|Come prepared for spring weather in Tuscany|
Easter in Tuscany is... a rainy affair. At least that's what I seem to remember from the last five years or so. However, that's no reason to change the booking of your flight. With all those never-ending Easter lunches, who cares if the weather doesn't work out.
After all the food, take out your umbrella for a proper digestive walk, or - if hiking isn't your thing - just join one of the many Easter processions to burn off some calories.
|Easter Monday mass at the ruin of the San Rabano abbey in the Maremma National Park|
In my Tuscan village (as in most Tuscan villages) the procession takes place around 9 pm on Good Friday. After dinner Cinigiano's marching band makes its rounds, until the priest and a few male examples of the village appear - one of them bearing a big wooden cross - followed by a mostly female crowd and a few kids. In other villages several men bear the statue of Christ on the cross or of a grieving Madonna. And in most cases, half of the villagers step out of the bar to greet the procession and then turn back in to keep drinking. Which isn't part of the Easter ritual, but an everyday affair.
In some areas of Tuscany the procession is spiced up a bit. Like in Pienza in the Val d'Orcia, where it's called Processione degli Scalzi, because of the group of barefoot walking torch bearers at the beginning of the procession.
Or in Monte Argentario's Porto Santo Stefano, where - exemption to the rule - the procession takes place in the early morning of Easter Sunday and leads to the harbor of Porto Santo Stefano for the benediction of the sea, which is greeted by the waiting fishermen from their boats.
In Alberese, the HQ of the Maremma National Park, on Easter Monday the procession is really a hike. The locals leave at around 9.30 am from the main square of the village and walk up to the ruins of the beautiful San Rabano abbey. The walk leads along a white road that is steep but much easier to tackle (and cheaper to access) than the signed out hike in the national park. Bring along a packed lunch so as to share a bite to eat with everybody after mass. And make sure you walk up to Poggio Lecci to take in the view over the sea and the isles of Elba, Giglio and Montecristo.
- Not much of a believer? Sleep in and watch the sailing boats getting ready for Pasquavela, the Easter regatta organized by Porto Santo Stefano's sailing club.
- More of a mountain person? Explore Roccalbegna and off-the-beaten-path Amiata with the guided walks organized by Carla Pau.
- Just looking for some shopping? You can, at Buonconvento's antiques market even during one of Italy's most important religious holidays.