With the excitement of the new Pope revitalizing the Catholic Church, the Vatican has come to life. If you have the opportunity to travel to Rome for the Easter weekend, you're in for a celebration that you won't forget. Delicious food, amazing history, unique traditions and a mass led by the Pope himself are just the beginning for people of all religions, faiths and backgrounds. When making plans to attend this momentous occasion, it's important to know what to expect in order to make the most of your experience!
Easter Mass Tickets: This is probably the most important part of the entire celebration. Millions watch from home, but only a few are able to say they were in attendance. Tickets are free, but in order to secure the golden ticket, you must request through your local parish at home, or online at the Vatican website. Once you are granted tickets, arrive in Rome and follow the instructions in order to pick up the vouchers prior to the mass. On Easter Sunday, seats are first come first serve. Obviously, the mass is special regardless of where you are sitting, and there are plenty of screens to have a view of the action, but if you're devoted and want to be in the front rows where there are chairs, plan on waking up at the crack of dawn to wait in line and secure your spot.
Sightseeing: In order to have time to see the Colosseum, Forum, Sistine Chapel and still fit in frequent stops for gelato, it will take some planning ahead of time. Reserve tickets for the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel ahead of time online. If you're planning on going into the Colosseum, consider springing for a guided tour that allows you to skip the line. We like Walks of Italy for their high quality guides and service. If making arrangements in advance isn't your thing, get up with the sunrise to wait in line at both major sites and plan to spend about three hours inside learning about the Ancient Roman history.
Delicious Dining: Along with the other millions of visitors in town for the holiday weekend, you'll have to compete for table space and reservations in order to check out some of the top rated spots in the city. In Rome, Italians savor each meal filled with different traditions. Breakfast kicks the day off with finally breaking into the incredibly large chocolate Easter Egg that has a surprise inside symbolizing the rebirth of Spring and life. You also can't miss a taste of a Colomba Pasquale, which is a sweet bread coated with raisins, sugar and almonds. Lunch is every Italian's favorite meal of the day with risotto, lamb and plenty of vino, often extending until the sun goes down. Cap off your Sunday meals with delicious gelato at our favorite Giolitti's or Old Bridge in the shadow of the Vatican.