Things to Do: Easter in RomeApril 12, 2017 10:00 am
Witness the beating, spiritual heart of the Italian capital with these fantastic things to do this Easter in Rome!
As a deeply Catholic city, it’s no surprise that Easter is kind of a big deal in Rome. The city is transformed by blue skies, vibrant florals, religious processions and some of the most moving masses of the year, which makes it one of the best yet busiest times of the year to visit the Italian capital. Whether you’re Catholic or not, the city welcomes all people to join in the festivities and here’s a few things to do this Easter in Rome!
April, 14, Good Friday
Via Crucis at the Colosseum
As one of the most memorable ceremonies of the Catholic holiday, Via Crucis honours Jesus Christ’s struggle to carry his own crucifix to his eventual crucifixion through a procession re-enactment. Beginning at the Colosseum at 9:15pm, Pope Francis will start the tradition with an unforgettable mass open to the public before a crucifix is carried to thirteen different locations named the Stations of the Cross. As one of the most moving and sombre rituals of the holiday, it’s a great insight into Catholicism for those unfamiliar with its rituals. Visitors hoping to visit the Colosseum for sightseeing purposes may be disappointed however, as the Colosseum’s regular tourism services are limited.
Palm Sunday – Easter Sunday
Easter Mass at St Peter’s Basilica
Throughout Easter, St Peter’s Basilica runs regular masses open to the public and besides Christmas, they’re the most subscribed events of the year. Visitors hoping to sit in on its masses are advised to book their free tickets a few months in advance if they want to sit in the cathedral, however people are welcome to sit in St Peter’s Square to watch the live broadcast. Key Easter masses led by the Pope include the Celebration of Penitential Rites on March 17 to herald the start of Easter, a Good Friday mass at 5pm on April 14, a vigil on Easter Saturday (April 15) at 8:30pm to welcome new Catholics to the church and finally the grand Easter Sunday mass at 10:15am
April 17, Easter Monday
This Easter Monday celebration is one where families come together and leave the bustling city behind for the seaside, countryside or find themselves a tranquil spot in Borghese Park for a picnic. If you’re keen on joining in the tradition, Rome’s most popular beach Ostia Lido is just a short distance from Piramide – the area’s also a fantastic place to explore once you’ve finished with your feast with the stunning Ostia Antica ruins towering over the area.
April 17, Easter Monday
If you’re planning on staying in the main Roman drag, it’s worth securing a spot on the banks of the River Tiber to catch the breathtaking fireworks display over Castel Sant’Angelo. While the exact time of the show is hard to pin down, it’s worth asking tourist information or your hotel concierge for an idea of when the fireworks will start. With Castel Sant’Angelo’s statue of Archangel Michael set against a sky of rainbow lights, this picturesque event is one worth breaking out your camera for.
Rome embraces spring and all its blooms during spring, with hundreds of thousands of flowers and a flood of greenery bringing the capital to life. (Last year, over 30,000 tulips, hyacinths and daffodils were used in just one Easter Sunday display.) Even if you don’t intend to join the Easter celebrations, the city is still at its most beautiful around this time with the Spanish Steps lined with lilies and rhododendrons and Aventine Hill’s Rose Garden in full bloom.