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Easter Week at the Vatican and in Rome

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Easter in Saint Peter's Square and Rome
pope photo, saint peters square

Photo of the Pope Arriving in Saint Peter's Square on Palm Sunday

photo by Doug Baumgart, used by permission

Easter, or Pasqua, is a very important holiday at the Vatican and in Italy. Easter Sunday Holy Mass is held in Saint Peter's Square, usually starting at 10:15AM. This is another popular and very crowded event. Admission is free but it is difficult to get entrance. If you go, get there early and expect to stand for a long time.

At noon the Pope gives the Easter message and blessing in the central loggia of Saint Peter's Basilica.

Easter marks the end of Lent so food plays a big part in the celebrations. Traditional Easter foods include lamb, artichokes, and special Easter breads, Pannetone and Colomba (dove shaped). Large hollow chocolate eggs that usually come with a surprise inside are popular Easter treats and you'll see them, along with Colomba, in many shop windows. If you want to try the Easter breads, buy one from a bakery. Although it will probably cost more, they are usually much better than the pre-packaged version.

Pasquetta, the Monday following Easter Sunday, is also a holiday in Italy but much more jovial than the solemn Easter week events. It's common to have a picnic or barbeque and many Romans head out of town into the countryside or to the seaside. At Castel Sant'Angelo in Vatican City, a huge fireworks display over the Tiber River ends the Easter week celebrations.

Many tourists and pilgrims spend Easter week in Rome so be sure to book your hotel in advance. See Places to Stay by the Vatican and Places to Stay in Rome for suggestions.

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  6. Vatican Easter Mass - Photo of Pope in Saint Peter's Square

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