Holy Week begins on Sunday, April 10 with Palm Sunday and ends one week later on Easter Monday. Below are the main events taking place in Rome during this week.
Easter in Rome
Palm Sunday (10 April 2022)
The Easter period, referred to in Italy as Settimana Santa, or “Holy Week,” begins with Palm Sunday, which in 2022 falls on April 17. This day celebrates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem before he was crucified. Palm Sunday (Domenica delle Palme) is the last Sunday of Lent. On this day you will see many people walking around Rome with olive branches in their hands.
Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square at 9:30 a.m., with a procession and a blessing of the palms ceremony will take place.
Holy Thursday (April 14, 2022)
On Holy Thursday, the Pope commemorates the Last Supper of Christ at 9:30 a.m. with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. Later that evening, the foot washing ceremony takes place at a prison in Velletri (a small town south of Rome).
Good Friday (April 15, 2022)
On Good Friday, Pope Francis celebrates the Passion of the Lord at 5 p.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica. This is followed at 9:15 p.m. by the Via Crucis, a solemn torchlight procession at the Colosseum.
The annual ceremony – which dates back to the 18th century and was revived in 1964 – attracts about 20,000 believers who listen to meditations that reenact the crucifixion of Christ.
On Good Friday, by the way, the Colosseum, the Palatine and the Roman Forum close as early as 1 p.m.
Other than that, Good Friday is actually a day like any other. Contrary to what most tourists expect, it is not a public holiday in Italy. However, the schools are closed.
Saturday (April 16, 2022)
Pope Francis celebrates the Easter Vigil at 9:30 p.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica.
There is little open on Easter Sunday, so if you need to store, you should do so on this day.
Easter Sunday (17 April 2022)
At 10:00 a.m. the Pope celebrates Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square. At noon, as usual, he pronounces the Papal Blessing from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
During this Easter season, for the first time in 300 years, it will be possible to see in all their glory the Holy Steps, which are said to have been climbed by Jesus when he was condemned to be crucified by Pontius Pilate. Until now, this marble staircase was always covered.
Papal Masses are free, but reservations are required. Tickets are not required for the Via Crucis and the Urbi et Orbi.
On Easter Day, it is advisable to reserve the restaurant of your choice in advance.
Most museums and other attractions in Rome are open during Easter. Please note that at the Colosseum reservations are required during the Covid crisis. The Vatican Museums are closed during Easter.