Visiting Rome during the Easter time is quite an experience. Especially for Catholics, the weekend starting on April 16 is practically a calling to Rome, where the Holy Week is celebrated to the fullest. Especially this year, visiting the Holy City will be something special, as it will be the soon to be elected new pope’s first Easter ceremonies, the Catholic Church’s biggest event of the year!
Easter in Rome
If you do travel to Rome around Easter, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are filled with religious highlights. The new Pope Francis will be there overlooking the procession from the Colosseum to the Palatine hill on Friday. This remembering of Christ’s journey on 14 stops along the way is practically a must for the Christian traveler to Rome and the Vatican! But remember: as this will also be the pope’s first official Easter in his position, it will attract many more tourists than a normal Easter may.
In the St. Peter’s Basilica, there is an Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, which will only be topped by Easter Sunday’s Holy Mass which Pope Francis will hold on St. Peter’s Square, where he will also lead the Urbi et Orbi blessing at noon. Whoever the new pope will be, he will attract hundreds of thousands of the 1.2 billion Catholics to the square to see him speak out the blessing.
Of course, the most important event of the year for Catholics draws lots of people to the Vatican and Rome, and thus hotels are packed throughout the city, not to mention the higher prices they charge for rooms! But don’t despair! There are other options. One of the best ones I have found is Lido di Ostia, a beautiful city just a little outside of Rome by the Tyrrhenian Sea. The city is an attraction as well especially for its history and location with beautiful beaches and is a safe harbor from all the hustle and bustle of the capital city during Easter.
The large archeological site Ostia Antica shows visitors the remains of the old harbor city of Rome. It attracts many tourists every year and makes Ostia a great place to stay in to experience both the history and the culture and real Italian holiday, not right in the middle of all the tourist attractions, but still close enough to them if you do feel like it. Also, you can get into Rome or the Vatican easily and comfortably in less than 30 minutes, so during the day you can be part of the Easter celebrations, while at night you can get a good night’s sleep away from the noise of the tourist-filled city.
Moreover, staying in Ostia will up your dining experience. After all, there are countless restaurants all over Rome charging extra for a less authentic meal, but in Ostia I have found that you find fairer prices and better meals. Especially seafood is great here – not to mention pasta and pizza, of course! It’s simply a must! You won’t regret dining in Ostia, especially after an exciting day sightseeing or experiencing the Holy Weekend first hand in Rome.
Spending Easter in or around Rome is definitely an experience to brag about back home. Staying in Ostia is a smart option if you ask me, whether it is for Easter or on a regular visit, as the district is an attraction in itself and helps you experience the real Italian culture.