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As Easter approaches, you must be ready to learn about all that Easter in Rome has to offer during that week. A fascinating whirlwind of different things to do, traditions that take place and the atmosphere is just a little more “homey” and welcoming.
The weather is usually amazing and it might be one of the best times to visit Rome, all in all. So here is your friendly guide to discover what happens in Rome during Easter week.
As we all know, Easter is a celebrated holiday all over the world. But the Symbolism and traditions may change depending on the Country.
For instance, in Rome, preparations for Easter take up an entire week, each day with its own traditions and curiosities.
We can say that it all starts with Palm Sunday, which takes place on April 2nd this year.
This festivity takes place a week before Easter and in this day, Christians and Catholics celebrate the time that Jesus arrived in Jerusalem.
This event is commemorated in churches mostly. When during Mass the priest hands out olive branches as a symbol of peace, instead of Palm leafs, for practical reasons among others.
In 2023 you can expect the Pope to Celebrate Mass on this occasion, Palm Sunday at around 10:00am directly in Saint Peter’s Square, so you could find more people around than usual that day and some streets could be closed off, for safety. But the occasion will not influence opening hours of any attraction in Rome, except for Saint Peter’s Basilica, which is closed to public on Sundays, during Mass hours.
A few days later is what Italians call Holy Thursday, which falls on April 6th this year.
This is basically another Catholic Holiday, that will not influence opening or closing hours of anything in Rome, whatsoever, so you don’t need to worry about that. The busy life of museums, restaurants and boutiques carries on undisturbed.
*A fun fact that is definitely worth mentioning is that there are certain traditions that take place on certain occasions. For instance, during this Thursday, churches celebrate by holding special masses and decorate the altars with the result of an ancient tradition called “Sepolcri”.
About a few weeks before Easter, church goers receive a handful of grass seeds from the priest. For them to place the seeds in a small plate or a cup, fill it with water and put it in the darkest space of their house, like under the bed or in a closet. The seeds would slowly grow and cover its container just in time for Easter to display as decorations, at the feet of the altars in the churches.
A curious activity for sure, with a simple but powerful message for believers: there is always life even in the darkness, like Jesus has died and risen so has a simple bunch of seeds grown into a bush of grass even the darkness.
Oh Rome, what a fascinating city you are, filled with curiosities and all sorts of bizarre traditions!
If you are in Rome during Easter, one of the busiest days during Easter week is possibly Holy Friday, which falls on April 7th this year.
Holy Friday is for sure the main event before Easter, here in Rome. It’s the day during which the Vatican City and churches all over the world commemorate the Via Crucis, the Holy path of the Cross.
Another Catholic tradition that takes place generally around the Colosseum, right after sunset. Where Pope Francis presides a procession, usually inside the very Colosseum, with pre-arranged stops to symbolize the stops that Christ made during His Passion, followed by a mass. The Colosseum and its square are just beautiful, with candles and lights everywhere. If you happen to be around, we recommend stopping by for sure.
Be aware though, on this particular day, public transport is complete chaos and there will certainly be a massive overflow of visitors. So don’t worry if you see a big crowd gathered that night or there are delays in taxis or buses or the subway.
Then there is Easter Saturday, on April 8th
There won’t be much going on around town that day. Aside for the joyful touring in Rome in the perfect warm atmosphere. This is certainly the best time to be in Rome. A relaxing atmosphere prevails, and even the bells in the churches don’t sing, as it’s looked at as a time of reflection. Everything is still.
And it’s finally Easter, Sunday April 9th 2023 this year.
You’ll notice a lot more of passerbys enjoying their day in the City. The pope will be busy in a wonderful Mass that will take place on Saint Peter’s Square that day, around 10:00. A festive occasion, at the end of which he proceeds with the famous blessing Urbi et Orbi, that is so dearly cherished to all Italian grandmothers. We recommend stopping by, it’s something interesting to see. The Pope will be in the Square directly, and if you want to partake, there are tickets available on the Papal’s prefecture website.
