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Primavera and Pasqua!

Mar 28th, 2009 | By | Category: Our Blog

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Primavera (Spring) in Italy comes early and is a wonderful time to see nature…..the blossoming trees, the wild and beautiful flowers, the verdant green landscape all culminate to make this a very special time to visit.  The temperature is mild and it is not so busy as the summer months.

March arrives with a celebration of Festa della Donna (International Women’s Day) — March 8:  In Ancient Roman times, the year ended with February,  “month of cleansing or finishing up” in preparation for the new year which began on March 1st which was also the first day of spring (primo vere). March 8 was one of the first of the springtime festae, a day sacred to Ariadne, who had been left seduced and abondoned on an Island   She was a prototype for ancient mediterranean women and perhaps very appropriate to have this celebration on this day.  In more recent times sources say in Rome in 1946 men gave their wives,mothers, daughters, and other women friends sprigs of bright yellow Mimosa flowers on March 8.  Women have since also started to give Mimosa to each other. The flowers are intended as a sign of respect for women. 

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PASQUA

Italy during Easter, you will find some interesting celebrations. Easter week is a great time for Italy travel with many cultural and religous festivals. During the days before Easter, you may see beautiful religious processions and parades. Easter, Pasqua in Italian, is a joyous celebration. Festivals, games, and concerts will be held around Italy on Easter and especially Easter Monday, la Pasquetta, also an Italian holiday.

Each town or region has its own way of celebrating Easter, some of them very unique. Florence has an exciting fireworks display on Easter, the Scoppio del Carro, or exploding cart. If you’re traveling near Florence, it’s well worth a visit. Sicily is another good place to experience Easter celebrations. And if you’re in Umbria, head to Panicale for their unusual games on Monday.

 Easter holidays in the Val di Noto’s charming Sicilian baroque 

Easter time has always been one of the most characteristic periods of the year in Italy.  For instance, in the Val di Noto, Sicily belonging to the UNESCO’s heritage, that includes an area full of folk customs connected to the Holy Week. This is a great opportunity to treat yourself to a holiday among art, age long traditions and good food.

Holy Week is the ideal period to discover one of the most charming areas of the island: the Val di Noto. The baroque style of cities such as Noto, Modica, Ragusa Ibla and Scicli, matches perfectly with the mystic, religious climate of the processions that take place between Palm Sunday and Easter.

Sicilian baroque   

In 1693 an earthquake razed 53 cities and several villages to the ground between Catania and Ragusa, effacing forever the Norman, medieval aspect of eastern Sicily. But this deadly event was an opportunity for an outstanding work of reconstruction that was made and that gave to Sicily the baroque splendour of the Val di Noto, nowadays UNESCO’s world heritage.    The old, Sicilian nobility wanted to reconstruct its cities and dwellings according to the magnificent taste of their time: the baroque. This was the first experiment on a large scale of imposing this style not only on some buildings but also on the whole city plans. This pompous, spectacular architecture, that until then had found its greatest expression in Rome, matched perfectly with the aristocratic, Sicilian mentality and found in the local stone a material that was perfect for the imaginative realizations made by the architects and artisans.  A unique style was born, that of the Sicilian baroque, that has its more bizarre realizations in Noto, but that has also many magnificent examples in Modica, Scicli, Ragusa Ibla, Siracusa and Catania. 

Traditions during the Holy Week in Sicily

Easter time is particularly striking and full of events such as the Holy Week in Ragusa Ibla where during the week the processions follow one after the other in the wonderful frame of this county, Palm Sunday in Scicli, where the ancient Madonna della Pietà – found roughly in the year 1000 after being hidden for 3 centuries in order to preserve it from the Saracens – is taken from the Chiesa di Santa Maria la Nova to the Chiesa del Carmine and the solemn procession of the Madonna Vasa Vasa di Modica where a Madonna dressed in mourning meets the Jesus’ statue in the piazza San Domenico and kisses him. 

Where to stay

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The best way to enjoy a holiday in complete freedom is to stay in an apartment or in a private villa in the city or in the vicinity of the town centres in the flourishing, Sicilian countryside. Not far from Modica is Villa Trombadore, a comfortable, patrician dwelling dating back to the end of the nineteen century – situated along the road that leads to Ispica – that can accommodate up to twelve persons.

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For those who want to enjoy an unspoilt sea the best solution is Costa Bianca, a modern complex of vacation homes surrounded by an oasis of lush vegetation situated in the Plemmirio nature reserve, in the vicinity of Siracusa. Whereas the authentic atmosphere of Ragusa’s countryside can be experienced at the Parco Cavalonga, a resort situated in the middle of an 18-hectare nature park where three country houses of the estate, dating from the last century, have been converted into seven elegant, comfortable apartments. For those seeking further information  there is plenty of accommodation in the eastern region of Sicily, among Siracusa, Modica and Ragusa. 

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