LivingTravelGuide to Easter in Rome and Vatican City

Guide to Easter in Rome and Vatican City

As the seat of the Catholic Church, Rome is the top Italian destination for Easter week, or Holy Settimana , primarily due to events led by Pope Francis in Vatican City and elsewhere in Rome. If you want to visit Rome during Holy Week (also called Holy Week), be sure to book your hotel well in advance. If you want to attend a papal mass (more on that below), you will need to reserve your free tickets months in advance.

01
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Palm sunday

Direction
Forum Sancti Petri, Vatican City, Vatican City

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If you want to attend the Vatican Palm Sunday Mass, arrive early and prepare to stand for a long period of time. The Blessing of the Palms, the Procession and the Holy Mass for Palm Sunday take place in the morning, generally starting at 9:30 am, in the Plaza de San Pedro. Although this event is free, the square is usually very crowded and it is difficult to get a ticket.

Visit the Papal Audience website for information on how to request tickets to see the Pope at Easter and at other times throughout the year.

02
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Holy Thursday Mass

Direction
St. Peter’s Square, 00120 Vatican City, Vatican City

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Telephone

+39 06 6982

Web

Visit the website

Holy Thursday Mass is celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica, usually at 9:30 a.m. A Papal Mass is also celebrated in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome, usually at 5:30 p.m.

03
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Good Friday Mass and procession in Rome

On Good Friday there is a papal mass in the Vatican in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5pm. As with other Papal Masses, admission is free but tickets are required and can be requested from the Papal Audience website.

At night, the ritual of the Via Crucis , or Via Crucis , takes place near the Colosseum in Rome, usually starting at 9:15 pm, during which the Pope visits each of the 12 Stations of the Cross. The Stations of the Via Crucis were placed in the Colosseum in 1744 by Pope Benedict XIV and the bronze cross in the Colosseum was erected in 2000, the year of Jubilee. On Good Friday, a huge cross with burning torches lights up the sky as the stations of the cross are described in various languages. In the end, the Pope gives a blessing. This is a very moving and popular procession. If you go, expect large crowds and be aware of the possibility of pockets being carried as you would in any busy tourist spot. This event is free and ticketless.

04
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Vigil of Holy Saturday

Direction
St. Peter’s Square, 00120 Vatican City, Vatican City

Get directions

Telephone

+39 06 6982

Web

Visit the website

On Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday, the Pope celebrates an Easter Vigil Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica. It starts at 8:30 pm and lasts for several hours. As with other Papal Masses, free tickets must be requested on the Papal Audience website. Although there are thousands of attendees inside St. Peter’s (the basilica seats 15,000), this is still one of the most intimate ways to experience a papal Easter mass. Because you will go through a security check to enter the basilica, plan to eat a late lunch / early dinner and arrive several hours before mass begins.

Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05
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Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square

Direction
Forum Sancti Petri, Vatican City, Vatican City

Get directions

Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass on Easter Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, usually starting at 10:15 a.m. Mass is free, but tickets are required. They must be requested months in advance through the Papal Audience website. Even with tickets, your place in the square is not guaranteed, so arrive early and wait, on your feet, for several hours.

At noon, the Pope gives the Easter message and blessing, called Urbi et Orbi from the central loggia, or balcony, of St. Peter’s Basilica. Attendance here is free and free, but only those who arrive early and wait will have a chance to get closer to the blessing.

06
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Pasquetta (Easter Monday)

Pasquetta , the Monday after Easter Sunday, is also a holiday in Italy but much more jovial than the solemn events of Easter week. It is common to have a picnic or a barbecue, and many Romans go out of the city to the countryside or to the sea. At Castel Sant’Angelo, in Vatican City, a grand fireworks display over the Tiber River ends the Easter week celebrations.

07
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Easter holiday

Easter marks the end of Lent, so food plays an important role in the celebrations. Traditional Easter foods include lamb, artichokes, and special Pannetone and Colomba Easter cakes (the latter is shaped like a dove). Although many restaurants in Rome will close on Easter Sunday, you should be able to find places that serve Easter lunches or dinners, probably a multi-course set menu. Arrive hungry and plan to stay for a while!

Since the Easter Bunny is not an Italian tradition, festive treats for children usually consist of large, hollow chocolate eggs, sometimes containing a toy. You will see them, along with Colomba, in many shop windows. If you want to try Easter cakes or other sweets, we recommend that you buy them from a bakery rather than a grocery store or bar. Although they will likely cost more, they are generally much better than the prepackaged versions.

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