Holy Thursday – churches open their doors and welcome followers to visit their elaborately flower-decorated altars to pay respect to Jesus during his time of death and to celebrate his rebirth.
Good Friday – Around Tuscany there are various religious processions. Dressed in historic costumes the participants proceed through the streets carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus on their shoulders.
Easter Saturday – Is the traditional opening of the Chocolate Easter Egg (colorfully wrapped chocolate eggs revealing surprises for all ages.) We missed this in Figline Valdarno, as we were travelling from Pisa.
Easter Sunday – we did see the traditional parade of the Contrade and the Sbandieratori (Flag Artist) in the Historical area (piazza Marsilio Ficino) of Figline Valdarno. This was followed by Holy Mass at the Collegiate Church at 11am and finishing at noon with the Traditional igniting of the wooden carriage (The Explosion of the Cart/Scoppio del Carro). The Cart – called the Brindellone stands over 9m tall on wheels and it is a tradition which dates back to the Middle Ages. This is followed by an exhibition of the Sbandieratori (Flag Artists). See more photos from this day in my Facebook Album.
Easter Monday/Pasquetta – is a national holiday to celebrate Jesus. This is a day usually spent with family and they have picnics in the countryside of pecorino cheese, fresh fava beans, bread, olives and red wine. We visited Siena which holds a large market all day from 9am on Easter Monday which sells everything from food and deserts to toys, ceramics, leather goods and books.
We were staying at the Norcenni Girasole Club Eurocamp and they orgainsed a shuttle bus on the Sunday to Figline Valdarno which departed at 9:30 (and there was another at 10) and returned at 12:30. Children under the age of 12 years old were free and everyone over 12 cost 3.50 euros each and it needed booking in advance. They also provided an excursion on Pasquetta that included going to Siena – this included a tour who told us about some of the history too. We were also advised to try some Panforte: A traditional chewy Italian dessert which contains fruit and nuts which originates from Siena.