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Easter 2022: What to do in Rome

Soon it will be Easter and with this event also comes a great opportunity to wander across Rome, especially if you tour during Holy Week.

Great expectations are placed on Easter 2022, a return to normality, and a possibility to release some stress. We are all confident that by the time Easter approaches, we will be enjoying audiences, tours, and activities freely without limitations of any nature. The good news is that globally we are crawling out of this era. Said that, let’s think about Rome!

It is hard to make a hit-list in the Eternal City, who is denying that? There is just too much one might explore and just be a part of. Whether you go cultural and visit all the museums you can or walk miles through city streets and tight roads or even inconspicuously choose to breeze through the over 900 churches in Rome. Well, alright, maybe just a couple of those 900. Anyway, it will still be well worth the time for a trip.

Here’s a list of locations you might like considering visiting during this upcoming Easter.

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

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The highlight: Sistine Chapel

No way on Earth you can visit Rome during Easter and not plan a tour to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. The four miles / seven kilometers of rooms and passageways in the Papal Museums are a major landmark in the city, collecting items that have been found in underground excavations, lucky recoveries, expensive commissions, and acquisitions. Statues, busts, frescoes, paintings, tapestries, chapels… a boundless list of all the precious and enchanting objects safeguarded in here and leading to the Sistine Chapel.

The struggling Michelangelo, locked up on wooden scaffolding and exposed to humidity and danger of injuries, completing inch by inch a limitless and oddly curved ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which he called the “barn”, delivering to Pope Julius II and to countless generations to follow, one of the greatest monumental frescoes ever made in history.

The less you want to do something, the more you end up having to do it. M Michelangelo, who had ferociously vowed to never work again the Sistine Chapel after four full years agonizing on the scaffolding, twitching, bending, and squeezing to fit through the cracks and corners of the flattened barrel vault, finds himself thirty years later pitted against the altar wall to work on “Final Judgment”. You can’t help but feel how wearing down the whole experience, ceiling and wall together, must have been to the Florentine genius.

A tour in the Vatican Museums covers the Chapel and other parts of the Museums, like Raphael’s Rooms, once Papal Apartments, decorated by Michelangelo’s rival, Raphael, a talented and courteous young man called by Julius II to work in several rooms laying frescoes as well. If only one could time travel and see these two artists toiling to get these works done and also feel the intense rivalry between them.

Consider, we provide tours according to the crowd and schedule limitations so consider that the Vatican Museums are open on Good Friday and the following Saturday. They are closed on Easter and Easter Monday (here in Italy it is called “Pasquetta”, “Little Easter”).


Holy Week from Monday to Saturday: Open

Easter Sunday and Monday: Closed


St. Peter’s Basilica

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St. Peter’s Basilica, Dome and Square

During Holy Week period, which runs figuratively from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday, visiting the Papal Basilica of St. Peter is a must-do. A chance to visit the spectacular square and mighty obelisk at the center, climb up to St. Peter’s Dome, access the truly immense Basilica, visit the Crypt… and why not, also participate in one of the many audiences, ceremonies, or events that take place in St. Peter’s during this time.

Stand under Bernini’s gigantic 100-foot-tall bronze Baldachin which covers the burial of the first Apostle, St. Peter. Glance by the Pietà, a young Michelangelo masterpiece to the right, first chapel as you enter the basilica. Maybe try caressing St. Peter’s foot, on the bronze statue further in the Basilica.

As you progress closer to Easter, there are partial closings and ceremonies which can make touring and pilgriming harder or impossible. We can help you as well to navigate around the inevitable ceremonies and limitations. Don’t forget! It’s Easter after all.

As a rule:

Palm Sunday – basilica opens in the afternoon, say 2 pm

Good Thursday – basilica open in the afternoon

Good Friday – basilica usually closes in the afternoon, around 5 pm

Good Saturday- open

Easter Sunday – like Palm Sunday

Easter Monday – like Palm Sunday

Colosseum, Palatine Hill & Roman Forum

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Colosseum: a must-see! We are considering that, as normality creeps in, also the traditional Good Friday ceremony at the Colosseum may take place. If it does, it will be a late afternoon appointment with the Pope leading the Way of the Cross, which is re-enacted at the site of the Colosseum.

Said that this is another glorious landmark that one must visit during this time. The gigantic Colosseum, despite years of explorations and descriptions dating back to its inauguration, still has many mysteries unsolved.

Among the many, it is unclear how many Christians were really killed here if any fake navy battles ever took place if gladiators were really the men and women we traditionally think about if all of the Colosseum has been explored. For that matter, it isn’t clear how Romans really called this giant amphitheater because, remember, Colosseum is a fake name! It was a name made up during the Middle Ages due to the remains of a huge “colossal” statue which stood by the side of the fifty-meter-tall Flavian monument. We don’t even know the name of the architect who designed and built the structure. With so many unknowns, there is room to fantasize at will.

Pope Francis at the Colosseum, Good Friday

Regardless of that, we make this a must-visit inside the Colosseum, both floors. We also suggest participating in the Underground tour of the Colosseum, which also includes the partially reconstructed arena floor. The view from here is special. You don’t get to do this every day.

