Are you thinking of spending Easter in Rome? If you’re dreaming of a memorable Easter in Europe during the easter holidays, there’s no better place to spend Easter than the beautiful city of Rome. The Italian capital is ideal because of its stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and vibrant culture. From religious ceremonies to traditional markets and festive meals, here’s what to expect from an Easter celebration in Rome.
What’s on in Rome at Easter? Easter Celebrations and Events in 2024
Rome is a magical city to spend Easter. Whether you’re a devout Catholic looking for religious ceremonies or simply curious about the Italian holiday traditions, there are plenty of ways to experience easter in Rome.
Ash Wednesday – February 22nd
Ash, Wednesday in Rome, is a day of repentance. People go to churches and confess their sins, participate in penitential services, and receive ashes on their foreheads. The priest or deacon blesses the ashes. The ashes are made from the branches or twigs burned during the Palm Sunday Masses during the previous year’s celebrations. , and people kneel before them to show reverence for God’s mercy.
Throughout Rome, numerous churches and monasteries offer special services and activities for Ash Wednesday.
Special prayers, fasting, and almsgiving also mark the day. During the day, people attend church for a liturgy of repentance and thank God for his limitless mercy.
Many churches also offer confessions, where parishioners can confess and receive absolution from their sins.
The Pope gives a special blessing to all who have observed Ash Wednesday. This is followed by a candlelight procession in which people march through the streets of Rome, carrying candles and singing hymns to express their faith and devotion.
The procession ends with a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, where thousands of faithful come together to celebrate the power of faith and divine mercy.
Palm Sunday in Rome
Palm Sunday is one of the most important religious days in Rome. On this day, processions occur from many churches and cathedrals throughout the city. If you’re looking for a festive atmosphere, attend St. Peter’s Square, where Pope Francis is usually present to bless the palm fronds.
Maundy Thursday in Rome
Maundy Thursday in Rome follows Ash Wednesday, marking Easter’s beginning. It is a time of reflection on the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ and is celebrated with special services in churches throughout Rome.
This day is also known as Holy Thursday and commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus gathered with his disciples for one final meal before His death.
During Maundy Thursday services, the faithful participates in a procession and receive Communion.
Throughout Rome, many churches offer special services for Maundy Thursday. These include solemn liturgies at Crossus stations of the Cross. During these services, people remember Jesus’ journey to CalvCrosshis death upon the cross and the joy of his resurrection.
The priest leads a procession to bid farewell to Jesus until He returns at Easter.
Good Friday in Rome
Good Friday in Rome is a solemn occasion, usually commemorated with quiet religious services and prayer. During the afternoon of Good Friday, the Pope leads a procession from St. Peter’s Basilica to the Colosseum.
This event is known as the Via Crucis or Way of the Cross, in which participants walk along 14 stages representing Jesus’ passion and death.
The procession is accompanied by the singing of the Stabat Mater and other hymns, as well as readings from the Bible. At each station, a priest blesses the crowd with holy water while mournful music plays in the background.
This event typically draws thousands of visitors to Rome and is one of the most important religious events of the year.
Holy Saturday in Rome (Easter Saturday)
Holy Saturday in Rome is the day before Easter. It marks the end of Lent and the beginning of Easter celebrations. People go to churches for a special liturgy, or Mass, commemorating Jesus’ burial in a tomb following his crucifixion.
Many churches in Rome offer special activities for Holy Saturday. These include solemn processions, where parishioners carry a wooden cross to symbolize Jesus’ journey to the tomb.
People also attend morning prayer services and special devotions. These are usually followed by a Mass at which parishioners receive Communion as a sign of Jesus’ presence with them.
People gather in churches for exceptional service to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. This is marked by hymns, Scripture readings, and prayers for the faithful and those who are suffering or in need. The celebration culminates with a ringing of bells and a procession of the Easter candle.
Easter Sunday in Rome
Easter Sunday in Rome is an exciting and joyous occasion; the city comes alive with celebrations, parades, concerts, and feasts. On Easter Sunday morning, a festive easter Sunday Mass is held in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
After Mass, the Pope leads a procession through Rome, blessing thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square. During the afternoon, many families get together for a traditional Italian meal and enjoy each other’s company.
In the evening, fireworks light up the skies above Rome to celebrate Easter and bring joy to everyone watching.
There are also special Easter-themed events taking place in Rome throughout Holy Week, such as open-air concerts.
Easter Monday in Rome
On Easter Monday in Rome, the day begins with an early morning Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, followed by a procession of pilgrims around the city to honour Jesus Christ.
Later in the day, many families gather for traditional Italian meals and enjoy each other’s company. The festivities continue into the night with fireworks and concerts.
Rome’s churches, parks and piazzas fill up with locals and visitors enjoying Easter Monday’s joyful atmosphere.
Pentecost in Rome
The Christian holiday of Pentecost is celebrated in Rome on the seventh Sunday after Easter. It marks the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and celebrates Jesus’ resurrection.
In Rome, Pentecost is a time for celebration and renewal. This day is usually filled with exceptional services, processions, and parades throughout the city. In some churches, priests will bless parishioners with holy water to remind them of the baptism of Jesus.
Pentecost marks the end of the Easter season, and Roman Catholics usually hold special Masses to give thanks for Jesus’ resurrection. These are followed by processions with banners and flags that symbolize the Holy Spirit.
People also usually celebrate the day with special meals and festive gatherings.
