Easter in Rome – All You Need to Know (2024 Edition)

Easter in Rome is a very high season. This is when large crowds flock into the eternal city to celebrate one of the most important Catholic festivities. If you are planning to be in Rome at Easter and are not sure what to expect and what to do, read on as we reveal all you need to know to plan a perfect trip.

Organizing your holiday in Rome at Easter might not be as easy as in lower season months like January and February because you really need to plan many things ahead and get prepared beforehand.

Our guide will help you get organized by suggesting what you need to book ahead, of and what are the best activities to do and celebrations to attend.

Image: Saint Peter Square for Easter in Rome.

Is Rome closed during Easter?

During Easter, the only two holidays are on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, when all offices and schools are closed. Schools are closed also on Good Friday and Saturday. Everything else, in Rome during Easter is open, including restaurants and shops.

All the main landmarks are open in Rome at Easter, only the Vatican Museums are closed on the days of Easter and Easter Monday. As a reminder, the Vatican Museums are closed every Sunday except for the last Sunday of the month when there is free entry.

While Romans usually go out for the day and some even for the whole long weekend, Rome is very busy during Easter because this is the beginning of the highest season.

What is Rome like on Easter Sunday?

The morning of Easter in Rome is pretty quiet except for Saint Peter’s Square where they organize the Easter Mass. Many restaurants will have a fixed menu and you have to book your table a few days in advance.

The rest of the day, the city center is lively and crowded with both tourists and locals, and so are the city’s parks.

Important dates during Easter in Rome

  • March 24th – Palm Sunday (Domenica delle Palme).
  • March 29th – Good Friday (Venerdì Santo).
  • March 31st – Easter Sunday (Pasqua).
  • April 1st – Easter Monday (Lunedì dell’Angelo or Pasquetta).

Palm Sunday (Domenica delle Palme)

This is the Sunday before Easter and commemorates the triumphal arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem as mentioned in the Bible’s New Testament in Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, and John 12:12–19.

On this day, there will be a Mass celebration in Saint Peter’s Square held by the pope and you will see a forest of palm and olive branches. Some will be simple branches and some coming from other regions will be finely decorated. This is when the pope blesses all the branches that are kept in the house until the next year when they are burned to make the ashes for Ash Wednesday.

Good Friday (Venerdì Santo)

On Good Friday we commemorate the death of Jesus in Calvary outside the walls of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. This falls on the Friday before Easter and in 2024, that’s in March 29th.

This year, the pope will perform the traditional ritual of walking the stations of the Via Crucis in the Colosseum from 9.15 pm. The celebration starts in Piazza Venezia with a procession that devotees can take part in. The Way of the Cross inside the Colosseum, however, is not open to the public and if you are attending, you need to stay in Via dei Fori Imperiali and in the streets around the Colosseum allocated to the worshippers.

Inside the Colosseum, Pope Francis will carry the Cross from Station to Station. At each Station, he stops for prayers. The ritual is very spectacular and spiritual and you can witness it from Via dei Fori Imperiali through a maxi screen.

For this event, several roads will be closed, bus routes will have a detour, and the Colosseo metro station will be closed much earlier, usually early afternoon.

Easter Sunday (Pasqua or Domenica di Pasqua)

On Easter Sunday in Rome, there is the Easter mass in every church and in Saint Peter’s Square, there is a large celebration where pilgrims from all over Europe and the world flock.

For Easter, Romans go out for lunch, so if you are planning to eat at one of the best restaurants in Rome make sure you book well in advance.

If it’s a sunny day, many locals will also go out of the city to places like Fiumicino and Bracciano. The afternoon in the city center will still be pretty crowded.

The public transport will follow the usual holiday schedule.

Easter Monday (Lunedì dell’Angelo or Pasquetta)

Pasquetta is picnic day all over Italy and Rome is no exception. You can do a picnic in a park in Rome or in one of the towns surrounding the city if you take a day trip. On Easter Monday, many museums will be open and there will be walks and events organized in many neighborhoods of Rome.

