Experience Holy Week in Italy – Unmissable Easter Events in Rome
Are you planning to finish your Via Francigena walk in Rome this Easter? Holy Week is one of the most important weeks in the Catholic calendar, so this is a special time to spend a few days in Italy’s capital.
If you find yourself in Rome during Easter, we’ve compiled a list of some of the ceremonies and celebrations you can attend. Don’t forget to also visit some of the city’s fantastic historic attractions too, especially the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the incredible Sistene Chapel.
Holy Thursday falls on April 14th this year. The Pope is giving a morning mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica from 9:30 am. Tickets are required for this event (they are free, but you need to book ahead, the sooner the better).
Later in the day, there is a Holy Thursday mass in the Basilica of Saint John Leteran. Today might be a good day to visit the Pantheon in Rome and enjoy a coffee in one of the city’s beautiful squares.
The Via Crucis on Good Friday
April 15th is the date for Good Friday this year. Today is one of the most important days during Holy Week and the Pope will lead a ritual procession called the Via Crucis or Stations of the Cross. This ceremonial parade commemorates the events of the passion of Christ from station to station.
It takes place between the dramatic settings of the historic Colosseum and the Temple of Venus. At each station, the Pope reads a meditation in various languages. Thousands of spectators will gather to watch the events.
You do not need a ticket but you should get there as early as possible to see the procession. The official ceremony usually starts at 9 pm.
Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Square
Easter Sunday is the most important day of the Holy Week celebrations. This year, Easter Sunday is taking place on April 17th. There is a special Papal Mass at 10 am (tickets are required and you should book as soon as possible).
No tickets are required for the second service, also taking place in St. Peter’s Square. The papal address will take place at noon and the Pope will be providing a message and a blessing called the Urbi et Orbi. This means ‘To the City and the World’. This is a wonderful event and is usually performed from the balcony of St. Peter’s Square.
To finish off your short stay in Rome, don’t miss the fireworks display that closes Easter week on Monday at the Castel Sant’ Angelo.
All of the tickets for the above mass services are free but some need to be booked in advance. For more details on booking tickets for the Holy Mass or the calendar of events, you can visit the official Vatican website or the Papal Audience website.