Every year on 29 June, Rome celebrates the Festival of the city’s Patron Saints Peter and Paul. The Festival of the town Patron Saints Peter and Paul is one of the highest feast of Rome.
Already the day before the festival, the city empties, as many Romans take advantage of the long weekend. All the nicer to be able to enjoy the city in peace.
The center of the celebrations of the Solemnity of Peter & Paul are all Catholic churches, especially St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Paul outside the walls.
In addition to the celebrations in the Basilicas, we remember the following events in recent years:
4 pm: Canoe Regatta on the Tiber River near the bridge Ponte Margherita that connects Via Cola di Rienzo with Piazza del Popolo.
8 pm: Piazza del Popolo: Music Band
9 pm: Traditional fireworks on the Pincian Hill “La Girandola”. The fireworks can be admired very well from Piazza del Popolo.
It is not known if these events will take place in 2023, as no official schedule has been published.
The fireworks La Girandola
In 2020 and 2021 the festival in Piazza del Popolo was cancelled due to the Corona virus.
In 2021 the amusement park Cinecittà World took the initiative and organized a big fireworks display with music at 22:30.
In 2023, the 6th Italian Fireworks Championship will be held at Cinecittà World from July 7-9 and July 14-16.
Cinecittà World is located south of Rome on Via Pontina and can only be reached by private vehicle .
The feast at St. Peter’s Basilica
In St. Peter’s Basilica, the Solemnity of Peter & Paul is celebrated with a Pope’s Mass at 9:30. Tickets can be ordered from the Papal Prefecture. You can also follow the celebration on the large screens on St. Peter’s Square. You will find the live broadcast on my website about the papal audiences live.
The area in front of St. Peter’s square is traditionally decorated with images made of petals, the so-called “Infiorata“. Associations from all over Italy already set to work the night before to produce the images. So you can see the preparations on the eve and on 29/06/2023 at 10 am the 10th Infiorata will be officially opened at St. Peter’s. Infiorata in the photo gallery>
The Pope prays Angelus at 12 o’clock above St. Peter’s Square.
The fair at St. Paul’s Church
St. Paul’s Outside the Walls hosts a traditional fair each year with street food, entertainment, games and the sale of items. The market is held on Via Ostiense behind the basilica from 8 p.m. June 28 to midnight June 29.
The Vatican museums are closed on June 29. All other museums in Rome are normally open.
The fact that the city festival Peter & Paul is one of the highest festivals of the Romans, does not mean that all Romans celebrate the festival in Rome. Many Romans use June 29th for a long weekend. If you are traveling by car and your departure day is June 28 or 29, you should start very early. Otherwise you need 1-2 hours just to get out of the city of Rome.
In the city, however, it is relatively quiet. Public transport is based on public holiday timetable.
History of the city festival Peter and Paul
Peter and Paul are the two apostles who have been portrayed together since the dawn of Christendom.
Peter, the Fisherman of Galilee, was the first apostle Jesus called to Himself. About the year 50 Peter came to Rome and worked as a great preacher until he was arrested during the persecutions by Nero. According to the legend, he managed to escape, but on the Via Appia Jesus appeared and convinced him to repent and take the martyrdom. He was crucified around the year 67 in the circus of Nero. Unwilling to be crucified like Jesus, he asked to be crucified with his head down. He was then buried on the Vatikans Hill. Above his grave was first a chapel and later the basilica of Emperor Constantine, which was replaced in the 16th century by the present St. Peter’s Basilica. More about the history of St. Peter’s
Paul was born as son of a Hebrew family in Tarsus in what is now Turkey and converted to Christianity after appearing on the way to Damascus. He became a tireless messenger of the words of Jesus and was arrested in Jerusalem as a troublemaker. As a Roman citizen, he had the right to a due process, and in 61 he was transferred to Rome, where he spent several years in prison. He was arrested again during the persecution of Christians under Nero. Legend has it that he was in the same prison as Peter.
As a Roman citizen, he had the right to a less painful death. He was beheaded around the year 67 at the three wells on the Via Laurentina. The legend says that his head hit the ground three times, and that there was a well at each point. Today, there is the Cistercian abbey “Tre fontane” on the site.
Paul was buried outside the city walls on Via Ostiense. There rises today the Basilica of St. Paul outside the walls. Legend has it that Peter and Paul were executed the same day.
Since the solemnity of the apostles Peter and Paul is celebrated in the church on June 29, this day is a public holiday in Rome.