On Saturday 29 June Rome celebrates its patron saints Peter and Paul with a public holiday in the capital. All public offices will be shut as will some shops while supermarkets may close at lunchtime.
There are liturgical celebrations scheduled in many of the city’s churches including St Peter’s Basilica, where at 09.30 Pope Francis will confer the papal pallium, or white woollen stole, upon 35 metropolitan archbishops to symbolise the union between the successor of St Peter and the leaders of local churches. Among those receiving the pallium this year is the former rector of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow.
Also at St Peter's, for the first time in about 400 years the historic infiorata floral display returns to Rome, after disappearing towards the end of the 17th century. The multicoloured flower carpet, which goes on show in Piazza Pio XII, will feature 25 sqm of coloured cystalised salt to represent the Sistine Chapel, another 25 sqm of coloured sawdust to depict Saints Peter and Paul, and 100 sqm of fresh and dried flowers to create an image inspired by Pope Francis and his namesake St Francis of Assisi.
This year's festivities at the Basilica di SS. Pietro e Paolo in the Ostiense district include the opening of a new archaeological museum which displays ecclesiastic ruins from medieval times. The 1000-sqm museum allows visitors to walk from the basilica to the tomb of St Paul (end of the fourth century), to the cloister and abbey (14th century) and through the monastery and the arcade (eighth-ninth century). The project was first developed in 2007 and has been funded by the Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museums. Planned celebrations at the basilica will lead to some street closures and bus diversion in the area from 07.00 on Friday 28 June until some time on Sunday 30 June.
Lastly, on the evening of 29 June the annual Girandola fireworks display, introduced in 1481, lights up the sky above Castel S. Angelo at 21.30. The idea of Michelangelo, perfected later by Bernini, the ancient spectacle has inspired writers and artists such as Dickens, Belli and Piranesi. 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.
There will be restricted visitor access to Castel S. Angelo on 28 and 29 June.