Easter is high season in Rome. Here you will find all information about Easter 2020 in Rome and how to avoid queues.
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Museums opening times at Easter in Rome
Easter in the Colosseum
8:30 – 19:15, the entrance closes at 18:15.
On the evening of Good Friday, the Pope celebrates the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum and it is therefore closed. The Colosseum metro station is also closed.
Colosseum Good Friday 10.4.2020 8:30 – 13, the entrance closes at 12:00
National museums and municipal museums
Easter at the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
The Vatican Museums are closed on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.Opening hours Mon – Sat 9 – 18 The entrance closes at 4 p.m.
Extended opening hours:
9 – 19 on Good Friday April 10th, Holy Saturday April 11th, Tuesday April 14th, Saturday April 18th, April 25th
Night opening 17.4., 24.4.
7 – 11 p.m. the entrance closes at 9:30 p.m.
Access to the Sistine Chapel is through the Vatican Museums and is included in the price.
Opening hours St. Peter's Basilica and dome
Basilica 7 – 19
Dome 8 – 18
Treasury 8 – 18:30
Grottoes 7 – 18, unless they are closed for mass celebrations
St. Peter’s Basilica, dome and grottoes are closed during the Pope’s masses and audiences. You can find more information on this in the calendar.
Easter is high season in Rome. If you don’t prepare properly, you risk long queues everywhere. You then waste many hours waiting in front of museum cash desks and security controls, in front of ticket machines or luggage storage.
Basically, you can save a lot of time when your hotel is in the center of Rome. Read about hotels in Rome.
Queues at St. Peter's Basilica
Entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica is free. However, there are always long queues at the security check. At Easter there is a queue around St. Peter’s Square and it takes at least an hour to get to security.
You can, however, avoid the queue by ordering in advance an audio guide or a tour from the official visitor service of St. Peter’s Basilica. You will then go to the pilgrimage service with your reservation and will be let through directly to the security check.
Queues at the Colosseum
The Colosseum is the most visited museum in Italy. For security reasons, no more than 3,000 visitors may be in the Colosseum at the same time.
For the Colosseum, a certain amount of tickets are offered on the Internet. At Easter, these tickets are probably sold out by mid-March. Tickets with a video guide or guided tours are usually still available.
A certain amount of tickets are reserved for the box office. At Easter, however, you risk that the tickets at the box office are sold out or are only available for an unfavorable time. You should therefore reserve tickets for the Colosseum in good time.
Queues at the Vatican Museums
If you want to visit St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, there is a trick:
If you book a tour of Museums + St. Peter’s Basilica, you can walk straight from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s Basilica and save at least two hours.
However, this does not work if St. Peter’s Basilica is closed to the public.
To do this, check the calendar. During Easter week, St. Peter’s Basilica is closed on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
The Borghese gallery is also worth mentioning. There are no queues at the gallery because you cannot enter the Borghese gallery without a reservation and because the gallery is usually fully booked a month in advance.
If you want to visit the Borghese gallery, you must make a reservation in good time.
Rome Easter shopping
All shops are open on Good Friday. Good Friday is a normal working day in Rome. Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are similarly high holidays in Rome as Christmas. Easter Sunday – Pasqua – is a family day, on Easter Monday – Pasquetta – the Romans visit friends and have lunch together. The shopping centers and many shops in the center and all shops in the periphery are closed. The shops in Termini Central Station and individual small fruit and grocery stores in the center are open. The luxury supermarket with restaurants Eataly is open . It is behind the Pyramide / Ostiense train station, metro B, tram 3.
The Porta Portese flea market is also open on Easter Sunday. Here you will find everything from junk to antiques. Be careful of pickpockets! Tram 3 + 8 8 – 13
Rome Easter food
Sweet Easter bread, Easter eggs, boiled eggs and Easter pizza are part of the Roman tradition of Easter breakfast. The Romans are not used to an extensive breakfast, but it must be at Easter.
