Rome is an amazing place to visit in the spring and especially round Easter time when the weather has turned warm and the sunny days are back and all the flowers are in bloom.
Easter or “Pasqua” in Italian is one of the major holidays in the Italian calendar. Italy, being a Catholic country has a lot of religious parades and celebrations. Every church will be open for services on Easter weekend and even if you are not religious you are still welcome to attend. Priests will also be going door-to-door blessing shops and private homes for Easter.
On Good Friday, the Pope celebrates the “Via Crucis” which means “Stations of the Cross”. The ceremony which takes place near the Colosseum involves a huge burning cross while the stations of the cross are described. It closes with a blessing from the Pope. For Easter, the National Music Festival will host a Stations of the Cross concert at Tempietto, in Piazza Campitelli 9.
Easter Sunday is the main celebration of Easter. There will be two morning services this Sunday, there will be the Holy Mass of the Day at 10:15 at Saint Peter’s Square. There will then be the “Urbi et Orbi”, the message and blessing at 12 noon. This is where the Pope addresses the crowds in the square from his balcony. I went to Rome when I was younger at Easter and it was a fantastic time to go. We went to mass in Saint Peter’s Square on the Sunday. It was very crowded, but we did see the Pope from far away and listen to his Easter speech.
As it is Easter, the Vatican Museums will be closed on Sunday and Monday. If you want to see the Sistine Chapel, you should go on either the Saturday or Tuesday after Easter as it will be closed on the Sunday. The other museums in Rome will be open as will the tourist attractions. It will be busy in Rome, but it is still nice to walk around to see all the famous Roman landmarks on foot. The Colosseum, Palatine Hill, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Palatine Hill are great places to visit. A trip to the Trevi fountain is a must for any visitor to Rome. It is said that if a traveller makes a wish while throwing a coin into the fountain, someday they will return to Rome.
Once Lent has finished, many Romans who have fasted can now indulge in their favourite foods. People start off with a full breakfast of boiled eggs, salami, cheese bread and cheese cake. Lunch is usually lamb and artichokes, followed by chocolate eggs. A lot of Italian families have a sweet Easter dove shaped cake called “colomba” for dessert.
Have you been to Rome at Easter? What did you see and where did you stay? I would love to hear from you.