Easter is a great time to visit Italy, it is the most celebrated religious festivals and the atmosphere is lively and exciting. The Pope is at the Vatican, performing mass and heading processions through the streets of Rome.
Easter in Rome with the Pope
Starting with Good Friday, the Pope will celebrate the Via Crucis. People gather at St Peter’s Basilica for mass at 5pm and straight after is a candlelit procession starting at Palatine Hill and ends at the Colosseum. It is a magical procession.
Easter Saturday the Pope will hold a Easter Vigil at St Peter’s Basilica.
Easter Sunday there will be the Easter Sunday Mass held at St Peter’s Basilica (it is free, but tickets have to be reserved). At midday, the blessing “Urbi et Orbi” will take place (you don’t need tickets for this, but best to go early for a spot).
Easter Monday, Pasquetta in Italian, is a holiday and Italian tend to spend time with the friends (having spend Easter Sunday with their family) with a picnic in the park.
Easter tends to be a quite and pensive week for Italians.
Easter Food in Italy
There are some wonderful Easter foods in Italy, especially after lent. There are traditional Easter foods and also chocolate eggs.
Good Friday, is a sombre day when people tend to eat light or even fast. Catholics will tend to opt for fish or even meat free days.
Lamb is usually eaten on Easter Monday. It can be cooked either in a soup, in a sauce, or roasted with garlic and rosemary. Every family with have their own traditions and special recipe.
Torta alla Pasqualina (Easter pie)
A savoury dish, it is like a spinach and cheese quiche.
Colomba di Pasqua
A famous and often seen symbol of Easter all over Italy. Colomba di Pasqua is Easter dove as the cake is baked into the shape of a bird, a symbol of peace. It is a sweet cake, made of candied citrus peel and almonds.
A dessert from Naples, Pastiera Napoletana is a tart, cooked with wheat, eggs, ricotta cheese and flavoured with orange flower water.
A little advice for holidaying in Italy during Easter (or any religious holiday)
Book in advance. Flights, hotels and especially attractions. Any place you want to visit that has entrance tickets, we suggest that you purchase them in advance.
Travelling over the Easter. We recommend you avoid travelling over this period, or at the very least, minimal travel between major cities. And if you are travelling by train, book the train tickets in advance, especially if you are travelling Easter weekend. Best to settle yourself into one place and enjoy the atmosphere and start travelling again after Easter Monday.
Check times. Some attractions will have reduced their opening times over the Easter period, always best to check before. This is also the same for restaurants, larger ones or chains and hotels will almost always be open, but if you were looking for a traditional meal the smaller, family run ones might be closed.
Buona Pasqua = Happy Easter
Venerdi Santo = Good Friday
Pasquetta = Easter Monday (literally, little Easter)
Uovo di Cioccolatta = Chocolate Easter egg
Il Papa = the Pope
Auguri di Buona Pasqua = Best wishes for Easter