There’s no question, we Brits love a good Bank Holiday. As soon as I discover there’s one around the corner, I automatically begin planning how I can best exploit my 3 day weekend, and start day dreaming about the places I could travel to with my one extra valuable day off.
For the travel-prone like myself, or for those just looking for a well-deserved break, the Easter Weekend opens up the possibility for a long weekend away, and when it comes to Easter Mini Breaks – Rome comes top of my list for plenty more reasons than the Pizza…
Having visited Rome over Easter back in my late teens, I vividly remember the electric atmosphere, stunning sights and the delicious Italian cooking (and it wasn’t that long ago – promise!). During the Easter Weekend, Rome’s bustling piazzas are livelier than ever, and the seasonal celebrations perfectly display the city’s cultural side.
Being the home of Vatican City and The Pope, Rome is a special place to be over Easter. But you don’t have to be Catholic or even religious to enjoy the many events taking place. Kicking off the festivities is The Pope’s Mass at St Peter’s Basilica on Good Friday, which is followed by the Via Crucis. Meaning Way of the Cross, the Via Crucis is a candlelit procession through the city, led by The Pope and beginning at The Colosseum.
If you’ve only got time for one event, I’d recommend catching the biggie, the main event; Easter Mass in the Vatican on Easter Sunday. After the Mass, The Pope addresses a huge crowd and delivers the famous Urbi et Orbi speech from his balcony. The event is free, but crowds are huge so be sure to arrive early to get a good spot. During my trip to Rome I was lucky enough to be in a fantastic position to watch the speech. It was something I’ll remember forever and now that I’m a little older I’ve realised it’s definitely up there in my top 10 worldly travel experiences so far!
As well as all of the religious events going on during the Easter Weekend in Rome there are, of course, endless classic sights to see. For art lovers, The Sistine Chapel is an absolute must, where you can see the timeless ceiling paintings by Michaelangelo including the legendary Creation of Adam. The Colosseum is undoubtedly the most iconic landmark and attraction of Rome which brings the city’s ancient Roman history to life. I was in awe of the ancient amphitheatre and couldn’t help imagine Russell Crowe charging through the arches like in Gladiator.
Walking tours such as Discovering Rome are a perfect way to explore the city with many of the sights being within walking distance from one another. Tours such as this one include stops at the open air market of Campo dei Fiori, The Pantheon, The Ouazza di Spagna (The Spanish steps), The famous Trevi Fountain and some of Rome’s best known Piazzas such as the Piazza Navona.
Al Fresco cafes in the many picturesque piazzas of Rome can charge up to double, even triple the average menu prices in Rome (because their locations are so damn popular and simply because they can). If you’re after a long sit down and fancy watching the world go by for an hour or so, it might be worth paying extra for the experience, but if you’re after a quick refreshment stop or a bite to eat I’d recommend looking for somewhere just around the corner.
As well as all the to-die-for pizzas and perfect pastas, Easter in Rome boasts additional culinary offerings such as Italy’s famous Easter cake Torta di Pasqua. The cake comes in delicious variations of sweet and savoury and is a must-try on any Easter break in Rome.
With the endless sights, celebrations and activities going on in Rome during Easter, it’s no surprise that flight and hotel packages to Rome are in high demand. Despite the crowds, spending Easter in the eternal city is an unique experience and if you’re anything like me you’ll return home addicted to pesto, convinced you need to buy yourself a Vespa and already planning your next trip back!
Are you planning to visit Rome in Easter? Tell us your plans in the comments section below!
Some images courtesy of www.rome.info