April 25: Liberation Day
It's a public holiday since 1946. April 25 marks the liberation of the country by Allied troops and the Italian resistance from the fascist government and the Nazi occupation at the end of the Second World War in 1945.
A national holiday in Spring
On April 25, schools are closed, as are many public offices. Italians celebrate Festa della Liberazione (Liberation Day) as a national holiday. It commemorates the end of the Fascist regime and the Nazi occupation during World War Two; Festa della Liberazione also honors Italy's Resistance movement of Partigiani (partisans) opposing the regime.
How is Liberation Day celebrated?
As our loyal readers know by now, every occasion is good to tell you about a piece of Italian culture through the flavors of our most beloved dishes. Liberation Day is not a holiday with big lunches and tables, as are other celebrations, including Easter, Pasquetta (the day after Easter), Christmas, or Ferragosto (August 15). However, some do not miss the opportunity to celebrate with relatives and friends. The lunch is very simple, often it is a "grigliata" (the Italian version of the American barbeque). Usually, it is celebrated outdoors since the holiday falls in Spring; in this period in Italy the weather is generally very nice. Many opt for a barbecue rather than a sit-down meal. If you are in a tourist location and plan to celebrate in a farmhouse in the countryside, we recommend that you book well in advance. Restaurants in the countryside are usually packed on April 25. Book as early as you can!
What to eat on April 25?
On the menu for Liberation Day, you can find grilled meats, vegetables, and delicious platters of cold cuts and cheeses. If you don't want to go to a farmhouse or a restaurant, you can cook by yourself. Usually, Italians opt for practical and tasty dishes already prepared at home and easy to carry around in your favorite park. Here are some ideas. First of all, let's talk about appetizers. We recommend preparing a board of cold cuts and cheeses, accompanied by vegetables in oil. An easy option that all your guests will love. Choose also a good bread, better if artisan. For the first course, you can choose the traditional lasagna. This stuffed pasta can really be made in dozens of ways in addition to the classic version with mozzarella and ground meat sauce. There is green lasagna, fish lasagna, but also vegetarian lasagna. Another great option is rice salad, a dish that Italians love, especially in Spring and summer (it is ubiquitous at every Italian picnic). For a second course, you can grill some meat. Remember that many Italian parks have ready-to-use grills. Don't forget dessert! Given the proximity of Easter, it is not uncommon to find at the April 25 picnic some Colomba (the typical Easter dove-shaped cake) leftover from the holiday. On the other hand, if you prefer to make your own dessert, a perfect option is ciambellone, a dry, easy-to-make cake (every Italian home has its own favorite version).
- Donatella Mulvoni