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Easter Bunny and Italy

My boys are older (13, 12 and 11) and we will be in Italy for Easter. In the US, we still enjoy the fun of egg hunts and Easter baskets (more Spring based stuff like water bottles, flip flops and a few candy trinkets as well). We will be traveling to Florence the Thursday prior to Easter and will be in the city through Monday.

I would like to mark the holiday for my boys somehow but am cognizant that we won't be able to bring a ton of 'stuff' back from our visit. I understand Italian traditions are a bit different than our own and often include holiday sweets and painted eggs (not from PAAS lol) but not an Easter Bunny :-) I would love your well-traveled ideas on how to mark this holiday for my fellas. I just don't want to get to Florence and be scrambling and a general internet search is a bit overwhelming.

TIA!

Posted by
11983 posts

Rabbit and hare play a very important role in Tuscany's culinary tradition. Therefore many restaurants in Florence will be able to satisfy your boys' desire to see the Italian version of Easter Bunny either in baked or stewed form.

If you are in Florence for Easter Sunday don't forget to attend the "Scoppio del Carro" event, at noon in front of the Duomo.

Posted by
11613 posts

In most of Europe, the egg has more significance at Easter than the bunny.

Why not participate in the way the holiday is celebrated in Italy? There are all sizes of Easter Eggs (some filled with various treats, look at the Perugina website for examples).

There are special Easter breads and other foods that you might want your boys to try. If they are interested, they could look up the meaning of each of these treats.

Perhaps a little discourse on the religious foundation of the holiday?

Aside to Roberto: I believed in the Easter Bunny until I was seven, I still will not eat wabbit.

Posted by
11983 posts

I know it must be difficult for Americans to perceive the difference in pronunciation of a single consonant (as in "caro", which means dear) from a double consonant (as in "carro", which means cart). It's probably due to the fact that English is not a phonetic language where sounds and spelling are always consistent).

In Italian, the double consonant is more stressed, stronger, than the single consonant, which has a softer pronunciation. In English think of the double L in Jello as opposed to the single L in jealous. The latter is softer. Same with Ferry and Fairy, where the latter is softer, although only slightly since the letter R is not a rolling sound at all in English.

If you can't perceive any difference in the sound of the R in Ferry or Fairy, or the sound of L in Jello and Jealous, is because the ear of Anglophones may not have been trained to perceive these slight variations. But I am sure you can, if you are a linguist. Linguists have that training.

Aside to Zoe. The Easter bunny is unknown in the Italian tradition, but rest assured that he would not make it in Tuscany too long before he'd be placed inside an oven at 400 degrees. If you want I'll send you some great recipes and change your mind (if you happen to be in Vicenza, don't order rabbit. That town is famous for not having stray cats. I wonder why)

Posted by
11 posts

off topic (sort of)
Robert is the Italian word for rabbit coniglio?
Do they use rabbit (coniglio) or hare (lepre?) on the menu

thanks for the tip on not eating rabbit in venice lol

Posted by
7329 posts

I'm with Zoe, lol, I grew up with Bambi/Thumper and the Easter Bunny and I will not eat rabbit. I don't care how it's cooked 😊

I think the chocolate Perugina Egg is a great idea.

Posted by
49 posts

Great idea on the chocolate egg and confections were on my list. I'm a little surprised that we can have our Easter bunny cooked or stewed, but I'm from the Southern part of the US where many still eat squirrel :-)

Y'all are wonderful. Thank you for your suggestions!

Posted by
11983 posts

Rabbit is coniglio, also on the menu.
Hare is Lepre. You rarely find it on restaurant menus, except for pasta al sugo Di lepre (hare meat sauce). Coniglio al forno, arrosto, in umido, or fritto (baked, roasted, stewed, fried) is common in Tuscany however not as much at restaurants in Florence city center. It must be that so many customers are Easter bunny loving Americans.

Posted by
1775 posts

he'd be placed inside an oven at 400 degrees

Oh, c'mon... don't be harsh to those little, cute pets: 200 degrees doubling the oven time is the only way to properly cook rabbit and to avoid it getting dry.

Bambi's mother always provided a perfect Easter Monday lunch when I was a kid. But nothing compared to Bambi itself! That time my grandfather was carrying his double-barreled shotgun ... ah sweet childhood memories...