If there is one thing Italians know how to do is appreciate a good holiday. Even more so that traditionally the day after Easter, always a Monday (Angel’s Monday) is considered a second holiday, another day off work!
In fact, Easter Monday is called Pasquetta, little Easter. And it is the usually the day when Romans host barbecues, go on picnics or go out of town with friends. Romans are very attached to traditions.
One of the things Romans enjoy doing on Easter and little Easter, is dedicate their days to some well-deserved exploration.
Here are some ideas to do some exploration of your own, to enjoy your time without surprises.
The weather is usually sunny and warm. Which is perfect if you plan on walking a bit through the city.
The majority of the museums and points of interests in Rome are generally opened during the entire Week of Easter, except on Easter Sunday, maybe. And the Colosseum, Roman Forums and Palatine Hill are open on both Easter Sunday and Monday. On Holy Friday the Colosseum might be closed because of the Pope’s Via Crucis.
The metro station “Colosseo” will be also closed, so that’s good to know.
The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel are closed on both Easter Sunday and Monday. Saint Peter’s Basilica should be open on Monday, but since it’s free entrance, you could encounter in long waiting lines and security posts.
That being said, this is still one of the best weeks to discover Rome and its surroundings.
At the Scuderie del Quirinale, the Quirinal Stables, you can explore this exposition center adjacent to the President of the Republic’s Residence. The Stables host many incredible expositions that are especially spectacular during the Easter week, each year.
Another great idea, prefered by many Romans, is to escape the City and take some time off in the country, in Rome’s surroundings.
In fact the surroundings boast with so many great opportunities: Gardens, Renassaince jewels, idyllic hamlets, Lakeside towns and more. A picnic or lunch in a countryside restaurant are always a good option during Easter. A great place to visit, just a few miles away from Rome are Tivoli, with the beautiful Hadrian Villa and Villa D’Este. Or Bracciano Lake tour, also a fantastic choice! Or a walk in the Ninfa Gardens, specifically opened during Spring and Early Summer. Or Bomarzo, the Stone Park or Monster’s Park as some call it. Or a trip to Viterbo, many Romans like to take some time off to enjoy a day in the Thermal sites called the Pope’s Baths, le Terme dei Papi. Thanks to the perfect weather and climate, there are so many great things to do during Easter, inside of Rome and in it’s surroundings, in the countryside.
If you are on a budget and want to do something special on Easter in Rome, we highly recommend going to one of the many concerts scheduled that week.
In fact almost all concerts are free or low cost on Easter, in Rome. This is usually when a lot of many great events at a low cost are planned. In great locations like the Terme di Caracalla, or other beautiful venues. A nice way to enjoy Easter in Rome, for sure. Just look for the different concerts scheduled in the Concerts in Rome calendar. If you are looking for different activities for your Easter in Rome, this is certainly an option to consider.
Another thing Romans focus on during Easter is the food! Obviously.
There is a special Easter menu specifically created centuries ago. Starting with breakfast! Meals usually include sweet bread, Easter eggs, boiled eggs and what is called the Easter Pizza (which is not at all a pizza but more a sweet bundt cake) then there are all sorts of cold cuts and chocolate, and pastries.
For lunch, every Region in Italy has its own Easter traditions but Rome’s eatery delights are just a little more spectacular. They include different artichocke based dishes, Frittatas, and a local delicacy called Coratella, which we will not tell you what it is, because we don’t want to spoil the surprise; but trust us, you are going to love this dish.
The star of any Roman table is is oven baked lamb with a side of roasted potatoes. Then there are all sorts of seasoned cheeses, cold cuts, soups and desserts. Like the Colomba, a dove-shaped panettone with dried fruit and almonds.
We will get into the traditions of Easter meals in our next article. Just know that where you go to eat in Rome on Easter, you will find special dedicated menus just for the occasion.
What more there is to know about Easter in Rome?
