Why should you spend Easter in Puglia? The mild temperatures make it a perfect time to really get out and about and see Puglia. Explore the olive groves, the marine reserves, the beautiful historic town centres – think Ostuni, Otranto, Gallipoli, Bari, Monopoli; but also the less well known such as Oria or Mesagne and a host of smaller towns.
Experience the Easter Celebrations, the food festivals, visit a winery or two and taste the wine. Easter in Puglia starts on Palm Sunday and continues through to Easter Monday.
As well as the religious events there are many food festivals showcasing typical foods that are made to celebrate Easter in Puglia. What’s on offer varies from town to town, in the Salento the traditional Easter “cake” is called “Cuddura”, prepared for the Easter holiday. It comes in many shapes, a heart, a doll and a rooster are often found in the Salento and Puglia. It can be salty or sweet, but always has a hard-boiled egg in the centre. According to tradition, the cake served at the end of the Easter meal; it is also a gift exchanged between lovers with the doll being given to girls, representing fertility and prosperity, while the rooster is given to boys as a sign of virility and good luck.
One of the specialities of Taranto are the mostaccioli, a biscuit made with almond paste and topped with chocolate icing. Just two of the many different celebratory offerings you will find at the food festivals and in the pasticceria (pastry shops).
On Easter Sunday, after mass, in all the towns, small and large, you can mingle with the locals, dressed in their Sunday best as they take a stroll around town before lunch. Lunch on Easter Sunday is an important affair; if you plan to eat out be sure to book ahead as all the restaurants will be bursting at the seams. The local Italians in Puglia are very friendly and will welcome you and invite you to join in the celebrations.
The celebrations continue on Easter Monday, known in Italian as La Pasquetta, when friends and family head out to the countryside or the seaside for picnics and games. Our local town of Torchiarolo celebrates Easter Monday in great style. The illuminations in the town are switched on in the evening and are an amazing sight. Find a spot near the Chiesa Matrice Maria and watch the procession before adjourning to Nonna Lisa for pizzas (be sure to make a reservation). In Torchiarolo the Tuesday after Easter is a town festival day with a large street market and horse fair.
With temperatures milder than the scorching summer months of June through August, Easter is a great time for walking or cycling through the olive groves and countryside. The sea might not be warm enough for swimming but beach walks, beach-combing and exploring the rock pools are great for young and old alike.
Whether you explore alone or take the opportunity for a guided tour or to take part in one of the events that our travel co-ordinators organise, April (and May) are great months to discover the real Puglia. Easter in Puglia has the added bonus of scores of celebrations and festivals to choose from.