Easter may be the most popular and exciting time of year to visit Rome, the world’s hub for the Catholic holiday. The city is alive with celebration and spring colors, and you’re going to want to get in on the action. Most of the activity centers at the Vatican, with a Papal Mass on Easter Sunday and a public message to the tens of thousands who gather in the square and up via della Conciliazione to the Tiber River. It's an unforgettable experience, but be warned that the crowds are absolutely massive.
To escape the swarms and avoid waiting around, opt for a skip-the-line pass to get fast-track entry into sites such as the Sistine Chapel and Raphael’s Rooms, where you’ll spend your holiday enjoying world-famous artwork. You can also choose a 2.5-hour walking tour through St Peter’s Basilica and the 1578 Mosaic Studio, which is usually closed to the public and lies right next door to Santa Marta, where the pope resides when he isn't out in the city celebrating the big holiday.
If you’d rather stay away from the Vatican, you can still dodge the crowds with a skip-the-line pass to the renowned Colosseum. Head straight inside and spend hours exploring the historical site and learning all about the mighty gladiators who once roamed the structure. You can upgrade to step foot on the Colosseum arena floor where they competed to the death.
You’ll find mostly everything closed down on Easter Sunday and Monday, also known as Pasquetta -- although some restaurants are open for lunch. By this time, most Romans head to the beach, the hills outside the city or to a park to spend time with family and friends in the great outdoors. Take a leisurely bicycle tour around the city with a local guide to soak up the nice spring weather or take a day trip to the serene island of Capri to unwind away from the bustling city after the celebrations.
Most shops and restaurants reopen after the big Easter weekend, but some smaller ones may close for a full week. Check ahead and have an alternate plan in your back pocket just in case.