Rome hosts many events specifically for the occasion, religious or not, that are definitely worth seeing. Our advice is to plan your activities for that week a little in advance. This is the time when Rome receive the most visitors during the year. So if you’d like to visit the monuments or museums, perhaps you could consider doing so a few days before Easter or a few days immediately after.
In the high time of Easter week, on Easter Sunday and the day after, we would recommend looking into the different activities the surroundings of Rome have offer, just as any Roman would do. To escape from the business and spend a beautiful day in the Countryside, off the beaten path.
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As if a day in Rome wasn't enough, we will take you for a private tour of the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel! A private tour in Rome to remember Enjoy a full day tour in Rome and the Vatican City with your private luxury vehicle. Your personal tour driver will pick you up directly from any place you want, from your hotel or other. And your tour begins! Drive by Piazza Venezia,the impressive circular square, with buildings and monuments enclosing it. With the infamous Balcony from which Mussolini gave his speeches, on one side. Or L'Altare della Patria, Monument to the last king of Italy Vittorio Emanuele the Second, a giant marble white, ancient temple-shaped building that climbs on the side of one of Rome's legendary Seven Hills, Capitoline Hill. Also known as Campidoglio, it hosts incredible views of the Piazza Venezia on one side and the Roman Forum on the other, the perfect division between the ancient Roman past and the present. Speaking of Ancient Roman times, you will head for the Colosseum A stop to see the Mighty Colosseum up-close is definitely a must! Walk Ancient ways of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Drive by the Circus Maximus,a field used mostly for concerts and political events today, but it was once an arena used to entertain Romans while they watched and cheered during water spectacles, fights or reenactments. It was often used as movie sets, like in the film BenHur. To remain in the Roman theme, circle back around into the City Center, characteristic for it's narrow cobble streets that lead to so many wonders. Like the Pantheon! An ancient Roman Temple with a beautifully decorated dome and an incredible history. Created in ancient times, to worship All Gods, it is now one of the active Catholic churches in Rome. To learn more about the Pantheon, visit our blog! Then there's Piazza Navona, not to far from there. A Renaissance delight, with incredible architectures and beautiful fountains, like the Four Rivers fountain, by Bernini. The streets filled with cute little boutiques, old buildings, ivy crawling over the facades and window sills, reveal beautiful wonders, that you will not find in any other place on Earth! Like the Spanish Steps. A beautiful street with the famous sets of stairs that climb into the shape of a giant butterfly up to the square of Trinità dei Monti, which offers incredible views of the Spanish steps below and the busy Via dei Condotti, famous for the most in vogue haute couture stores. One of the adjacent streets hides possibly the most famous Fountain in the WORLD The Trevi Fountain is another mandatory stop. Embedded in a tiny little square, is the world famous fountain. With sculptures of different water related scenes, sea shells, dancing horses and Poseidon. Waterfalls and pools of crystal clear water. What an amazing work of art. Make sure to toss a coin over your shoulder and make a wish! Legend has it, it will guarantee your return in Rome. All this touring can sure work up an appetite! Lucky for you, all of our tour drivers not only know the perfect places to see in Rome, they also love food and know the best restaurants in town! So your tour driver will be happy to recommend the perfect restaurants, trattorias or pizzerias depending on what you are in the mood for. Finally, you driver will take you at the Vatican Museums where you will continue the tour with your very own private guide, from the Vatican! You will enjoy a private guided tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. The visit at the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica will be conducted by one of our professional guides from the Vatican City, who will show you the best parts on your way to the Sistine Chapel. Including the Cortile Della Pigna, Belvedere, Pio Clementino Museum, the Gallery of Candelabra, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Maps, and Raphael’s Rooms. Next, you will visit the beautiful Sistine Chapel. After, you will visit St. Peter’s Basilica, “the greatest of all churches” There you’ll have the chance to see some amazing masterpieces. After the tour, you will be reunited with your tour driver, who will take you back to your Hotel location in Rome.
