This is our first time to be in Italy for the Easter holiday, which is the second biggest holiday in Italy (after Christmas of course).It’s a huge holiday for the Italians and families all plan a big weekend together.
Being in Rome, Vatican City would be the ultimate Easter celebration but we are in Tuscany and there is a lot going on here as well.
All over Italy, special Easter foods are as important as the religious aspects of the 4 day holiday weekend.Cultural heritage over the years, created special foods by Italian mama’s who specialized in “schiacciata de pasqua”, an Anise flavored Easter cake that they only make for Easter once a year.Baked goods are packed with sugar and spice and loaded with religious symbols:
Giant chocolate Easter eggs are all over the stores and a big deal for the kids, and I mean Giant as in 1.5ft tall or more!
Dough in the shape of rings symbolizing the Crown of Thorns! (just looks like a circle to me but hey, not my hardwork rolling out that dough!)
My favorite is the bread made with colored Easter eggs woven inside of it.
The Traditions of Easter vary all over Italy, some are loaded with heavy duty religious symbolism:
People dressed in robes of white with masks and the very look the American KKK’s sadly borrowed from the Catholics, walk through town, carrying Mary throughout the square, with torches and singing softly.
This first parade usually on Thursday before Good Friday, symbolizes Hope, when Mary is searching thru each church in town for her son, Jesus.
Good Friday, the second parade/procession is somber and sad, and the white cloaks change to black.This is a sad parade and the black symbolizes Death, and Mary finding her son crucified.No one speaks, everyone is non smiling and silent as they walk with Mary and or Jesus thru the town squares.Many sick in wheelchairs are pushed in the procession and people line up behind them as they walk from church to church.
Some towns do this in daylight but some, and the one we visited, Camiore, does it at night. All throughout the town, the people have been working for weeks, placing wooden structures on top of shutters, over doorways and on the walls of houses, churches and store fronts, all lined with matching votive cups full of oil to light the town.
Every store and house turns out their lights and the entire town is lit with candles for the procession.Its really authentic and beautiful, harking back to the days of old.
The towns do not pay for this and all the store owners, businesses, and local homes participate at their own expense and its very extensive and beautiful.
Not all towns wear the hooded cloak, which I prefer, and instead just wear a more normal Catholic priest type robes. Or have black friar type hats on.
Florence, is known for the big Easter Sunday celebration in the morning.The lighting of the fireworks.“Scoppio del carro”.(Explosion of the cart)
They have a very decorated tall, 30ft cart, pulled by a white ox team that is decorated with flowers and herbs signifiying Spring, with the cart packed full of fireworks and pyrotechnics brought to the town center at the Duomo.
Escorted by over 150 soldiers, musicians and locals all in period dress (they love love to get dressed up in a parade in Florence).
Inside the Duomo, a mechanical Dove is suspended on a wire from the alter that is released and goes whizzing thru the church with a lit fire to arrive at the cart to ignite the awaiting fireworks, blowing off them into the air and celebrating with a BANG! (now that is some sort of massive Insurance nightmare there for sure! That would never happen in America with all its rules and insurance and lawsuits)
All with the locals in huge abundance surrounding the square to witness this amazing feat, with all the local church bells banging to announce the moment.
And as long as no one is hurt, nothing catches on fire, why not have a major Chinese New Year styled Easter!The Duomo square is PACKED with people so you have to get there really early and stand in line for hours, so we will have to enjoy “YouTube” replay on this one, as much as I’d love to go there. Go to the 2 minute mark for the fun part!
However you choose to celebrate, in Italy, there are many choices, the churches are all decked in finery and flowers, and the towns have all been waking up, cleaning up and getting ready, as this also signifies the Tourist Season is officially back open!Winter slumber is over, and all the merchants are returning to the stores, restaurants that have been closed since New Years, have the cute bistro tables back outside with fresh flowers and ready for a hot summer.
