Holy Week religious festivities (with schedule for Riomaggiore)

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):


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


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


  • Easter Mass at 11pm


  • Mass at 11:30am
  • Mass at 6pm


  • 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!



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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s