Rome patron saints’ day on 29 June

Rome celebrates its Sts Peter and Paul.

Rome celebrates its patron saints, Peter and Paul, with a public holiday in the capital on Monday 29 June. All public offices will be shut, as will many shops, while supermarkets may close at lunchtime.

Because the feast day falls on a Monday many Romans use the long weekend (or ponte) to leave the city for the beaches or the surrounding countryside. Traffic will therefore be heavy out of the capital on Friday evening and back in again on Monday evening.

There are liturgical celebrations scheduled in many of the city’s churches including at 09.30 in St Peter’s Basilica where the Mass has traditionally seen the pope confer the papal pallium, or white woollen stole, on 46 new metropolitan archbishops to symbolise the union between the successor of St Peter and the leaders of local churches.

However, following a further simplification of the ceremony, Pope Francis has decided that the newly-appointed archbishops will no longer receive the pallium in Rome but will be vested instead at a ceremony in their own archdiocese, by their country's apostolic nuncio. Despite these changes to the tradition, the Mass will be con-celebrated by the new archbishops, whose names are expected to be announced shortly.

Later that evening the annual Girandola fireworks display, introduced in 1481, lights up the sky above Castel S. Angelo at 21.00.

girandola1

The idea of Michelangelo, perfected later by Bernini, the ancient spectacle has inspired writers and artists such as Dickens, Belli and Piranesi.

It fell out of use at the end of the 20th century but is now very popular and the Lungotevere embankments and bridges around and opposite Castel S. Angelo are packed.

The best places to view the show, which features a giant spinning Catherine Wheel, include Via Banco Spirito, Lungotevere Tor di Nona, Lungotevere Altoviti, and from the bridges of Vittorio Emanuele II, Principe Amedeo Savoia Aosta and Umberto I.