Waiting for the Holy Year, here are some info on the Holy Week and the Easter holidays in Rome and surroundings.
Let’s start with the core business of Easter in Rome: the Catholic celebrations.
On Maundy Thursday, April 2, the Chrism Mass for the blessing of the Holy Oils takes place at 9:30am in St. Peter’s Basilica. Holy Thursday also features the Mass of the Lord’s Supper – at 5:30pm in the St John Lateran basilica – that opens the Easter Triduum that includes Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.
The highlight of the Easter religious celebrations take place on Good Friday, April 3, when the Church mourns for Christ’s death and the Passion account from the Gospel of John is read and meditated in St. Peter’s (the Pope officiates) at 5pm. At 9:15pm Francis begins the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum.
Holy Saturday or the Easter vigil Day, April 4, features a mass from 8:30pm in the Vatican with Bergoglio officiating. Paschal candle is lit to symbolize Christ’s light and life.
Easter Sunday, April 5, is the day when Jesus rises. Blessing by the Pope at 10:15am in St. Peter’s square, Followed by the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing.
No specific or major masses on Easter Monday, April 6, which is a religious and bank holiday in Italy.
Christian celebrations in English: the Rome International Church, along the Via Cassia – north of Rome, opens its door to people of all faiths for an Easter breakfast and worship service on Easter Sunday from 10am.
Out of Rome, there are countless processions and celebrations on Good Friday, some of which are really impressive and are definitely worth the trip. Check out this old post of ours.
This year’s event is the Easter egg hunt. For the first time in Rome! On April 4, near the Caracalla’s Baths from 2pm.
Rome’s beautiful Zoo offers a good program for the Easter Holidays. In particular on April 2, 3, 4 and the 7th. The whole family can spend the day there with lots of workshops for kids.
Music lovers can enjoy Easter-themed concerts on April 1 – baroque melodies.
On Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, April 5 and 6 Tempietto offers two concerts.
The Rome Festival di Pasqua should also feature some concerts but their calendar is not online yet.
Art and Exhibitions – The Colosseum and the Roman Forum close at 2pm on April 3 for the Stations of the Cross. All the rest is always open. The only exceptions are the Vatican museums closed on both Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, April 5 and 6.
Something new for us (and we guess most of you) are the Passion and Resurrection scenes in the Valme parish church. Inspired by a medieval Neapolitan tradition, it is an interesting visit especially for those who have never seen the typical Christmas Nativity scenes. Free admission. Until April 19.
A must for those who are in Rome for Holy Thursday is a visit to the Trastevere church of S. Maria dell’Orto. Details in our post.
Colomba is the typical Italian cake for Easter time. Useful tips on how to get a special one in our article.
Chocolate eggs are another key element of the Holy Week’s gastronomic scene here. You can find some of the best ones in Rome here.
Artistic Eggs by the Bompiani pastry shop will also be on show this year.
The main meal here in Rome for Easter is actually breakfast. And this is what it makes it different from the rest of the country. The cheese cake, special filled pies, the corallina salami, boiled eggs and the artichokes omelet are some of the specialties for this unusually copious breakfast for Italian standards.
If you prefer a proper Easter meal we recommend you these restaurants that are open on both Easter Sunday and Monday: Lanificio in the Pietralata district, Rosti in the trendy Pigneto borough, Cesare al Casaletto in Monteverde (lunch and dinner) and Flavioalvelavevodetto in Testaccio (also lunch and dinner).