Since Easter is one of the most important holidays in the Catholic faith it draws visitors from every corner of the world to celebrate special Easter mass with the Pope in the Vatican. We receive a lot of questions related to the events that surround Rome Easter, so we’ve put together this FAQ guide to answer the most commonly asked questions. Do you have a question about Easter in Rome? Share it with us in the comments below and we’ll get back to you!
The main religious festivities begin the three days leading up to Easter Sunday, starting with Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Saturday. The festivities recreate the Bible’s account for Jesus’ preparation crucifixion. For up-to-date information, visit the official Vatican Website to view the calendar and the Vatican-posted program.
In the morning (usually about 9:30am) a special mass takes place at St. Peter’s Basilica. This is a good opportunity to visit the Vatican without an large crowd. Later in the day there is a second special mass (usually about 5:00pm) to celebrate the Last Supper. At this time the Pope washes the feet of 12 priests, representing the 12 Apostles.
Traditionally there is no mass because all worshipers are mourning the death of Jesus. There is however a special service held in the afternoon with Eucharist blessed the day before. In the evening the Pope leads a very special Stations of the Cross procession at the Colosseum.
A late night service, Easter Vigil, is held at St. Peter’s.
Easter Sunday mass is held in St. Peter’s Square to engage with the massive crowd. Tickets are required but are free. Tickets are available by faxing your request to the Pontifical Household at +39 06 6988 5863 (More information)
April is one of those months in Rome where the weather is quite difficult to predict. However Rome tends to be wettest during the spring, so don’t be surprised if it rains. Degree-wise, Rome isn’t a particularly cold city, even if it rains, but be prepared for wet, chilly weather as a worst-case scenario.
It depends, parts of the city (near the Vatican, for obvious reasons) becomes very congested with throngs of Pilgrims and visitors who’ve come to Rome for the religious festivities. If you’re looking to escape the crowds, there are plenty of other neighborhoods in the city to stay. You can explore other neighborhoods in Rome on the map at Rome-Accommodation.net.
No, the Vatican Museums are closed Easter Sunday and Monday. Most other museums and monuments keep normal operating hours during the Easter festivities.
Easter Breakfast in Italy is special and differs primarily in that it’s one of the few times Italians eat savory breakfast items, in contrast to the usual sweets with coffee. While traditional breakfast will vary by family, breakfast typically includes pizza sbattuta (a rich cake), coratella con carciofi (a sauteèd dish of artichoke hearts, chicken hearts and livers), hard boiled eggs, and salami.
Most Italian homes will host a large family lunch at home or in a restaurant to celebrate Easter. The meal is typically big, featuring all courses: antipasti, primi (pasta), secondi (meat – traditionally baked lamb), dolci (dessert). Many restaurnats in the center of Rome will offer special Pranzo di Pasqua (Easter Lunch) specials featuring traditional Easter dishes.
Easter Monday (called Pasquetta) is also a holiday in Italy and again celebrated with family and friends, though the holiday is more casual.
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Visiting Rome for Easter and have more questions? Share them with us in the comments below or contact us directly and we’ll be happy to assist!