The perfect arrangement for a memorable time in Rome & Vatican! Your private tour driver will take you to see the most amazing venues. First off, Piazza Venezia to admire The Monument of the first Italian king. Furthermore, there’s Mussolini’s balcony, the Capitoline Hill (one of Rome’s seven legendary hills) and the Roman Forum. Make sure not to miss the Colosseum! After that, you’ll head to the Pantheòn, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and enjoy the outstanding view of Rome from the Pincio Terrace, and Piazza Navona. Enjoy a delicious lunch in a typical Roman restaurant, happily recommended by your driver, for a delicious meal. After lunch, your private tour of the Vatican city will begin. You will meet with your personal guide and enjoy a private guided tour of the Vatican museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. There are different wings of the Vatican to visit, like Cortile Della Pigna, Belvedere, Gallery of Candelabra, the Gallery of Tapestries or the Gallery of Maps. Depending on the number of visits in a day, some wings might be closed. Above all, visit the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter’s! In conclusion, after a spectacular tour, you’ll enjoy a nice ride back to the pier
price from €112.50
Get ready to enjoy this amazing Vatican tour! An exclusive Private Tour of the Vatican. You will meet with your personal guide for the experience, directly at the Vatican Museums Entrance. Skip the line tickets included! Vatican City, hosts some of the Worlds’ most important art triumphs, created by Raphael, Bernini, Michelangelo, and other magnificent artists. Visit impressive masterpieces, like the frescoes of The Four Raphael Rooms and some of other famous works of the Italian Renaissance. Your personal guide will explain the importance of the bond between art and Christianity, and how it impacted society through the centuries. Experience the Sistine Chapel’s overwhelming beauty. The peak of this private tour, will be your visit to the Sistine Chapel. Admire the most important and known masterpiece, Michelangelo’s “The creation of Adam”. To top if off, you’ll visit the cradle of Christianity, St. Peter’s Basilica. You will have the chance to appreciate the greatness of Michelangelo’s famous Marble sculpture, the Pietà, or Bernini’s magnificent bronze altar. Get the full experience and visit the World famous St. Peter’s square, after the Basilica.
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Tivoli private tour, for an exploration of Italy’s hidden gems Our English speaking tour driver will welcome you at the dock beside your cruise ship in Civitavecchia. Drive along the Via Tiburtina to reach the amazing venues. For this Tivoli private tour, you will start with a visit of Hadrian’s Villa. This was the summer residence of one of the most popular Roman Emperors, Hadrian. Walking through this amazingly preserved villa you will have the opportunity to admire some of its wonderful treasures, which can only be found here! Don’t miss the Hadrian’s Villa Museum, filled with precious objects. The Villa is a monumental complex that even today continues to display the lavishness and power of Ancient Rome. Because of the unique finds and history, Hadrian’s Villa is one of the Italian UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Before reaching Villa D’Este, stop for lunch in one of the nice little restaurants in Tivoli. Your Tour continues to Villa d’Este. Built by the grandson of Pope Alexander VI in the 16th century, one of the most beautiful palaces and gardens in Italy and perhaps in Europe! The entire complex is structured by a geometric system of paths, ramps, and steps around fountains, crypts, and arched walkways; it is defined as the peak of European garden concepts. Finally, after a relaxing and informative day in the Roman countryside, you’ll be driven back in perfect time to re board your cruise ship.
