Italy - Holy Week (week prior to Easter)

Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 08:14 AM
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Italy - Holy Week (week prior to Easter)

We have a trip coming up to Italy in April. Stops are
* Venice, (4/13-4/14)
* Siena (4/15-4/19)
* Rome (4/20 - 4/23)
Most of the trip falls in Holy Week . We leave Rome the Sat prior to Easter.

What are the implications (as a tourist) or being there at this time. Are certain sites closed? How about shops and restaurants? Are there issues with crowds?

Any input would be appreciated.

rholt is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 08:30 AM
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The week before Holy Week should be pretty normal. Starting Palm Sunday (17 April) the impact woud be more noticeable on the churches; they will look a bit more sombre than usual with a bit of more activity and religious services, especially on 21-22 April. Be aware that after 3pm on Holy Thursday catholic rites include tradition to "shutdown" access to certain areas of the church (sagrario) and the image of Jesus Crucified on altars and crucifixes are covered with a purple cloth. Churches may look a bit different. It is very likely that wineries, some bars. etc... may be closed on Good Friday (22 April). Likewise, Easter Sunday these same churches will be beautifully decorated and there would likely be beautiful live music.

Public transportation the day prior Easter is usually pretty crowded. The Monday after Easter is a National Holiday in Italy and most sites will be closed.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:14 AM
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I was in Florence once during Holy Week and there were enormous crowds. The Uffizi had lines of 3 hours and had extended opening hours. Most of the crowds seemed to be large packs of students roaming around. It was not fun. The major churches were crowded as were the major sights but the lesser known churches were quiet.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:28 AM
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Mind you this is based upon one trip only but we found Holy Week to be extremely busy travel-wise. In Bologna, students clogged the busses and trains taking their holidays.

Again, based upon our one-time experience, I strongly recommend you make your train reservations a week in advance of the Easter Weekend. Things will operate on a holiday schedule Easter Monday-make sure you take this into consideration if you are making connections.

We had a wonderful meal in our hotel on Easter Sunday but only because the hotel's owner invited us were we able to participate as it was filled up. Again, reserve in advance. Many stores were open on that day as well and we were surprised at the crowds of Italians shopping for bargains (in Bellagio).

Palm Sunday (Spoleto) was not too crowded at all.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:29 AM
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Rome will be packed. There will also be the Good Friday procession from the Colosseum. You might want to plan around it.
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