Holidays Rome: Spend Ascension Day & Corpus Christi in Rome 2024

on 17. November 2023   /   0   /  

Ascension Day & Corpus Christi in Rome. Unlike in other European countries, Ascension Day and Corpus Christi are no public holidays in Italy and Rome. Nevertheless, special church services and processions take place in Rome on these special days. Find out everything you should know about spending Ascension Day and Corpus Christi in Rome in this article.

Ascension Day & Corpus Christi in Rome: Tips & information for a long weekend in Rome

Unfortunately, the Romans are not released from work on Ascension Day and Corpus Christi, because these two church days are no public holidays in Italy. But since Ascension Day and Corpus Christi are official holidays in many other countries, there is the opportunity for a long weekend in Rome.

Ascension Day and Corpus Christi usually happen during months of May or June. 2024 Ascension Day falls on May, 9 and Corpus Christi on May, 30. This period between spring and summer is pleasantly warm in Rome, but not too hot for your gelato to melt in seconds.

Tips for Ascension Day in Rome

Unlike one of the most important holidays in Italy, Ascension Day is a normal working day in Rome and the generally strictly Catholic country of Italy. Other European countries additionally celebrate Father’s Day, but Italy continues working just like on any other day.

Piazza Navona in Rome

Therefore, on Ascension Day (in Italian: Ascensione di Cristo) Rome’s sights and museums are open. Restaurants and shops welcome you to their regular opening hours. Public squares and fountains like the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona or the Trevi Fountain can be visited any time of the day anyway. Only when visiting the churches in Rome should you remember that on Ascension Day many masses take place (usually this morning or after hours) and that touristic visiting of churches is only possible after worshipping hours.

There are no liturgical celebrations or pope masses in Rome on Ascension Day. However, on Wednesday, May 17, you can attend the general audience of the Pope. The Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica are open on Ascension Day according to the regular opening hours.

Rome St Peter's Basilica and Square

Although Ascension Day is not a holiday in Italy, this is the case for many other countries and you should expect that on Thursday, the actual holiday, and throughout the weekend, many believers wend their way to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican. I therefore recommend that you buy skip-the-line tickets online. I also recommend combined tickets for the Vatican with direct access to St. Peter’s Basilica.

In keeping with the theme of Ascension in Rome, I also recommend a visit to the church of St. Ignatius. It is located between the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. The three-dimensional fresco of the church ceiling depicts the ascension of Saint Ignatius and is so impressive that you get the feeling of looking straight through the church ceiling into the sky.

Tips for Corpus Christi in Rome

Even the very important Catholic holiday Corpus Christi is not a public holiday in Italy. Therefore, on Corpus Christi in Rome, shops and museums are open at their usual times. Corpus Christi takes place every year on the second Thursday after Pentecost.

On Corpus Christi, Catholics celebrate the “Feast of the Most Sacred Body and Blood of Christ”. At Corpus Christi parishes are held in Rome as well as everywhere else so-called Corpus Christi processions in which the faithful carry the body and blood of Christ for worship through the streets. But the most famous Corpus Christi procession is undoubtedly the one led by the bishop of Rome, this is, none other than the Pope himself; the head of the Catholic Church.

Especially in recent years there have been some changes to Corpus Christi in Rome. In 2017, the traditional Corpus Christi procession, which leads from the Papal Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano to Santa Maria Maggiore, was postponed from Thursday (the actual Feast of Corpus Christi) to the following Sunday. Last year, the papal procession was first held outside Rome, in Ostia. Whether this disruption of tradition will continue this year is not official for now. As soon as there is more information on the procession on Corpus Christi in Rome, you will find out here.


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