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This tour is one of the most popular closer day trips to the surroundings of Rome where you can immerse yourself in historyand some of the most precious Italian renaissance jewels. A private tour of Tivoli, just a few miles away from RomeOnce arrived in Tivoli your tour begins with a visit of Hadrian’s Villa, the summer residence of one of the most popular Roman Emperors, Hadrian.Walking through this amazingly preserved villa you will admire some of its wonderful treasures, such as a reconstruction of a porch of ancient Athens, the Naval Theater,the large thermal baths, a reproduction of an Egyptian shrine, and the Hadrian’s Villa Museum, filled with precious objects found during the excavations.Hadrian’s Villa is one of the Italian UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Villa is a monumental living complex that even today continues to display the lavishnessand enormous power of Ancient Rome. After you will drive to Tivoli where your tour driver will be happy to suggest some typical local restaurants in the area.Then off to Villa d’Este, built by the grandson of Pope Alexander VI in the 16th century, one of the most beautiful palaces and gardens of Italy. The entire complex is structured by a geometric system of paths, ramps, and steps altered around fountains, crypts, and arched walkways.A romantic and private tour of Tivoli Villas.At the end of your tour, your driver will take you back to your requested location in Rome.
The perfect shore excursion in the Countryside, to Bracciano Lake If you want to do something different, while docked, consider a relaxing day in the country, to explore the enchanted Bracciano Lake and Surrounding villages! You will travel on amazing roads, to Lake Bracciano, to visit the towns of Bracciano, Trevignano Romano, and Anguillara Sabazia. Quaint villages, of Medieval wonder and rustic charm, surrounded by green hills, in a beautiful setting. First off Bracciano! Famous for its outstanding 15th century Orsini-Odescalchi Castle. Visited by important personalities such as John Kennedy and Tina Turner, and of course Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’, as their wedding venue. *Upon request, if you'd like to visit the Castle of Bracciano, you can buy your ticket at the booth and as an alternative to the group tours which they usually arrange, a great way to visit the Castle and its museum is to create your personal, fun itinerary to visit the estate on your own. With the delightful help of a video and audio guide, that you can easily download on your phone by scanning a QR code at the entrance. With wonderful explanations, videos and more. Another charming town is Anguillara. Your tour driver will be happy to provide suggestions for the best local restaurants on the charming lakeside. And finally, Trevignano Romano! This village simply reflects and beauty, the traditions and the eagerness to preserve it’s ancient history. The architecture and rustic features are simply breathtaking. Upon request we can organize a traditional lunch in a local “Villa B&B” nearby the lake for an authentic local lunch. A rich variety of mixed starters and homemade “pasta” together with sparkling water, local high selected wine & dessert will be served in a veranda overlooking Lake Bracciano (price is 30 Euro per person). After lunch, we will continue to Calcata, one of the best preserved medieval hill towns in Italy. Calcata is a magical, medieval destination that’s perfect for art lovers. At the end, you will drive back to the Civitavecchia pier on perfect time to board your ship.
If you want to do something different, consider a relaxing day out in the country, to explore the Bracciano Lake and Surrounding villages! You will travel to Lake Bracciano, to visit Bracciano, Trevignano Romano, and Anguillara Sabazia. Quaint villages, of Medieval wonder and rustic charm, surrounded by green hills, in a beautiful setting. First off Bracciano! Famous for its outstanding 15th century Orsini-Odescalchi Castle. Visited by important personalities such as John Kennedy and Tina Turner, and of course Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’, who used the castle as their wedding venue. Another charming town is Anguillara Sabazia. Your tour driver will be happy to provide suggestions for the best local restaurants on the charming lakeside. And Finally, Trevignano! This village simply reflects and beauty, the traditions and the eagerness to preserve it’s ancient history. The architecture and rustic features are simply breathtaking. Upon request we can organize a traditional lunch in a local “Villa B&B” nearby the lake for an authentic local lunch. A rich variety of mixed starters and homemade “pasta” together with sparkling water, local high selected wine & dessert will be served in a veranda overlooking Lake Bracciano (price is 30 Euro per person). After lunch, we will continue to Calcata, one of the best preserved medieval rock towns (literally built in a rocky cliff) in Italy. Calcata has a certain Magic to it, the atmosphere is pure and overwhelming. This Medieval destination is mostly lived by poets, writers, artists and solitaires. At the end, your private tour driver will take you back to your requested location in Rome.
price from €93.50