The Holy Week in Rome:
be ready to celebrate Easter in the most papal city in the world!
As holy days come, especially during Christmas and Easter time,
Rome takes on an even more special atmosphere, with intense religious ceremonies attended by faithful and pilgrims who travel to the city on purpose.
The throbbing heart of all these rites is clearly the Vatican City, with the majestic St. Peter’s
Basilica and the namesake square, but there are ceremonies through the whole city.
Now that Easter is approaching, do not miss the opportunity to live the Roman Holy Week and Italian and
catholic most rooted traditions!
There is something exceptional going on every single day!
The period preceding Easter that in the Christian Church is devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence in commemoration of Christ's fasting in the wilderness is called Lent.
In the Western Church it runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday and so includes forty weekdays.
Maundy Thursday ceremonies opens the very tight schedule of events and feasts.
Everseen 213 candles being lighted at the same time on top of a monumental 19 th century wooden machine? This is the day!
Reach the Church of Santa Maria dell’Orto, (here)Trastevere district, at 7PM and you could live this
mystical experience and enjoy the ritual of the “Machine of the Fourty Hours”.
Maundy Thursday also marks the opening of the new liturgical year, with the morning blessing of the holy
oils during the 9:30AM Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Church (closed to public on the occasion), and the so-
called Triduum Sacrum, the three-day period that recalls the days that Jesus spent in the tomb before his
The afternoon liturgy on this day celebrates the Foot Washing and the Last Supper of Jesus
Christ with the Apostles. Pope Francis is indeed a revolutionary and tireless pope, who always pushes on the deepest meaning of Catholic faith: every year, it witnesses Jesus’ words by choosing a different “place of suffering” on a last minute basis for the foot washing liturgy.
With no doubt, the most evocative event through the Holy Week is the touching via Crucis (Way of the
Cross) on Holy Friday, that follows the solemn mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at 7PM and takes
place in the Colosseum area at 9:15PM.
It is presided by the Pope himself and commemorates the passion and death of Jesus Christ through the reading of prayers, thoughts and meditations, along a path of 14 stations.
The archaeological area is always very crowded on this occasion, but this is really something
unforgettable to live, as you could get in touch with the sentiment of thousand people gathered to recall
Jesus’ passion and with the Colosseum icon under an unusual perspective, as a landmark of Catholic faith.
If you are catholic or just charmed by mystical ceremonies, do not lose the Easter Vigil liturgy and Mass on Saturday, that begins at 8:30PM in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica with the blessing of the new fire and a solemn procession with the Easter candle, on the notes of “Exultet” (the Easter Proclamation) and then continues with the mass inside the church.
What’s more, the pope presides over the whole ceremony, in a very spiritual, riveting, involving atmosphere, surrounded by priests and the faithful who wait awake and with the lamps burning for the resurrection and return of Jesus. What a better occasion to immerse yourself
into Catholic Easter rituals, see the leader of Christianity and enjoy the most monumental church in the
world at the same time? It is really a must to do!
How? All you need to do is booking your free tickets in advance!
How to participate to the Catholic Easter rituals:
You should write your request via fax to “Prefettura della Casa Pontificia, 00120 Città del Vaticano”, at this
number +39.06.69885863. Specify the date and ceremony, the number of tickets you need, your name, postal address and phone number and then pick them at the “Prefettura Vatican”, which is located in St. Peter’s Square, right section of the colonnade, just after the Bronze Doors, the day before the event from 9AM till 7PM.
With the same procedure, you can also reserve your tickets to attend the culminating event, the Easter Mass, which is held in St. Peter’s Square at 10AM. If you will be there, you will be blessed by the pope himself, imparting his “Urbi et Orbi” benediction on the city of Rome and the whole world from the famous balcony in the middle of St. Peter’s façade. Really an experience not to miss!