Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter 2012 in Florence

Spring has sprung here in Florence, as shown by the view from our office window at Borgo degli Albizi.
Here in the courtyard of a Renaissance palace, our fig tree is in leaf--if you look closely you will even see tiny figs--with pale violet of a climbing wisteria in the background.

New life, that is Easter's universal theme.  When I cast about for a subject for this post,
 I remembered an Easter article of mine that was published in the national insert of the International Herald Tribune on the unveiling of the newly-restored Giotto crucifix in Santa Maria Novella along with Masaccio's Trinity fresco in the same church.  A sidebar (related story) on the same page that I also wrote was on Easter traditions and happenings in Florence, including the famous Parenti Easter egg display.

GiĆ , Parenti.  Beautiful Florence's faithful blog photographer Allison Clark and I headed over to the Parenti shop on via Tornabuoni, where it has been located since 1865.
Twelve years ago, I wrote about Parenti's famous Easter egg collection displayed in the window for passersby to see.  Now Allison and I are arriving at the shop, our reflection in a silver Easter egg.

You may notice the bronze dancing figure close to the egg.  This Easter, Parenti is also displaying the bronze figures of Florentine sculptor Antonio Crivelli on the theme of form freeing itself from matter, symbolizing subsequent spiritual elevation.

This is one of the Crivelli exhibits we found in an Easter installation
outside the shop.

Inside, we feasted our eyes on Parenti's precious Easter eggs of porcelain, wood, enamel and gold.
The kind owner, Giuliana, explained to us that painted egg is an Easter tradition because it represents "the emergence of new life and the transcendence achieved with the Christian resurrection."

"The elaborate chiseled workmanship reflects the richness of the soul's hidden depth," she said.

This Easter, the theme of resurrection is especially close to Giuliana's heart since her husband Michele, great-grandson of the Parenti founder, passed away last December.

"Florence has always been the city of art and humanism, consequently what it produces is luxurious and of high quality,"  she told us.  "Good taste is innate to Florentines, as is freedom of choice."

As living proof of this philosophy, while we were speaking, a woman from Siena came in asking about 
an antique necklace of coral and jade.
Giuliana took it out of the shop window.

"Try it on," she said to the lady, who asked in turn, "how much does it cost?"

Giuliana answered calmly, "30.000 euros ($45,000)
Wow!  She even laid it down on my 
Beautiful Florence diary.

Gorgeous.  The Sienese woman answered, "I'll have to come back here with my husband."

Well to feast the eye on beauty costs nothing, so here are some more of Parenti's one-of-a-kind Easter eggs.

Too unique to break open.

Speaking of feasting the senses, another Easter tradition is the chocolate egg.
Vestri on Borgo degli Albizi has some of the city's best, in dark chocolate,
chocolate hazelnut, milk chocolate, almond chocolate, even sugar-free chocolate for diabetics.
These delectables may be custom-ordered.

Here is Leonardo Vestri proudly holding one of his handmade chocolate creations like a trophy.
The chocolate egg is hollow, and is meant to be broken open also to discover the hidden surprise inside,"which can be personalized,"
says Leonardo.

Of course, beautiful packaging is important as well in Beautiful Florence, and the decorated egg plus wrapping and bows is a better bargain that the 30.000 euro antique necklace.
The average price is 20 euro.  Here is one artistic example at Vestri.

Buona Pasqua!


  1. Buona Pasqua also to you, Rosanna!!!

  2. I love this entry-it's beautiful! I cannot wait to be in Firenze.