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RELIGIOUS EVENTS AND HOLIDAYS IN ROME

Pilgrims turn to Rome...

Even though Rome is one of Europe's most populous and busiest urban centers, its spiritual attractions, the churches that tower majestically on nearly every block, easy access to the Vatican, the heavy concentration of monasteries make it a natural destination for Catholics, or anyone else in search of a spiritual retreat.

Inspired by the array of religious enclaves scattered across the city, including the spectacular Vatican museums and St. Peter's Basilica, pilgrimages to holy sites in Rome are a particularly poignant option.

Purists like to focus their Rome pilgrimage around stops at the seven Roman churches designated by the Vatican as key pilgrimage sites:

  • St. Peter's Basilica,
  • St. John Lateran (including the Scala Santa, stairs that came from the house of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem and are said to have been climbed by Christ before his trial),
  • St. Mary Major,
  • St. Paul Outside the Walls,
  • St. Philip Neri, the Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem,
  • St. Lawrence.
All are accessible by bus, tra m or subway.

Calendar of events and holidays:

October 4: Celebration of St Francis

Campidoglio St Francis Milite Ignoto

St Francis, patron of Rome and the Republic, is celebrated with vigour throughout the city every year on his feast day. The most important celebration occurs in the Santa Maria dell' Aracoeli church.

The Santa Maria dell' Aracoeli church is situated next to the Campidoglio, Michelangelo's beautiful square in the centre of Rome.

The site of the church is where the virgin sybil supposedly predicted the coming of Jesus to Emperor Augustus.

Just take Metro Line B from Castro Pretorio for 3 stops and get off at "Colosseo" station. From there, it's 200 metres on foot.

November 1: All Saints Day

Public holiday. Many churches not usually open may be open for visiting this day.

December 8: Immaculate Conception

Public and religious holiday. The pope or his envoy places flowers at the column of the Virgin in Piazza di Spagna.

Christmas 2009| read more

Cristmas in Rome 2009December 24, 2011: Christmas Eve Vigil
Every Christmas Eve, the Pope gives Midnight Mass in St Peter's Square. Read more...

December 25, 2011: Christmas Day
The Pope gives the Urbi et orbi Message and Blessing. Read more...
December 26, 2011: Boxing Day

Many Romans visit nativity scenes in churches throughout the city.

December 31, 2011: New Year's Eve, Vespers and "Te Deum"
Masses are celebrated in churches throughout the city. Traditionally, broken crockery is tossed from balconies, and a great all-night party reverberates in the Piazza del Popolo. - Click for our New Year Package

January 1, 2012: New Year's Day - Click for our New Year Package

January 6, 2012: Epiphany

Public and religious holiday, called Befana in Italian. An ordination of new bishops takes place in St. Peter's Basilica.

Epiphany in Rome 2009According to legend, the Three Wise Men on their journey to visit the newborn Jesus, stopped to ask an old woman (La Befana) for food and shelter. She refused and they continued on their way. A few hours later, the old woman glimpsed to the night sky, saw the North Star, and had a change of heart, but the Magi were long gone.

She collected toys from around the house that belonged to her deceased child and went to find the Infant Jesus. She never did find Him and continues roaming the world, every year, leaving presents for children in search of the Christ Child.

March 9th 2011 Ash Wednesday
Basilica of St. Sabina, Mass, Blessing and Imposition of the Ashes by the Pope.

Easter 2010| read more

Easter
  • April 17, 2011: Palm Sunday - Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord celebrated in St. Peter's Square with the blessing of the palms and mass.
  • April 21, 2011: Holy Thursday - Chrismal Mass at the Vatican Basilica in the morning and Mass of the Lord's Supper in the afternoon.
  • April 22, 2011: Good Friday - The Pope traditionally leads a procession, the Via Crucis, from the Colosseum and up the Monte Palatino, reenacting the 14 Stations of the Cross, from Jesus' death sentence to the placement of his body in the tomb. Read more...
  • April 23, 2011: Holy Saturday - Easter Vigil Celebration and Holy Mass
  • April 24, 2011: Easter Sunday - Urbi et Orbi message and blessing. An outdoor mass takes place Easter morning in St. Peter's Square. At noon, the pope blesses the crowds assembled in St. Peter's Square. Read more...
  • April 25, 2011: Easter Monday

 

April 25, 2011: Liberation Day
May 1, 2011: Labor Day
May 1, 2011: John Paul II's beatification
June 29, 2011: Saint Peter and Paul Day
Public Holiday. Solemn masses are held at St. Peter's Basilica and elsewhere.
July 2011 (exact date to be confirmed) Festa de’Noantri

Every year, on the Saturday following the Festa del Carmelo, a statue of the Vergine del Carmine is taken out from its resting place in the church of Sant'Agata in Rome, paraded through the streets of the Trastevere quarter and taken to San Crisogno, where it remains on display for eight days.

St. Agata Church St. Crisogno Church

August 5, 2011: The Miracle of the Madonna of the Snow

Every year a curious legend which narrates the story of the founding of the Santa Maria Maggiore church is dramatised in a solemn mass, where flower petals are scattered on the altar.

August 15, 2011: Feast of the Assumption "Ferragosto"