How 'big' is Easter week in Italy?

Sep 6th, 2006, 03:25 AM
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How 'big' is Easter week in Italy?

Hi Fodorites!

Our family is in the process of selecting a new destination for our next vacation. We are throwing a few ideas around...I have been dreaming of river-boating through French channels, DH is always ready to go back to Spain, we also have Portugal in the pot...but DD has been clamoring for a trip to Italy for several years now. DH and I have been there already so it was not at the top of the list. But then....Italy is Italy....the Tuscan hills call...hiking through Cinque Terre...tons of vino...sublime gelattos...maybe it IS time to go back to Italy!

Considering work and school our next window of opportunity is April 07. We would have a two week window were DD has spring vacation BUT they include Easter week and the week after.

This is were I hesitate! We were 'caught' once in Spain over Easter and it was MAYHAM. We knew that it was an important holiday and that there would be traditional processions. In other words, we knew it would be big but, Boy! Were we wrong! It was HUGE!

Don't go too rough on me for bad planning and lack of info...I had not discovered Fodor's at the time

We were winging it at the time and were hard pressed to find a hotel in Ronda and Granada. From Palm Sunday to Good Friday there were processions and the old towns were closed to traffic. We were almost stranded without public transportation several times.

Is it going to be as crazy in Italy? Will everything be closed from Good Friday to Monday after Easter? Museums, restaurants and stores? Are the crowds too bad? Do they concentrate in the Vatican? Will the hotel prices go WAY up? Should we skip April and go in June?

I would avoid Rome during the Easter period but would it be just as crazy in Venice or in Florence? Would we be OK if we just rent a villa or apartment for the critical period between Good Friday and Monday after Easter and go hiking? April could be wet for hiking...

thanks to all!
marigross is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 04:51 AM
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Italy is NOT Spain when it comes to Easter. Vatican City will be jammed and hotel will be at a premium in Roma. Altough you may find noticeable festivities in large cities like Napoli and Genova, it is nothing like Sevilla unless you go to a small town that stages a huge Easter parade, but you can find that out in advance. Not many small towns do.

You should know that the day after Easter is a national holiday, so museums and many restaurants will be closed.

Your bigger problem is going to be that Eastertime is vacation-time for many Italians, who enjoy sightseeing in their own country. So you may find some tourist attractions surprisingly crowded with Italian tourists and also European schoolchildren on organized field trips. (Were you to go two weeks later, you'd find them surprisingly crowded with Italian schoolchlidren on field trips.)

The upside is that many of the greatest churches are earth will be decked out brilliantly, and there will be many occasions to hear choirs, etc.

I would be drawn to the countryside for Spring in Italy more than the cities or the seaside. I think renting a villa in April is a great idea.
nessundorma is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 06:37 AM
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Can't compare it to Spain, but Easter week in Italy is a little hectic. As nessundorma points out, a lot of Italians are on holiday that week, as are a lot of Europeans who visit Italy. When we were in Italy Easter week, we ran into lots of Germans.

Yes, hotels will be limited and more pricey. Honestly, if it were up to me, I'd avoid it if I could.
j_999_9 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 06:43 AM
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Have been to Italy several times, and I think it would be safe to say that most things would be closed Easter weekend. It is a BIG holiday in Italy!

Hope this helps.
sirianne is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 08:53 AM
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nessundorma, I know exactly what you mean! the first time DH and I were in Italy we overlapped spring vacation and the museums were mobbed with children!

Is Italian spring break always tied to Easter? I live in Puerto Rico and it always is. This would be a deciding factor.
marigross is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 08:59 AM
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Yes, spring break is always tied to Easter, and the entire country is going somewhere on vacation. So you don't want to be on the road in a car, and if you plan to travel by train, book well in advance.

best regards,
Deirdré Straughan
DeirdreStraughan is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 11:23 PM
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not just in italy - we don't have 'spring break' in europe - the kids get easter holidays and many europeans travel so you could be contending with british and french tourists as well as the locals
sashh is offline  
Sep 7th, 2006, 05:08 PM
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My BIL and sister and I were in Italy two years ago over Easter. We found places to stay while "winging it". However, it took some looking and several places we wanted to see (Sienna and Florence) were fully booked. However, our hearts were not set on these places and we stayed in smaller places and found some wonderful hidden surprises and had some adventures. In Venice we had to move twice as no one had a room for the two nights we were to be there.

Our first hostess in a B&B in the cinque Terre told us that at Christmas in Europe everyone goes home, but at Easter, everyone takes off for vacation. Don't know how general this is, but we did run into some massive traffic jams Easter Monday.

Take this FWIW.
teacher33 is offline  
Sep 7th, 2006, 05:48 PM
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We were in Rome for Palm Sunday, then Venice, Florence for Easter Sunday, and traveled Easter Monday to Orvieto. The cities were a little crowded but nothing compared to the summer season. I would definitly have reservations though.
Suki is online now  
Sep 7th, 2006, 10:47 PM
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We were there for Holy Week and it was very busy but not crazy.

Well, actually the crazy part was trying to get around Rome during the Marathon. Find out the date on that and go out to Ostia Antica or something.
5alive is offline  
Sep 8th, 2006, 02:46 AM
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Thanks to all!

I am more worried about 'losing' several days and not being able to go to any museum...or even find restaurants open.

nessundorma, the first time we were in Italy (also in Spring) we were swarmed by schoolkids doing field trips! I think it must be a wonderful country to grow up in!

marigross is offline  
Sep 8th, 2006, 06:31 AM
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I don't remember much of anything being closed. We went to the Accademia on Easter Sunday, and had no problem finding a restaurant open.
Suki is online now  
Sep 8th, 2006, 08:23 AM
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Hi marigross, just saw your thread. I was in Rome for 2 weeks some years ago and one of the weeks was Easter week. We didn't have any problems during that time. I would have remembered if we hadn't been able to find a restaurant open..believe me, lol. I do remember that we were in the Borghese Park on Easter Sunday afternoon, quite a lovely and peaceful time with many Italian families, lots of little ones, also enjoying themselves. As long as you have a hotel reservation for when you will be there I don't see where you will have a problem. Enjoy!!
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 8th, 2006, 10:17 AM
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I'm getting excited!!!! I can taste the vino...see the rolling Tuscan hills...visit Venus in the Uffizzi...continue my secret love affair with Michaelangelo's DD throw her first coin in the Fontana di Trevi....

Now I have to look at the budget! YIKES....

The original plan was to go to Italy in 2008 for DD's 15th (Big Birthday # in Latin culture)and my 40th (Big Birthday # in any culture). BUT I am hatching a secret plan....and it involves a continent south of Europe!
marigross is offline  
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