Rome at Easter with kids
Easter in Rome is a great time to be with the family and explore the city. There are plenty of activities for kids, from egg hunts in the parks to particular Easter markets selling toys and treats. You can also take your kids to some of Rome’s famous attractions, such as the Colosseum or St. Peter’s Basilica.
For a more traditional Easter experience, you can take them to one of the city’s many churches for Easter Mass or visit a nearby farm to watch live lamb shearing. There’s something for everyone in Rome at Easter!
Things to do in Rome at Easter with Kids
– Egg Hunts: Take your kids to a fun Easter egg hunt in one of Rome’s many parks!
– Special Markets: Let your little ones explore the Easter markets where they can find toys, decorations, and treats.
– Famous Attractions: Visit some of Rome’s most iconic sites, such as the Colosseum or St. Peter’s Basilica.
– Lambs: Take your kids to a nearby farm to watch live lamb shearing and learn about traditional Easter customs.
– Easter Mass: Attend an Easter Mass in one of Rome’s many churches and listen to bells and a procession of the Easter candle.
Religious Processions and Ceremonies
Rome is known as “the Eternal City” for a good reason; it has been home to centuries-old traditions that are still celebrated today.
During Holy Week (or Settimana Santa) leading up to Easter Sunday, locals participate in religious processions and ceremonies throughout the city.
The most famous procession is the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross), which takes place on Good Friday evening at the Colosseum (one of the 7 wonders of the world) and features hundreds of people carrying torches through the streets.
The Pope’s Blessing
On Holy Saturday morning, Pope Francis leads a special mass at St Peter’s Basilica, followed by a long procession down Via della Conciliazione that ends with the lighting of a bonfire around 10 pm.
If you’re keen to experience some of the true cultural highlights of Rome during the season, then it would be remiss not to mention the Pope’s blessing.
Every year on Easter Sunday and Monday (known as “Pasquetta”), Pope Francis greets pilgrims from around the world from his balcony at St Peter’s Square.
Easter Markets in Rome
For a truly unique experience this Easter, head to one of Rome’s many outdoor markets that pop up during the holiday. From handmade artisanal items to traditional religious artefacts, these lively markets are full of exciting finds and a great place to pick up souvenirs or gifts for friends and family back home.
Fiera di Pasqua
The most popular Easter market is the Fiera di Pasqua, which takes place in Piazza Navona and features a vast selection of artisanal items, souvenirs, decorations, and clothing.
Mercato della Pasquetta
If you’re looking for something more traditional, the Mercato della Pasquetta at Campo dei Fiori is the place to go. You’ll find everything from handmade Easter eggs and wreaths to religious artefacts and candles.
Easter Traditions in Rome
Rome is home to many unique Easter traditions. Here’s what you could experience if you visit Rome in easter.
Easter in Rome is a special and unique celebration. Here’s a list of some Easter traditions you can experience when visiting the Eternal City with your family:
Palm Sunday Procession – On Palm Sunday, the Pope holds an exciting procession around St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. People wave palm branches as the Pope blesses them.
Easter Sunday Mass – The Easter Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica is a powerful and moving experience that you won’t soon forget.
Egg Rolling Contest – On Easter Monday, the Piazza San Pietro in Rome hosts an egg rolling contest for kids. It’s a fun and festive way to celebrate Easter in Rome!
Easter Sunday Parade – The Via della Conciliazione is filled with music, costumes, and floats during the Easter Sunday parade.
Traditional Roman Cuisine – Easter in Rome wouldn’t be complete without its traditional Roman cuisine. Enjoy a delicious Easter feast of roasted lamb, mashed potatoes, and other unique dishes.
Weather in Rome at Easter
The weather in Rome at Easter is usually mild and sunny. The temperatures begin to rise in April, and the days are often warm and pleasant by Easter, with highs around 19°C and lows near 9°C.
Easter itself is often sunny and beautiful, making it the perfect time of year to explore the city’s parks, monuments, and attractions.
Local Easter Cuisine in Rome
Easter week also brings traditional markets around town selling artisanal items like ceramics and local handicrafts.
If you’re looking for something edible, try classic Roman dishes like carbonara (pasta with egg yolk sauce) or saltimbocca alla Romana (veal cutlets).
And don’t forget about Italy’s iconic desserts! Cannoli filled with sweet ricotta cheese cream is always popular during Easter celebrations.
For something more traditional, try Casatiello—a Neapolitan savoury cake filled with salami, pancetta, cheeses, and eggs—which is especially popular around Easter.
Visiting Rome at Easter Tips
Visiting Rome at Easter is a great way to take in all the beauty and culture of this ancient city. Here are some tips for visiting Rome during this particular time:
• Pack layers – Even though the days can be warm, the evenings can get chilly, so don’t forget to bring a few extra layers.
• Remember to book – Rome is a popular tourist destination, so book tickets in advance if you plan on visiting any of the city’s attractions or monuments.
• Embrace the celebrations – Easter is an essential celebration in Rome, so get involved and join in on the festivities!
• Take a break – Even though Easter is an exciting time to be in Rome, it’s important to remember that the city can be very crowded and chaotic. Make sure to take a break from sightseeing and enjoy leisurely activities like exploring local parks or walking.
There’s nothing quite like celebrating Easter in Rome! You won’t regret it! From religious processions and ceremonies to traditional markets and delicious cuisine, if you want an unforgettable holiday experience this year, look no further than Italy’s eternal city! So why not start planning your trip today?
Read More: Where to Stay in Rome with Kids
Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.