As it’s a holiday, also on Easter Monday, the public transport will follow the holiday schedule.

Image: Piazza San Pietro in the Vatican in Rome at Easter.

What to do in Rome at Easter

Attend the Easter celebrations

If you are not afraid of huge crowds, you can book your ticket to the Vatican Easter Mass in Saint Peter’s Square which starts at 10 am. To do this, you need to write to Prefettura della Casa Pontificia, 00120 Città del Vaticano, or send a fax to +39 06 6988 5863, indicating:

  • Date of the function you are booking
  • Number of tickets needed
  • Name/Group
  • Mailing address
  • Phone and/or fax

If you intend to attend any Easter 2023 celebration in the Vatican, your request must be received by March 23rd in order to be considered. The tickets are free but you need to collect them from the Pontifical Swiss Guard station at the Bronze Gate on the right side of the colonnade of Saint Peter’s Square on the day before the ceremony from 9 am to 7 pm.

Visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum

The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill are fantastic sites to visit in April in Rome because they are all open-air and the weather is lovely, not too cold anymore and the summer heat is not here yet.

During this time of the year, a visit to this fantastic archaeological site in Rome is really one of the best things to do. In fact, many people share this opinion and you will find the place very crowded. My advice is to book well ahead either your skip-the-line ticket online or book a Colosseum private tour that includes also the nearby ancient sites.

Go for a picnic in the park

Easter in Rome is all about picnics, especially Easter Monday but really also Sunday if you are not really into religious celebrations. The weather is usually nice so spending a day or half a day in one of the parks in Rome is a great idea. This is something you will see across the country if you decide to spend Easter in Italy.

Image: Villa Pamphilj

One of our favorite parks to have a picnic is Villa Pamphilj because it also has a children’s playground, a lovely lake to walk around, and a cozy bistro serving organic food. I had a picnic on Easter Monday also in the Parco degli Acquedotti south of Rome one year and it was absolutely lovely, with so much green to walk surrounded by ancient Roman vestiges.

Other great parks for a picnic in Rome are Villa Borghese, Parco della Caffarella, Villa Ada, and the charming Villa Torlonia.

Enjoy Hanami

A lovely thing to do in Rome during Easter is to enjoy the blossoming of the cherry trees (sakura) according to the Japanese celebration of Hanami. Usually in Rome, it takes place at the beginning of April, so this year it will be around Easter.

Some places to see Hanami in Rome include the Laghetto dell’EUR south of Rome, the Orto Botanico in Trastevere, and the Japanese Institute.

Visit Rome’s Rose Garden

The Roseto Comunale at the foot of romantic Aventine Hill is open at the beginning of spring in Rome and displays a huge collection of roses of all colors, scents, and shapes. The roses planted in the rose garden come from different countries and form a fantastic selection of different types of roses.

Image: Roses from Rome's rose garden to visit during Easter in Rome.

Go offbeat

Since this is high season and the most famous landmarks in Rome are likely to be crowded, why not stray far from the city center and visit some lesser-known attractions and neighborhoods especially if you are staying a week in Rome?

In Via Nomentana is the beautiful complex of Sant’Agnese Fuori Le Mura that comprises an early-Christian basilica, Catacombs, ancient Roman ruins, and the 4th-century Costanza Mausoleum with a ceiling covered with stunning mosaics.

Some of the coolest neighborhoods you can visit to find fewer crowds in Rome at Easter are also Ostiense, rich in street art and the vestiges of Rome’s industrial archaeology, and traditional Testaccio.

Go to a museum

For Easter in Rome, most museums are open also on Monday giving more people a chance to visit them even if they are staying only a few days. Rome has many museums, but places like Galleria Borghese require a prior booking when crowds start being too large.