Spring is here, Italy is open for business and awaits you.Imagine Travel Tours would Love to be your custom tour advisors, arranging and organizing everything for you.We do all the work so you don’t have to.Guided tours, driving you to our favorite towns to hopefully share a festival or two with you.Beautiful Villas and Farmhouses are arranged for you and your group.
Are you thinking of traveling soon to France? One of the best short courses I have seen. I really wish someone had this available to me back when I started! Hope you enjoy it! Click here to watch the video!
I love walking thru the towns of Italy and seeing it as a Scavenger Hunt. Every corner might reveal itself to be a street artists masterpiece; or just a quick reminder to have fun, share the love and don’t take life too seriously.
The need to express themselves to share with the world just to make us happy!
I love that they bring this art to the masses on the corners. Graffiti or art? Like Banksy, these unknown artists give me joy when I find them on a corner. Not expecting to find them or now, on a hunt to go find them, I love when I have success!
#OIOIII #BLUB are two of my favorite Italian street artists. I have no idea who they are, (I will find them one day!) but I love sharing them with you. Come with me, and Imagine Travel Tours and go on an Italian Street Art hunt with me. We love sharing our adventures on our Luxury, Custom tours with YOU.
Wow what a wild night! We decided to venture out for what we believed and turned out to be, one of the greatest fireworks shows on earth. We planned the spot arrived hours early and prepared ourselves for camping out, French style: sipping Champagne in the park.
Then came the people . . . and more people. By the time the fireworks were ready to begin we were fearing for our safety. No Joke. At one point the police drove 8 blue vans with a motorcycle in the lead though the crowd of thousands, displacing people willy nilly. These shots are before it got crowded!
The French themselves are incredibly tolerant and peaceful. I applaud them and after observing them tolerate people stepping on their belongings, toes and fingers multiple times I was amazed that the only time a fellow got riled was when a rude youth almost stepped on his child rather than go around. I on the other hand was another story. I am not sure where the feeling of invasion of personal space comes from but I seem to suffer from it rather badly. It was not the French locals causing such issues but the large groups of people whose culture seems to know no personal boundaries. They thought that was ok to push, shove, lean and generally make themselves at home on my lap. When I mentioned that I would enjoy a wee bit more elbow room they seemed really put out. I therefore clarified myself a bit and the issue seemed to resolve itself. Then the little gypsy child tried to run off with the backpack that I was standing on. Sneaky little so and so . . . Oh and then this happened . . . ??
This guy was making a delivery amongst 1000’s of people packed so tight it took him 5 minutes to pass in front of us ha ha ha.
Later back at the Tower the music began and the show started in earnest. All was put aside as the singing and general merrymaking began. There was a part of me that cried out,” God, just get it over with, start the bloody fireworks already so we can all go home!” Then they did start and while holding my belongings securely and being incredibly spacially aware with Darla in tow, I had the incredible pleasure of enjoying a display of music, enthusiastic singing, light and pyrotechnics incorporating the iconic Tour Eiffel to an amazing effect. Just cool, I kept thinking how cool is this?!?
The show ended and the crowd slowly parted as we stood still just waiting for the space to breathe again. Eventually we said goodbye to the neighbors we liked 😉 and made our way down the street.
We stopped a block or so away to take a picture for Darla’s mom and then continued on a bit more.
It was then I looked back and saw a large plume of smoke rising in front of the tower and wondered what was on fire. I took this picture and left it at that till we got home. Turned out a fireworks truck accidentally caught fire.
My final rant: I am glad we did it. I am glad we got to experience the whole thing but I will never put us in that situation again. I felt that way even before we heard the news about Nice. We were so vulnerable there. We endeavor never to be in a situation where we could be victimized and this was undeniably that. The police are woefully ill equipped to deal with these kinds of events. It is and should be our responsibility to care for our own safety. We will not be exposing ourselves to this kind of situation again.
