Rome celebrates its patron saints with long weekend

Rome marks Festa di SS. Pietro e Paolo on 29 June.  

Rome celebrates its patron saints, Peter and Paul, with a public holiday in the capital on Monday 29 June, resulting in a long weekend for many Romans.

This year, due to the covid-19 crisis, there may not be the celebratory events which attract large crowds of people such as the traditional infiorata - the multi-coloured carpet of flower petals - normally held in front of St Peter's on 29 June.

There is also a question mark over the annual Girandola fireworks display that usually lights up the sky at Pincio on the night of 29 June. The tradition once took place at Castel S. Angelo but was moved to Piazza del Popolo several years ago.

The idea of Michelangelo, perfected later by Bernini, the 16-minute firework display was first introduced in 1481. Over the centuries the historic spectacle has inspired writers and artists such as Dickens, Belli and Piranesi.

The annual holiday on 29 June is to mark the liturgical feast in honour of the martyrdom in Rome of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, in a celebration that dates back to ancient Christian times.

The date commemorates the death of the two saints, both of whom are said to be buried at the two basilicas that bear their names: St Peter's and St Paul's Outside the Walls.

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