In ancient times these little buns where sold only on Holy Thursday, before Easter, in Florentine bakeries.
The rosemary and grapes represent holy Communion. The cross cut on top symbolizes the connection between religion and bread. They were usually blessed in church and then given away in exchange for an offering. Nowadays you can find them in bakeries for a few weeks around Easter time.
If I have to choose the most significant/meaningful food of my life, this bun will be in the top 10, or even 5.
The fact that you find them so rarely, since they are available only around Easter, makes them so special. Like the Florentine grape bread, for me it has the taste of the hills around Florence.
Usually, I try to respect the traditions around the times of year when food should be prepared. I like to cook rice fritters for Carnival and share Panettone for Christmas. What makes them delicious is their connection to something bigger, and stripping them of that context robs them of their taste for me. But for the rosemary and raisin buns, I’d love them to be special all year around, especially for Sunday breakfast. They are sweet with the syrup, and perfect with butter and jam, or even some goat cheese.