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Easter in Piana degli Albanesi

One of the most colorful and joyful Easter spectacles in Italy takes place in Piana degli Albanesi, outside Palermo, Sicily. Situated on a mountainous plateau, on the eastern side of the Mount Pizzuta, the people of Piana degli Albanesi migrated to Sicily in the 15th century under the threat of the Turkish invasion. They were granted a patch of land hidden away in the mountains by the Bishop of Monreale and it was there that they founded their town.

The residents have maintained their unique traditions throughout the centuries and many of their churches are filled with valuable icons devoted to Saint George.

At Easter, Piana degli Albanesi comes alive. After Mass, the main street is host to one of the most colorful processions in Sicily. Girls and young men parade up the street in traditional costumes to the accompaniment of children playing the accordion in an atmosphere of joy and happiness. Red Easter eggs are a tradition in Piana dating back centuries and are a symbol that recalls life, fertility and resurrection. They are used to adorn the Easter Breads and are blessed and distributed to the devotees and tourists alike following the procession.