What a joy Easter in Venice, and indeed Italy, is. Much like Christmas time, Easter here isn't all about commercialization. Even if you aren't Catholic (I am but hubby isn't) attending a Mass on Easter Sunday in Venice is a moving experience.I can think of nowhere I'd rather spend Easter than Venice!
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Venice can get rather busy over Easter, although nothing like Venice during Carnival time, even so it is worth booking a little in advance if you possibly can.
Good Friday is a normal working day in Italy so everything is open and Saturday is business as usual too with everything from shops to museums open.
Friday is the day to do the touring around of Venice, before the Easter weekend crowds arrive from all over Italy.
On Sunday and Monday, nearly all shops and markets are closed, but many museums stay open, and of course, Sunday is a great day to attend an Easter Mass, either in St. Marks or elsewhere in the city. Sometimes, I prefer to find a small church in a less touristy part of Venice; attending Mass in such a church is a very special experience, and the services are always very moving. Perhaps try a late-night Mass? These are held throughout the city, candles are lit, and church bells ring out across the city.
You can feel something special in the air; emotion seems to overwhelm even those with a more calm and cool demeanor, like my husband. For me, Easter in Venice, and indeed, in Italy, moves me to the core of my soul.
Many restaurants are open on both Sunday and Monday and offer traditional set menus.
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Delicious chocolate Easter eggs are now ubiquitous throughout Italy. They are really different from the ones on sale in the UK and USA in style, taste, and wrapping. The wrapping can sometimes be almost a work of art, so beautifully done that you feel sad to open the thing.
Very often, the eggs contain a little surprise inside for the kids, much like those Kinder Surprise eggs, which are also from Italy and are sold around the world.
Besides the chocolate Easter eggs, the colomba (similar to the traditional Christmas cake, the panettone) is the main Easter treat.
People tend to give each other gifts of colomba. When I worked in Italy, I used to end up with literally dozens of them in the weeks leading up to Easter, and my husband Andrew had another dozen. Still, I never complained—just ate them all. Delicious!
For the Easter meal itself, lamb is the main course, and artichokes normally make an appearance somewhere on the menu. For the rest, though, there is no fixed menu, and, apart from the lamb and artichokes, you will find many other dishes offered too.