With regard to the cowardly, despicable act in Nice last night, people who don’t value their own life will never value other peoples lives. That is the challenge we all face. How to live and thrive on this planet and allow others to do the same? Everyone inherently knows this, yet so many in power disregard the truth for greed and power. Assholes! K nuff said, to all my family and friends all around the world I love respect and miss you all. Till we meet again, peace out…
The correct way to pronounce 9 French brand names you’ve been saying all wrong
Who hasn’t had one of those slightly embarrassing “seen-it-but-never-said-it” moments with a high-profile foreign brand?Especially with a French brand.
Brands hailing from francophone speaking countries are tricky for an untrained ear, considering French is a language you can’t really pronounce phonetically.
But be it because of a language barrier or just simple unfamiliarity, below are some of the most frequently mispronounced French brand names accompanied with a Parisian’s pronunciation.
Merci a Lucas Paszkowiak pour la prononciation en Française.
1. Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent
The French fashion house was named after its founder Yves Saint Laurent who started the brand with his partner Pierre Bergé in 1961.
YSL is known for pioneering androgynous styles for women such as, Le Smoking suit, arguably the most classic tuxedo suit for females.
YSL sits alongside elite fashion houses like Chanel, Dior, Prada, and Louis Vuitton.
In 1837, Thierry Hermès opened his Parisian workshop crafting leather saddles and harnesses for carriages.
Hermès has expanded to specialize in luxury accessories, leather, clothing, and perfumes.
“Just to make sure that our customers are happy we also still dress horses as well as helicopters, cars, bicycles, boats, dogs and the occasional leopard,” the company notes.
L’Occitane en Provence
3. L’Occitane en Provence
L’Occitane en Provence
L’Occitane en Provence is an international retailer of skin care, fragrances, makeup, men’s products, hair care, and home products.
L’Occitane was founded in 1976 by Olivier Baussan and is based in Manosque, France.
5. Le Pain Quotidien
Le Pain Quotidien
Le Pain Quotidien, which translates to “the daily bread,” is an international chain of bakery-restaurants founded by chef Alain Coumont in Brussels, Belgium in 1990.
Part cafe, part restaurant, Le Pain Quotidien is known for its rustic bread and communal tables.
Founded in 1828 by perfumer Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain, the French perfume house created scents for royalty, most notably French Emperor Napoleon III, earning Guerlain the prestigious title of being “His Majesty’s Official Perfumer.”
In addition to its exquisite fragrances, the luxury brand is known for its cosmetics and skin care.
No chance of a tropical storm here. Incredible pictures show luxury resort complete with sandy beaches, palm trees and clear blue water inside enormous German hangar surrounded by snow. With sandy beaches, clear blue water and palm trees, this looks like a spectacular and luxurious sun-kissed resort. Holidaymakers can be seen relaxing in swimming shorts and bikinis. Even the occasional flamingo can be spotted.
Fun: Despite appearances, not everything is as it seems at Tropical Islands
The ‘resort’ is actually located on the site of a former Soviet military air base in Krausnick, Germany, inside a hangar built originally to house airships designed to haul long-distance cargo. And despite it looking like temperatures are through the roof – outside the giant hanger it is actually snowing.
As these incredible pictures show, the resort contains a beach, a lagoon, and water slide and adventure park. Guests can enjoy numerous restaurants, evening shows and can also relax in a sauna.
Cold: Snow surrounds the giant hangar which houses Tropical Islands
Guests can also enjoy numerous restaurants, evening shows and saunas
A range of options are available for stays, from the basic to luxury. Accommodation includes quaint looking cottages and even beach tents. As well as flamingos, free-flying canaries also fly around the site. It is believed that the hall which Tropical Islands is located in is the biggest free-standing hall in the world.
Popular: Tropical Islands attracts up to 6,000 visitors a day and in its first year attracted 975,000 visitors
As well as the thousands of visitors each day, approximately 500 people work at the site. Tropical Islands opened to members of the public in 2004. Incredibly, the hangar, which is 360 metres long, 210 metres wide and 107 metres high, is tall enough to enclose the Statue of Liberty.