Many also combine a late breakfast with lunch for a brunch lasting several hours. Artichokes are still in season until the end of April and are prepared in a variety of ways. Pickled as “Carciofi alla Romana” or fried as “Carciofi alla Giudia”, in pancakes “Frittata” or with offal “Coratella con Carciofi” are just a few of the preparation options.
It also includes a selection of antipasti, cheese and sausages, salty pastries, a soup. Then follows a first course with pasta and potato dumplings and then, obligatory, the lamb “Agnello” or “Abbacchio”. Finally, there is the classic “Colomba”, a yeast pastry with candied fruit and almond in the form of a dove, desserts from the Neapolitan tradition and all possible dessert variations.
In the heart of Trastevere, Via Natale del Grande 52, you will find Eggs . The name is program with egg dishes and variations of Carbonara. On Easter Sunday and Easter Monday you will get a classic Roman Easter breakfast here.
In the Pigneto district you will find a lunch menu in the Bistrot Pigneto 1870 , Via del Pigneto 25. Bus 81, local train RMG from Termini, departure at the exit of the regional train station, opposite the hotel Radisson Blu, until the stop Ponte Casilino.
A popular bistro with organic products is Vivi Bistrot in the Villa Pamphili, just the thing for the holiday in the parks of Rome. There are now several branches, in Palazzo Braschi at Piazza Navona, in Via della Mercede 50 in the center and in the Rinascente department store in Via del Tritone.
For a trip to the countryside we propose you the Via Appia Antica. You simply take bus 118 from Piazza Venezia and get off at the Calixtus Catacombs or at the Catacombs of St. Sebastian. It’s about a two miles walk from the Circus Maximus on Via di Porta San Sebastiano. By bus 218 from San Giovanni you can get off at Quo Vadis or at Ardeatina / San Sebastiano. More about the Appia Antica>
A noble and well known place is the L’Archeologia opposite St. Sebastian. Opposite the mausoleum of Cecilia Metella is the nice and simple garden restaurant Il Giardino di Giulia e Fratelli . Right next to it you will find the top location Hostaria Antica Roma, which is owned by the same family.
The Pope's Way of the Cross at the Colosseum · Via Crucis
The Pope celebrates the Way of the Cross on Good Friday at the Colosseum. The Colosseum and Colosseo Metro station are therefore closed on Good Friday afternoon.
Pope Way of the Cross at the Colosseum 21:15 – 22:45
There is a huge crush and you can only see the Pope with binoculars.
Of course it is very impressive to celebrate the Way of the Cross with so many believers. But it is also very tiring and you have to be there very early to find a good place.
You can see the live broadcast of the Pope’s Way of the Cross on our site.
Watch the Way of the Cross 2019 on Youtube.
Rome Easter 2020 Calendar
April 5th Palm Sunday
10:00 Pope Mass on St. Peter’s Square with advance booking, blessing of palm branches (usually olive branches). St. Peter’s Basilica is closed during the mass.
12:00 Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square free entry
April 8, 9:30 a.m. General audience of the Pope. St. Peter’s Basilica is closed until the end of the audience.
April 9, 9:30 a.m. Pope Mass Chrisam Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica , only with advance booking. St. Peter’s Basilica is closed during the mass.
April 10 Good Friday
5 p.m. Mass with the Pope in St. Peter’s Basilica, only with advance booking. St. Peter’s Basilica is closed during the mass.
9:15 p.m. Way of the Cross – Via Crucis at the Colosseum
April 11 Holy Saturday
8:30 p.m. Pope Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Easter Night service only with advance booking. St. Peter’s Basilica is closed during the mass.
Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020
10:00 Papal Mass on St. Peter’s Square , with advance booking. St. Peter’s Basilica is closed during the mass.
12:00 Blessing Urbi et Orbi on St. Peter’s Square without advance booking
Easter Monday April 13th, 2020
12:00 Regina Caeli at St. Peter’s Square free entrance