Halloween in Tuscany
Halloween is not a traditional holiday in Italy but it’s becoming more and more popular, with parties being planned in more or less all the major cities. Don’t expect great celebrations in a small village like ours, though. Here the Italian traditions are still stronger than globalization.
In Italy, we celebrate Ognissanti or simply I Santi (All Saints’ Day) on November 1st and I morti (All Souls’ Day) on November 2nd. Only the former is an actual holiday. Obviously, Ognissanti, il Giorno dei Morti and Halloween all have roots in some “pagan” festival, promptly substituted with a religious festivity as is common in the history of the Christian church.
All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are celebrated with the family. Ognissanti is a festive day, on which people go to mass and then have lunch together. In our area of Tuscany we celebrate with two typical desserts: Schiaccia dei Santi (elsewhere schiacciata, meaning focaccia) and Pane dei Santi (meaning All Saints’ bread). Schiaccia dei Santi is a type of focaccia and it contains raisins, figs and walnuts. Pane dei Santi is exactly the same, but instead of being crispy and thin, the same ingredients are added to bread dough. Castagnaccio, a delicious dessert made with chestnut flour, is also often prepared at this time of the year.
On All Souls’ Day, I Morti, people go to the cemetery and pay their respects to their beloved departed. Most people who have moved away from the village return for the occasion and bring flowers. The traditional flowers for the occasion are chrysanthemums. They symbolize death in our culture, and are always associated with cemeteries and graveyards (so don’t give them as a present!).
Over the last few years, people have been organizing Halloween parties in almost every large town and city. Halloween themed decorations and candies are sold in shops and it’s not uncommon to see people dressed up in Halloween costumes.
Some of the Halloween traditions, though, are also popular in Tuscany, such as pumpkin carving. Kids traditionally carve pumpkins with their grandparents and put them on their balcony or windows with candles inside. Pumpkin carving is more a seasonal activity though, rather than being related to a particular day.
If you are interested in discovering the traditions of our corner of Italy at this time of the year, check our Special Offers page and come spend Halloween in Tuscany… or rather… All Saints’ Day! It’s also the perfect time of the year to learn about olive oil and the olive harvest!
And if you want to get to know more about Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day in Tuscany, you might find these blog posts interesting:
- Ognissanti and il Giorno dei Morti: not quite the Italian Halloween
- Spooky Tuscany Stories for Halloween
- Ghostly Stories for a Tuscan Halloween…