqua!



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