Once done, Palatine Hill is the next possible stop. It takes a bit of climbing but nobody is pressing for time once out of the Colosseum. Make your way up to the top of the 150-foot-tall hill, where Romulus, the founder of Rome, lived and where centuries later also the Roman Emperors will set their living quarters and official governmental buildings. The site is special, peaceful, relaxing, and offers unexpected great views from above the Forum and of the city, also over 180-degree views. Our expert guides know all about it. They will not miss out on showing you to these sites before leading you down to the Valley, where you can see Julius Caesar’s house, the House of the Vestals, and the Roman Curia (the Senate).


City Center: Fountains and Squares

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Another tip! You know how you learn about a city? By walking in the city center, with no destination. That’s one of the best ways to do it. Rome is that kind of city where everywhere you turn, you will cross some interesting landmarks. It can be an old cobblestone road, a small church, a museum, a bell tower, an ancient Roman monument, and artistic beauty. Just to name a few.

We recommend that you explore the city of Rome by meandering through the small roads and just walking into the countless shops and monuments. That is something you can accomplish anytime. There is also our way of helping you through, with our experienced guides in a city center fountain tour, which covers a fair distance across Rome and offers an opportunity to identify the highlights of the city. We have evening, small group and private tours as options!

The masterpiece Trevi Fountain, the immortal Pantheon, the characteristic market in Campo de Fiori, the odd but intriguing remains of the Temple of Hadrian in Piazza Della Pietra, the spectacular Navona Square and the charming Spanish Steps are the sites we promote as a must-see during this type of tour.





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The fantastic vault of Sant’Ignazio, made by Andrea Pozzo

Rome and Churches. Disassociating the two is near to impossible in the Eternal City where nearly any main street has some form of church, chapel, aedicula or temple. In your free time you might want to consider roaming the city center randomly accessing some of the churches.

They all have spectacular and powerful messages inside. Religiously and artistically. The results of centuries of constructions and restorations, something that only an ancient city like Rome could host because these architectural landmarks could not be staged or built overnight. It needed near to three millenniums to form, to develop, to mature, to complete.

It’s so true: “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. We have news for you, you can’t tour it in a day either. So, we propose making the best of it during this special time of the year.

The Pantheon, once a Pagan temple and later converted to a church, is one of the most significant and exemplar churches in Rome. Standing for almost 2000 years and one of the largest masonry domes ever made, it’s a must-visit location. If you tour it with us, you will also discover a few secrets of this majestic structure. One of them is that the original structure was square-shaped! See. We told you!

Nearby is the church of Sant’Ignazio, a Jesuit-run church that was made in the 17th century which sports a fake dome fresco and a near to impossible fresco on the ceiling, an example of perspective and depth that is among the best ever made.

Not every church is huge, and why should we talk about these as if smaller ones cannot touch people’s hearts? Take any little church along the way

Galleria and Villa Borghese

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Galleria Borghese – Aeneas and Anchises

The one-time Borghese family private collections along with the surrounding gardens were inaccessible and one of the largest collections belonging to a single-family in the world.

During this time of the year, an excursion to the most popular park in Rome, where you can stroll along with fake ancient ruins and fountains and even picnic if you like, is an experience we encourage you to be a part of. Picnics mind you are something Romans try during a weekend or during Easter Monday, how can we say, it’s a touch of “romanity”.

Romans were fixated by the idea of creating gardens with long trails leading behind trees, temple ruins and small hills, to render the sensation one was away from the city and the daily chaos that major cities like Rome meant. The goal is not that of simulating history to perfection rather that of stimulating one’s own sensations, enjoying better air, and stimulating that inner sense of wellbeing that already back then wasn’t easy to achieve.

Couple it with a tour of the Galleria Borghese to explore the sculpture masterpieces left by Bernini and Canova and the paintings made by Raphael, Titian, and Caravaggio, all nestled in a single building on two levels.

We offer tours with expert guides who know this site very well and can offer great insight into the past of this collection and also the anecdotes that are literally everywhere in a city like Rome!


Appian Way

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Appian Way, near the fifth mile

The ancient Roman highway we might call it. One of the greatest ideas Roman strategists ever had and also one of the greatest infrastructures ancient civilizations managed to assemble and leave behind for future generations to stare at, awestricken.

There was an enormous network of these roads that led out from Rome to distant cities. They were also called “consular roads”. Centuries of poor care and exposure to elements as well as modern-day constructions have swept away or buried these marvelous roads but there is one particular road that still is mostly intact: The Appian Way.

What do you know, it was also the first road of its type ever made (late 4th century BC) and is here in Rome!

Ordered by the Censor Appius Cladius Ciecus in 312 BC, it reached the city of Brindisi in Apulia once completed. The stretch running from the 1st mile to just after the 11th mile still exists. Sometimes with the huge ancient stones, at times only gravel. Other times with great monuments along the side, other times clear unobstructed views of the Roman countryside. With a bicycle you can ride a great part of this road.

The main point is that this is at times a near to uncontaminated road with archeological remains along the side, a fantastic place for photography and long walks. More populated during the weekend, a great deal less between Monday through Friday, it is also near great sites such as the Mausoleum of Ceclia Metella, Maxentius’ Circus, the church of St. Sebastian, various catacombs (St. Callixtus, St. Sebastian and at a short distance from here also those of Domitilla), the immense Villa dei Quintili and the church of the Domine Quo Vadis?

As you can see, there is a lot to be done in Rome, especially during Easter 2022. We can arrange for you tours and give you guidance to use your time the best possible way. For more information or to arrange a tour, check out What a Life Tours or contact us by phone at +39 06 88975757/+39 334 7273299 (WhatsApp), or email at info@whatalifetours.com!

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