Spending a few hours in one of the best museums in Rome is a great way to learn more about the history, the art, and the culture of the city.

Take a day trip

To join the locals for Easter in Rome, the best thing you can do is to take a day trip. Romans love to go outside the city every time the sun shines, and especially on Easter Monday, this even meets tradition.

Places like Lake Bracciano, Calcata, Civita di Bagnoregio, and Fiumicino are some of the easiest day trips from Rome you can take either by car or with public transport. Depending on where you go, you can enjoy a walk along the lakeside, a hike, or have lunch on the beachfront.

If you have reached Italy by car or van, make sure you are carrying all the necessary road trip essentials for a smooth journey and experience.

Image: Civita di Bagnoregio, one of the best day trips from Rome

What to book ahead for Easter in Rome

  • Religious functions. As mentioned earlier, to attend religious functions for Easter in the Vatican, you need to book by March 23rd, so well ahead of time.
  • Restaurants. If you are planning to go out for lunch or dinner on one of the important Easter days, booking ahead really is a must. This applies if you are in Rome and also if you are planning to go to popular places like Ostia, Fiumicino, and Bracciano.
  • Tours. This is a crowded time of the year so booking your Rome tours in advance will give you a better chance to find available spots.
  • Hotels. There are plenty of hotels in Rome, so you won’t run out of options easily. But if you have a specific place in mind or are traveling with a large family, I suggest you book quite in advance to find a wide range of vacancies.
  • International flights. Again, this is a crowded time of the year in Rome so booking your flight ahead is a good idea.
  • Domestic travel. The same goes for domestic travel and this includes trains, buses, and domestic flights.
Image: carciofo alla romana food in rome

What to eat in Rome at Easter

  • Abbacchio allo scottadito. Grilled lamb ribs are popular on the Roman tables over Easter, sometimes served with potatoes.
  • Artichokes. During the Easter period, you will find carciofi all over Roman restaurants prepared and served in all manners.
  • Coratella con carciofi. Fans of offal all year round, a typical Easter dish in Rome is offal with artichokes.
  • Corallina. This is a spicy sausage that traditionally should be eaten for breakfast on Easter Sunday. It’s originally from the Umbria region but has been adopted in Rome as an Easter tradition for a long time.
  • Painted eggs. This is also a breakfast tradition on Easter Sunday when everyone peels his own painted boiled egg.
  • Pizza pasquale. This is a cheese-rich pizza that is also usually had for breakfast at Easter.
  • Vignarola. This is more of a spring dish and a popular Roman pasta made using all the seasonal veggies such as fresh peas, fava beans, and artichokes.
  • Easter eggs and colomba pasquale. These are not typical Roman specialties but they will certainly be all over the city’s stores already weeks before Easter because they are Italian traditional cakes. If you want good quality products, prefer the colomba cakes from local bakeries (forni) and the Easter eggs of delis and artisan chocolate shops and factories like Said in the San Lorenzo neighborhood or Valzani pastry shop in Trastevere.
Image: Easter egg from Giano Pasticceria in Rome.
Easter egg from Giano Pasticceria in Rome

Where to eat in Rome during Easter 2024

Here are some restaurants and bakeries you should try during Easter in Rome this year, whether you are looking for a sumptuous meal or just traditional baked goods and chocolates.

