How do Italians celebrate Easter?
In a country that knows how to eat, festive holidays offer the perfect occasion to explore local food habits and customs, like traditional Easter dishes in Italy.
Easter lunch in Italy is an important family meal filled with symbolic foods, family favourites and seasonal fruits and vegetables.
From deep-fried artichokes to hearty lasagne, roast lamb and traditional pies, and baked desserts, there's something to appeal to all generations seated around the table at this symbolic time of year.
Here's a taste of traditional Easter dishes in Italy that you can try making at home this holiday season.
Traditional Easter dishes in Italy
Artichokes are in season in spring so what could be better than starting your Easter lunch with delicious lightly fried artichokes? Serve with a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of salsa verde.
Lasagne is a family favourite 'primo' for Easter but it doesn’t have to be a traditional meat dish. Take your pick of asparagus, artichoke, spinach, classic or vegan – the list is endless! Be inspired by these five lasagne recipe ideas.
Ragù alla Bolognese
If you love making a batch of meat sauce, try this dish that is sure to please the whole family. Brits may know it best as 'spaghetti bolognaise,' but the name is unheard of in Italy, where classic meat sauce is known as ragù.
What could be more traditional and seasonal than lamb at Easter? Tender spring lamb is a traditional roast that graces most household tables in Italy on Easter day. Learn how to get the best results when cooking a leg of lamb here.
Lamb ragù and artichokes
Lamb and artichokes are a classic springtime combination. If you love lamb but want to try a more refined recipe, try this chef recipe courtesy of Andrea Berton that comes with artichokes.
It doesn’t have to only be about the lamb! Vegetarians will love this traditional Easter cake known as 'Torta pasqualina Genovese,' which makes the most of the classic combination of eggs and spinach, all encased in a pastry crust. Find the recipe here.
Traditional Easter desserts in Italy
This traditional Italian Easter cake is the counterpart of Christmas panettone, except it's shaped like a dove (colomba, in Italian) and includes candied peel and usually no raisins. Why not be naughty and dip chunks of yours in some dessert wine or vin santo?
This typical Easter treat from Puglia is made in a round wreath symbolising the circle of life and often comes decorated with little eggs. Glazed and delicious, it is traditionally given to wish good luck and prosperity to the recipient. Find the recipe here.
This baked product is commonly found on the family tables of Calabria especially around Easter time. The loaf of bread hugs a raw egg, which is cooked in the oven along with the bread dough. It can be eaten either sweet or savoury.
Sweet Easter pizza
Among the traditional Easter desserts, don’t miss the typical sweet pizza from the central Italian region of Umbria. Delicious dipped in warm milk or a caffè latte.
This article was updated on 28/03/2023.