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Should I plan on Venice or Florence for Easter weekend?

Should I plan on Venice or Florence for Easter weekend?

Old Jul 27th, 2004, 09:47 AM
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Should I plan on Venice or Florence for Easter weekend?

I am just beginning to plan our first trip to Italy. We will travel next March 18th to March 29th. I would be happy doing Rome/Florence/Tuscany, but the family is insisting on Venice as well (I don't blame them; I just like a more relaxed itinerary.)So it looks like Rome/Florence/Venice flying in and out of Rome because we are using frequent flyer miles on US Air. So, are there any good reasons for being in either Florence or Venice Easter weekend? I figure I can arrange the trip either way so why not get the good advice of all you Fodorites? Thanks.
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Old Jul 27th, 2004, 10:17 AM
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There is a special rite in Florence on Easter Sunday. A cart containing fireworks is drawn to the front of the Duomo, and at a given moment, a dove (made of paper or whatever and lit) is set off to slide down a long rope. The hope is that the dove will set off the fireworks, which is supposed to be a good omen for the year to come.

I was there once to watch it; it was a dull and rainy day, and the dove went "pffft" and did not set off anything...
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Old Jul 27th, 2004, 11:54 AM
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Well, that certainly sounds like a moment that defines "anticlimatic."
So, I guess you would not recommend planning my trip around being in Florence on Easter Sunday! Thanks for your reply.
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Old Jul 27th, 2004, 12:07 PM
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Suki,

I did not mean to discourage -- or encourage -- you but simply to tell you about what happens at Easter in Florence.

I was unlucky and it was a dull and rainy day; you might be lucky, get an Easter Sunday that is sunny and warm, and get to see an unusual event.
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Old Jul 27th, 2004, 04:44 PM
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Suki,

Things to consider for your planning purposes:

Palm Sunday is 3/20/05 and also World Youth Day in Rome---huge crowds for the Pope's outdoor Mass. You would be well- advised to avoid the Vatican area on that day, or at least until later in the afternoon.

Holy Week in Rome has many special celebrations for Catholic Pilgrims, and includes: Holy Thursday evening mass (speical invitation at St. Peter's) on 3/24/05; Good Friday (3/25/05) the Pope conducts the Way of the Cross from the Colliseum to Vatican Square, and there are huge crowds along the entire route; on Holy Saturday (3/26/05) there is an 8:00pm Mass in St. Peter's Basilia with a lenghty pre-Easter service.

Needless to say, the crowds in St. Peter's Square on Easter Sunday morning (3/27/05), for the Pope's outdoor Mass, are unbelievable. After 2:00 pm, the crowds clear-out. Other than the religious ceremonies at the Vatican, the town is basically "shut down" on Easter Sunday.

Mini-versions of these religious ceremonies (and location variations thereof), take place in all areas of Italy.

Easter Monday (3/28/05)is a holiday in Italy and late in the day, the population is on the move from place-to-place. The roads and trains can become crowded.

(We were in Italy for Easter, 2004).

Each town and village in Italy has it's unique religiuos traditions and ceremonies for the period from Palm Sunday through Easter Monday.

You can choose to enjoy them, or avoid them. Plan according to which of these suit you.

If I were planning this trip (irrespective of my religion), I would fly into Rome and do the sights there first. (Just avoid St. Peter's square on Palm Sunday until mid-afternoon.) Next, I would travel to Venice, leaving Florence for the period before and during Easter weekend.

I would use Easter Sunday afternoon or Easter Monday morning as my travel day back to Rome, and if time permits, go out to Ostia Antica ---it is open on Easter Monday (as well as Easter Sunday.)

Book your Rome hotels early for this period to ensure you get those of your choosing. The city is jammed during Holy Week.

If you might consider staying at the airport on your last night, we had a 99 Euro with breakfast rate on Easter Monday night at the Rome Airport Hilton----shows you the absolute lack of business travelers during that period.





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