Cinque Terre Insider

American expat insight into Italy's fabulous "Five Lands"

Many people think of Easter as being celebrated one day of the year: Easter Sunday. For Roman Catholics, preparation for Easter starts with the Quaresima (Lent) forty days prior. The week before Easter (known as Holy Week) is rich with events and special Masses culminating with the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.

Schedule of events for Easter week at Riomaggiore’s church

As we are still currently in the period of Lent, you will notice the crosses and artwork in the churches are swathed with purple cloth (purple is the color representative of Lent). These veils will be removed on Giovedì Santo (Holy Thursday).

Lent observed in Riomaggiore’s San Giovanni Battista church

If you are in the Cinque Terre this week, I highly recommend that you attend the Venerdì Santo (Good Friday) religious procession.  Whether or not you are Catholic, this solemn procession is fascinating to observe. Riomaggiore’s procession will be on Friday, April 14, at 9pm (it starts on the piazzale of the large church and makes its way through the village and then back to the church square).

Don’t forget: When entering the church or participating in festivities, a modest dress code is requested (and expected). That means no bare shoulders (today I entered the church with a shawl over my tank top, that’s an easy and totally acceptable solution).

Here’s the schedule for Holy Week in Riomaggiore (I’m going to skip over events that have already taken place or that might be of little interest):

GIOVEDÌ SANTO: April 13

  • Blessing of the Easter cakes at 5pm*
  • Mass at 6pm
  • Confession from 6pm to 8pm

VENERDÌ SANTO: April 14

  • Confession from 7pm to 8pm
  • Procession at 9pm

SABATO SANTO: April 15

  • Easter Mass at 11pm

EASTER SUNDAY: April 16

  • Mass at 11:30am
  • Mass at 6pm

EASTER MONDAY: April 17

  • Mass at 11:30am

*All scheduled events take place at Riomaggiore’s big church (San Giovanni Battista), except the blessing of the canestrelli Easter cakes (which will take place at the small church located at the Compagnia).

Villagers place advance orders for special Easter cakes called “canestrelli” that are blessed in a special service before being distributed

Keep in mind that Pasquetta (Easter Monday) is not only a religious holiday but also a national one.

Buona Pasqua!

Amy

 

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2 thoughts on “Holy Week religious festivities (with schedule for Riomaggiore)

  1. Lizsa Chua says:

    Hello! Is the mass going to be in English?

    Like

    1. Ciao Lizsa,

      Nope, it will be in Italian. However, if you’re Catholic you’ll recognize all the rituals no matter what language they’re in.

      Buona Pasqua!

      Amy

      Like

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