June 29th: The Feast of St. Peter and Paul in Rome
If you’re visiting Italy, you plan to be in Rome on June 29th and wonder what to do, you’re in for a treat! As is tradition, on that day the city will honor the two patron saints of the Urbs Aeterna with a series of celebrations, the most important being fireworks shows.
Rome celebrates the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul on the same day because even if they clashed regarding the doctrine of the rising church, they were jailed together because of their faith and endured martyrtdom together (in different areas of Rome).
You will surely visit St. Peter’s, which is obviously dedicated to the first pope and built in the very place were he was crucified, but do you know that you can visit the jail where both saints were imprisoned? That’s the Mamertine Prison, which is accessible below the church of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami, located between the Roman Forum and Capitoline Hill.
St. Paul Outside the Walls: the “other” basilica
And do you know that you can walk the fields were St. Paul was killed and look at the chains that kept him prisoner? The basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls is in the Ostiense district, conveniently located outside the subway stop at “Basilica S. Paolo”. It is as impressive as St. Peter’s, but often overlooked by those tourists who have limited time in the city. On the night of June 29th, in this area there are fireworks to commemorate the place where St. Paul was beheaded.
A fireworks show by Michelangelo
The most important show in this respect happens over Castel Sant’Angelo, though: that’s where the famous “Girandola” takes place. This fireworks show was created by none other than Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1481.
If you plan on seeing this magnificent performance, we recommend doing so outdoors, from one of Rome’s many parks and possibly from a vantage point like from the top of Gianicolo (Janiculus Hill), or the Zodiaco belvedere in Monte Mario.
However, you may want to consider using the roof terrace at our very own Paradiso Penthouse, which is on the opposite side of the river from Castel Sant’Angelo itself. More apartments we can offer with a view on the fireworks are Via delle Mantellate or Casina Rugantea, which is actually a short walk away from Castel Sant’Angelo.
All other events during the Feast
Other events for the day include a high mass by the Pope at 9.30am at St. Peter’s, as well as the “Infiorata” down Via della Conciliazione: a flower art exhibition with hundreds of people working tirelessly the night before the Feast to cover the whole streets in delicate designs. Also unmissable is a regatta on the river Tiber at 5pm. All three events are particularly close by if you’re staying at our Fornaci apartment, however the center of Rome is so compact and walkable you’ll surely enjoy a walk in its tiny alley discovering everything this day has to offer!