I think the Italians have figured out a better way to celebrate the two major holidays of the year, Christmas and Easter - they have another holiday the day after. Natale, or Christmas, is followed by San Stefano which honors the first martyr in the New Testament. Pasqua, or Easter, is followed by Pasquetta (little Easter) which is simply a day where families and friends go into the country to enjoy the spring weather. This allows people to enjoy the Natale and Pasqua holidays without worrying about going back to work the next day.
Here in Ascoli Piceno the centro storico was busy both Saturday and Sunday nights with the piazze and streets packed with people out strolling, people watching or gathering for drinks or gelato. Today Ascoli Piceno looks deserted, there are few people on the streets and in the piazze and even the parking areas, which are normally always at a premium, are mostly empty.
We took advantage of the warm weather and drove into the hills north of town and found a spot in a field with some olive trees where we had a view of Ascoli in the valley below and Monte dell’Ascensione behind us to sit in the grass and have a picnic. The vista included the snow capped Monte Sibillini to the west and Gran Sasso to the south.