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The Typical Easter Flavors in Siena

Easter is little by little approaching, bringing alive the traditions typical of every single region in Italy.

In Siena's area, the real protagonists of the Easter lunch are the traditional desserts prepared between Lent and Pentecost. They all have a characteristic story to tell, one that dates back years and years ago. 

It is thought that the abundance of sweet dishes during Easter time is due to when, in the Middle Ages, people had to abstain from meat, milk, and eggs during the whole Lent week. For this reason, peasant families living in the Tuscan countryside used to store a lot of eggs, which were then used to prepare Sunday lunch.

Here are the traditional desserts that can still be found nowadays on Easter day.



The pandiramerino is probably one of the oldest recipes in the area. It is a soft and sweet bread made with extra virgin olive oil, raisins, and rosemary. According to tradition, pandiramerino was prepared on Holy Thursday, so it could be blessed before being eaten.

It is still common in some areas around Florence and the Chianti region.


Quaresimali cookies

Pandiramerino was usually served with Quaresimali, which means Lenten cookies.

They are dry cookies made of cocoa and orange peel in the shape of letters of the alphabet. It is said they were prepared for the first time in the nineteenth century by a group of nuns living in a convent between Florence and Prato. They tried to make a sweet recipe suitable for Lent's "lean" period (Lenten cookies do not contain butter, egg yolk, or fat). Tradition wants the cookies to have the shape of letters of the alphabet because, in this way, they recall the words of the Gospel. 

We do not know if this anecdote is true or born from popular folklore, and the fact is that Quaresimali cookies are still present on the tables of the Sienese and Florentines.


Schiacciata o Ciaccia di Pasqua

The Schiacciata is the real protagonist of Easter in Tuscany.

Although the name is difficult to pronounce for non-Italian speakers, it has a specific meaning. It comes from the verb "schiacciare," which means "to squash," and refers to the number of eggs people had to crack to prepare the dough.

It consists of a sweet bread with the aroma of anise, further enriched with orange peel, mint Rosolio, and other typical local liqueurs. Traditionally it is accompanied by a glass of Vinsanto.

In ancient times, people used to draw a set of rays starting from the center of the dough to make up the Radiant Sun of San Bernardino. Today this tradition is still observed in some towns in the province of Siena.


Corolli doughnuts

With the leftover dough from the preparation of the Schiacciata, another typical Easter cake from Siena was made: Corolli

Corolli are shaped like a doughnut and baked in the oven. They are soft and fragrant and have a delicious taste of aniseed, the main ingredient of this recipe.

There's an interesting anecdote concerning how children used to eat this dessert. Mothers used to tie the doughnut with a white satin ribbon around the kids' necks, who then tried to show off their skill in eating it without dropping it on the ground.

Nowadays, Corolli are not widespread on an industrial level. However, they can still be found in long-established bakeries and the locals' homes prepared by the wise hands of grandmothers.

Treat yourself to a spring escape among the Tuscan hills. Hotel Casolare Le Terre Rosse in San Gimignano awaits you to spend Easter together among excellent food and local traditions.

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