A quick guide to celebrating Easter in Rome

Guide to Holy Week and Easter in Rome and the Vatican in 2022.

The week of religious events leading to Easter began this year on 10 April with Palm Sunday, the final Sunday of Lent, and continues on 14 April with Holy Thursday, commemorating Christ's Last Supper.

On 15 April, Good Friday, Pope Francis celebrates the Lord's Passion in St Peter's Basilica at 17.00. This is followed at 21.15 by the Via Crucis or Way of the Cross, a solemn candle-lit procession at the Colosseum.

The annual ceremony - which dates to the 18th century and was revived in 1964 - usually attracts up to 20,000 faithful who listen to meditations re-enacting Christ's crucifixion.

Via Crucis at the Colosseum

Pope Francis celebrates the Easter Vigil at St Peter's Basilica at 19.30 on Saturday 16 April.

The next morning the pontiff celebrates Easter Sunday Mass in St Peter's Square at 10.00, concluding at midday with the traditional Urbi et Orbi papal blessing from the balcony of St Peter's.

For full details of the pope's programe see Vatican website. There are also numerous English-language religious services for Easter in the Italian capital.

Roman restaurants typically offer menus featuring abbacchio (lamb) on Easter Sunday however you will need to reserve your table in advance due to high demand.

Easter Sunday brunch in Rome is a savoury occasion with Romans laying out a delectable spread of hard-boiled eggs (often painted brightly), salami and cheese, accompanied with the classic pizza al formaggio.

In the lead-up to Easter, Rome's bakeries sell a sweet cake, made in the shape of a dove, known as a colomba.


Colomba Easter cake

Easter Monday, or Pasquetta, is a national holiday in Italy, and all public offices and schools will be closed.

Many Romans mark this day by having a picnic with family or friends in the city's parks.

Tourists should note that Rome's state and city museums will be open on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday but the Vatican Museums will be closed on both days.

For a splash of colour visit the Spanish Steps which have been filled with hundreds of azaleas this spring.