Easter is celebrated by millions of people around the world, as a cultural event and religious holiday.
For those of you interested in experiencing Buona Pasqua, here’s all you need to know about Easter in Rome.
Rome is the home of the Vatican and the Pope, so when Easter comes around, there is a lot going on. Christians from around the world have an eye on the Eternal City and Vatican at this time.
Easter Sunday and Easter Monday (the day after Easter) are national holidays. Shops, banks and some restaurants will be closed. Many tourist destinations remain open, but it’s best to check in advance if you are planning any sightseeing on these days.
During Settimana Santa (Holy Week), most churches in Rome celebrate the different events of this strongly religious week. However, if you wish, you can participate in the same religious events in Rome as the Pope.
There are advantages and disadvantages to celebrating Easter at St. Peter’s Basilica with the Pope. Disadvantages include busy crowds at the Vatican as tens of thousands of faithful from all over the world arrive to celebrate together. Advantages include the incredible opportunity to witness Easter traditions up close and in person as you experience the Pope’s venerable services along with all of the people assembled on this special occasion.
The following are the main events of Holy Week that will be celebrated by the Pope in 2017. Keep in mind that you’ll want to plan ahead and arrive early to contend with the crowds:
Blessing of the Palms, Procession and Holy Mass (Palm Sunday)
Sunday, April 9 at 10:00 a.m., Pope Francis will deliver a Papal Mass at Saint Peter’s Square for the Celebration of Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord and 32nd World Youth Day.
Celebration of the Lord’s Passion (Good Friday)
Pope Francis delivers Papal Mass in the Vatican Basilica, Friday, April 14 at 5:00 p.m.
Way of the Cross at the Colosseum (Good Friday)
Later in the evening, a procession led by the Pope from the Colosseum to Palatine Hill begins at 9:15 p.m.
Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday)
Easter Vigil in the Holy Night is a Papal Mass at the Vatican Basilica beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 15.
Easter Mass (Easter Sunday)
Pope Francis delivers Mass of the Day at Saint Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday at 10:00 a.m.
“Urbi et Orbi” (Easter Sunday)
“Urbi et Orbi” is a papal address and apostolic blessing delivered by the pontiff to the city of Rome and the world on solemn occasions. Pope Francis is scheduled to deliver “Urbi et Orbi” this Easter at 12:00 p.m. in the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica.
Easter is just one of many fantastic occasions to experience the unique spectacle of the Eternal City, so don’t hesitate to check out your options. AIFS Study Abroad intern and study abroad programs in Rome are available year-round.