  • Divinity Restaurant at The Pantheon. This is a gourmet restaurant managed by Idylio by Apread’s chef Francesco Apreda and they are celebrating both Easter and Easter Monday lunch and dinner with a special à la carte menu inclusive of traditional dishes such as artichokes and ciauscolo sausage with pecorino cheese-infused sauce, and lasagna alla vignarola spring recipe, as well as original creations. (Via Santa Chiara 4a).
  • Giano Pasticceria. This gourmet pastry shop and bakery in the Monteverde area is dishing out all the delicious baked goods that are traditional for Easter in Rome and also in other Italian regions. Head here to buy specialties such as the typical colomba cake in three original versions (classic, dark chocolate, and raspberry with gianduia), gourmet chocolate Easter eggs, and obviously, the Neapolitan pastiera. Apart from being your own Easter treat, you can also buy some of these as gifts from Rome for your friends and family. (Circonvallazione Gianicolense 224).
  • Cresci Bakery. This famous bakery in Prati is all about tradition and along with the typical cakes and pastries of the season, they are going to serve the rich breakfast traditional for Easter when the fasting of Lent is broken. This includes sweet and savory options with dishes like tart with ricotta and sour cherries, fresh cheese, Naples’ pastiera, and corallina spicy sausage. (Via Alcide de Gasperi 11/17).
  • Senses Restaurant & Lounge Bar. If you are up for a scrumptious Easter lunch in a luxury environment, head to Palazzo Montemartini, one of the best 5-star hotels in Rome next to the ancient Servian walls. Here, chef Alessandro Tognacci wants to pay tribute to Roman tradition and cuisine with delicacies such as the typical Easter cheese bread, corallina spicy salami, truffle egg, veal with puntarelle salad, and artichoke tagliolini pasta with cream of Roman pecorino cheese. (Largo Giovanni Montemartini 20).
  • Cuoco e Camicia. The restaurant of chef Riccardo Loreni and sommelier and partner Elisa Prifti in the Monti neighborhood will be open for dinner on Easter Sunday and closed on Easter Monday. You can taste the à la carte menu in which there will also be some symbolic dishes of the Easter period, such as lamb with artichokes. Easter special will be the dessert: the Pastiera with mandarin sorbet. (Via di Monte Polacco 2/4).
  • Aqualunae. For Easter Day, Emanuele Paoloni, chef of Aqualunae, has created a tasting menu for lunch and dinner. It begins with a welcome from the chef followed by avocado carpaccio with soft asparagus and egg fondant, tortelli with coralline salami, broad beans, and saffron. We continue with Carnaroli rice creamed with Syrah with lamb chops, caviar and artichokes, and duck roast beef, and prawns with Greek-style stuffed black cabbage. The dessert rounding off the meal is a cocoa sponge cake with salted caramel, gianduia cream, and hazelnuts. The cost per person is €83 and the wine pairing is €32. The restaurant will be open on Easter Monday with the à la carte menu. Reservation is highly recommended. (Piazza dei Quiriti 19/20).
  • Numa al Circo. These festivities, the dishes of the Numa al Circo restaurant seek to celebrate the flavors of the Easter tradition with attention to the choice of quality products and authentic, no-frill fares. In addition to the usual menu, chef Davide Cianetti offers some specialties for Easter and Easter Monday such as white lasagna with artichokes, baked lamb with potatoes, fried lamb chops, and puntarelle salad. Traditional Easter cakes round off the festive meal. For the occasion, the restaurant serves also the typical Easter breakfast with cheese pizza, coratella offal, casatiello bread, eggs, and corallina spicy sausage. Reservation is recommended. (Viale Aventino 20).
  • Hosteria Grappolo D’Oro. This traditional Roman restaurant in the city center near Campo de’ Fiori will adapt its menu by adding the dishes of the festivities. Their antipasti will include typical Easter breakfast fares such as eggs, corallina salami, and cheese pizza. The meal will continue with the typical artichoke offal and as the dessert, Lent maritozzi, soft sandwiches with raisins that traditionally were offered by the young men to their future brides inside the engagement ring. (Piazza della Cancelleria 80).
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About The Author: Angela Corrias

Hi, my name is Angela Corrias! I am an Italian journalist, photographer, and blogger living in Rome. After over ten years of living abroad, I finally came to the conclusion that in order to better organize my future adventures, I needed a base. Since I know and love Rome so much, I moved back to the Eternal City. This is how Rome Actually was born. Here, I cover everything about Rome, from the local food to the culture to Roman history.

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