Aprile è un mese pieno di ponti!
If you speak a little Italian, you may know what this phrase means. Well, if you don’t, let me help you a bit. In Italian, ponte means bridge, but – figuratively speaking – it also means a long weekend due to a public holiday. Therefore, fare il ponte is to take advantage of a long weekend off when a public holiday falls either on a Friday or on a Monday.
Well, April in Italy gives you a lot of opportunities to fare il ponte! In April, we celebrate Liberation Day, which falls on April 25th, and we end the month with May 1st, which is Labor’s Day. When Easter falls in April as well, the month is jam-packed with holidays, making it one of my favorites months of the year. Unfortunately, this year Labor’s Day fell on a Sunday and Easter was in March, so we had just un ponte in April, but it was cool anyway.
Liberation’s Day is one of my most favorite holidays.
Known in Italian as Festa della Liberazione or simply as 25 Aprile, it celebrates the end of the civil war and the end of the nazi occupation in World War II. Such celebration has always been very important in my family: we lost some family members in Russia during the war and some others joined the resistance to fight against fascism, which makes 25 Aprile a very important date for us. We go to public celebrations and take some time to remember what happened. I love it because it is a chance to remember how lucky we are to be living in a free country.
April 25th has gotten a new meaning for me, recently, because I moved to a little village where such day is la festa del santo patrono as well. As you may know, each town in Italy is devoted to a certain saint and the whole town gets to celebrate on such saint’s day. The saint of the place where I live is San Marco, which falls on April 25th. This means a big town feast, with an open-air market, dances, parades and games for kids and adults alike.
This makes such day even more special!
We used to spend April 25th at my parents-in-law’s in the past, but since my mother-in-law passed away last year, we decided to go to the restaurant. I wanted to take some photos for you, just to show you what a typical pranzo della domenica (Sunday lunch) in Italy is, but the lighting was very bad. I just managed to take a photo of the dessert, which was tortino al cioccolato con le fragole (chocolate cake with a side of strawberries) – quite a common dessert in Italian restaurants, as of late.
(not exactly a perfect shot, but the dessert was delicious)
We are huge fans of vegetable gardens, here in my household. My husband and I have one, my parents have one, my father-in-law actually has TWO, one here and one by the sea, where the weather is warmer and gets better and tastier tomatoes and peppers. We are that crazy, yes we are. Having so many vegetable gardens to care for means a huge amount of work, let me tell you. But we love to grow our food and eat our own vegetables, free from chemicals and other nasty stuff, so it is definitely worth it.
The first thing we get from the garden, each year, are fave (fava beans) – which are part of one of the most typical Spring dishes, here in Italy. As a matter of fact, when Spring comes, it is customary to eat fave e salame (fava beans and salami) or fave e pecorino (fava beans and pecorino cheese). They make great food to be had at aperitivo: fava beans, salami, cheese, a glass of white wine and a warm Spring night.
What a perfect time, this is actually la bella vita, believe me.
(since I do not eat meat, I always choose the cheese option)
And you? What have you been doing lately? Is there a Spring dish where you live? Let me know in the comments below!
If you are interested in learning more about Italian culture and lifestyle, I’d suggest you jump on my digital Vespa and join Be Italian For A Month, your 30-day virtual journey to Italy.
You will also learn some Italian words, you’ll receive some typical Italian recipes – ready to be cooked and enjoyed, you’ll get to tour around Italy, and learn about Italian traditions, proverbs, stereotypes, you name it. Plus, some cute surprises along the way!