This Sicilian street is entirely made of bread during Easter

Around much of Europe, Easter commemorations often involve sweetened specialty breads. From babska in Eastern Europe to hot cross buns in the U.K. and from paasstol in the Netherlands to colomba di Pasqua in Italy.

The symbolism of bread

Sweetened bread is an important symbolic food and its connection to Easter goes back centuries. It’s a staple that’s associated with the communion and Christ’s offering of bread during the Last Supper.

In Italy, bread plays a key role in Easter celebrations. We already wrote about la colomba di Pasqua, which is popular across the country around this time of the year. But there are many other types of Easter bread on a regional and local level in Italy, including pizza di Pasqua in central Italy and coccoi in Sardinia.

In Sicily they take Easter bread very seriously...

However, in the Silician town of San Biagio Platani they have taken the concept of Easter bread to the next level. Almost every other Easter, the main street of this village is transformed into a bread lover’s paradise. The citizens of San Biagio Platani commemorate Easter with an elaborate display of street structures made entirely out of… bread. Yes, you heard that right: bread! For months, locals work to create arches, domes, vaults and other intricate elements all made with bread as well as other natural ingredients such as cereal, pasta, asparagus and laurel. The result is a truly unique spectacle that attracts visitors from near and far. These incredible creations are known as the Archi di Pasqua, or Easter Arches.

Arches made of bread for Easter        Baked decorations 

The origins of the Easter Arches of San Biagio Platani

The Easter Arches tradition in San Biagio Platani goes back to the 1600s, when two Catholic confraternities started a contest to create the most beautiful decorations covering the street for Easter. The same two confraternities are still at the base of the tradition today. In the months leading up to Easter, their members gather to work on the intricate elements and structures that make up the Easter Arches. Although the two groups compete against each other for grandiosity and beauty, the combined result is there for all to enjoy and take pride in. In real Easter spirit, it’s a true feast of community and togetherness in which bread takes centre stage.

Mural decorations made of bread   Mural decorations made of bread

Images credits: Experience Sicily Tours, Museo degli Archi di Pasqua, Domenico Castaldo, Diego Schilirò, Valdikam-Pierfilippo Spoto (via Instagram)