Posted by
11983 posts

Darioalb.
Since you are writing to a largely American audience, you have to talk Fahrenheit.
At high temperatures, Fahrenheit is approximately double the degrees in Celsius.
So 400 F = 200 C (204 to be exact). So as you can see I'm not burning the bunny.

Posted by
6119 posts

You guys are making my day. I'm loving this exchange.

And Susan and Zoe - in Tuscany you'd probably eat rabbit and love it, as long as you didn't know what it was. I was like you and never ate rabbit because of Thumper, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail. But after having some of the rabbit stews and other dishes in Italy (and elsewhere in Europe), I'm a convert.

Posted by
6959 posts

Zoe--drive on down and I'll convince you with a northern France style rabbit in white wine with mushrooms and cream, or if you're watching your calories and arteries, Provencal style with tomatoes and other vegies. Stew the rabbit!

Susan--aren't you a vegetarian no matter if it's Bambi, Elsie, or Chicken Little?

What about baby goat or lamb in Italy? Those are special Easter meats in Provence.

Posted by
7329 posts

Bets, yes I am - I don't believe in eating any animal - but even before I was a vegetarian I would not eat rabbit 🐰

Posted by
11613 posts

Lamb, definitely.

I think the rabbit aversion started with all the bunnies in the woods behind our house - I just figured that for Easter they got dressed up and dropped off the baskets.

Posted by
7737 posts

The difference between the pronunciation of caro and carro is that the double r is rolled while the single r is just a single flip of the tongue. As for double consonants, there are good examples in English that we just don't think about. Best example I've read is "Unaimed arrows hit unnamed targets." Notice how you hang onto the two n's in "unnamed", longer than the single in "unaimed." Once you start listening for them, you'll notice them a lot more. e.g. the difference in the "k" in bookkeeper and beekeeper.

Posted by
6959 posts

Which is why in France it's the law, or used to be the law, that the rabbit''s feet be visible hanging in the butcher shop, because during the war cats disappeared,

Posted by
4150 posts

Roberto, thanks for the laugh.

We also grew up eating the occasional rabbit and squirrel in Oklahoma. (Fried squirrel really does taste like chicken.) When we lived in Poland the rabbits and hares at the market all had their furry feet still attached, so they could be identified. I never heard it was to distinguish them from cats, although come to think of it, we saw lots of pet dogs in Poland, but not cats. Hmmm.

Posted by
280 posts

I ate coniglio for the first time in 2014 in the little Italian village of Apricale. It was a ravioli filled with stewed rabbit and topped with a reduced broth. Delicious!! In fact it was so good that we went back the next evening and had the same meal. I'm looking forward to eating rabbit again this summer in Umbria. Offal in Rome might be more difficult.

Posted by
4539 posts

I have a feeling the OP decided to abandon this post which started with questions about the Easter bunny and ended with how rabbit can be; "baked, roasted, stewed, & fried!".

I really doubt that 🐰 tastes like chicken...

Posted by
49 posts

Actually this Southern gal has already had rabbit stew so I have enjoyed this thread immensely :-) Of course, I am guessing that the taste runs quite different in the mountains of the US vs. Tuscany. I hope I get to find out!

Posted by
23983 posts

I'm glad that you haven't been scared off.......😭

Posted by
92 posts

The supermarkets and shops will be filled with big chocolate Easter eggs, hollow, with toys and other treats in the middle. They are even organized by age and gender, so if you are looking to give them a treat, albeit not a basket, you'll find something appropriate. We have been in Europe for Easter 3 of the past 4 years, and heading to Italy again this year. My children are younger than yours but are super excited to be in Italy for Easter, maybe because of all the treats, maybe because it does feel more special. In any case, it shouldn't be too hard to make the holiday memorable for your family.

Posted by
11 posts

thanks for the laugh Roberto!
I read your first post too quickly and thought you said to avoid "coniglio" in Venezia :)
I was planning on saving my rabbit meals for Toscana anyway. As I'm staying in Oltrarno, I think I may find coniglio on the menu somewhere :)

For the meat-eating readers here, who don't eat rabbit because they are cute and fluffy, I have to tell you if you ate it and didn't know what you were having, you would love it

Posted by
4539 posts

Pacingoamy,

Your boys may end up liking the Italian chocolate Easter eggs so much, that you may decide to start a new tradition!

I've seen those brightly wrapped Italian chocolate eggs at the Italian deli nearby.

Happy Easter in Italy!