Easter in Rome

Tips for spending Easter in Rome

Visiting Rome at Easter is not completely different than during the tourist season in Rome, with the few exceptions being that the weather is on the chilly side (but not freezing), crowding is considerably less than in the summer months, and airfares are significantly cheaper. Below is some information to help you plan a visit during Easter in Rome.

1. Rome sightseeing.

Many will still have their agenda set for Rome sightseeing and Vatican Tours. For those on a second trip to Rome or who have "been there, done that", there are many attractions in Rome that are great ideas for a second visit to Rome.

2. Getting Around during Easter in Rome.

Easter in Rome is pretty much business as usual when it comes to public transport. Buses and Metro will run on reduced frequency, and taxis may be a bit harder to come by but nothing will shut down altogether. To map out any holiday travel you plan to do, the ATAC website has a good search tool that lets you put in your starting address and destination to give you the shortest route to get there.

3. Mass Schedule at St. Peter's and the Vatican.

Good Friday, April 2, 2010. Pope Benedict will perform the stations of the cross inside the Colosseum beginning at 9:15 PM. This phenomenon is locally known as the Via Crucis, or the way of the cross. While entering the colosseum itself is difficult without special permission, thousands of pilgrims and onlookers gather outside the Colosseum and watch the Pope on large projector screens while he performs the stations of the cross.

4. Easter Sunday.

Pope Benedict will perform Easter mass at 10:15 in St. Peter's Square, weather permitting. To request tickets to the mass, contact the U.S. Bishop's Visitor Office, Via dell' Umilta' 30, 00187 Rome. Even without tickets to the Easter Mass, onlookers may see and hear the mass from just outside the piazza. After the Easter mass, the Pope will give a message and blessing from the central loggia at St. Peter's at 12:00 noon.

Bear in mind that the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel will be closed on April 4 and 5. As a result, extremely large crowds are to be anticipated on Saturday April 3 and Tuesday April 6. Be sure to reserve a Vatican Tour around these closing dates - without a Vatican reservation lines will be grueling.

If you wish to avoid the chaos and attend a regular Easter mass in English in Rome, the American Parish of Santa Susanna will hold mass at 9:00 and 10:30 AM. Santa Susanna is located at Largo Santa Susanna, between piazza della Repubblica and Piazza Barberini.

5. Easter dinner.

While many restaurants will be closed on Easter Sunday in Rome, one can always count on those located inside some of the larger hotels such as the Eden, Hilton Cavalieri, or Minerva. One great restaurant in central Rome that will be open for lunch is Da Pancrazio in Campo De Fiori.

6. Italian Easter Traditions.

If you are looking for familiar Easter traditions like little bleached eggs, you won't find them in Italy. In Italy, easter eggs are hollow chocolate eggs of various sizes wrapped in cellophane with a surprise inside the hollow center. You will also see actual eggs baked right into a loaf of Italian Easter Bread in various decorative designs.

Published on March 22nd, 2010
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