In addition to its highly religious significance, Easter has undoubtedly become an important socio-cultural marker as well. Listen closely to locals this week and you're likely to hear the standard Italian saying Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi (‘Christmas with your family and Easter with whomever you wish'), used by many as an excuse to head out of town to celebrate the weekend with friends and loved ones who may or may not share your last name. Easter is the end of the winter haul from Christmas to spring-marking the beginning of the bella stagione, longer days, warmer weather and the infamous changing of the closets where we make room for our lightweight dresses and summer suits by storing away winter's heavy garb. In fact, the word pasqua derives from the Hebrew pesach, meaning passage or liberation. Often celebrated in Italy with a big meal on Easter Sunday, the holiday is followed by a traditional outing to the countryside on Pasquetta (Easter Monday) for some fresh air and an invigorating outdoor picnic. Regardless of your faith, we at The Florentine wish you a very happy Pasqua-may your passage into spring be happy and healthy!