Second Holy Week in Rome with no pilgrims: “I haven't seen a single one”

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We have to go back at least two years to see scenes like this.

This is Rome's Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, where the relics of Jesus' crucifixion are kept. It was a top-priority destination for pilgrims who traveled to Rome during Holy Week. Nowadays the basilica is very different, and the few present say they've hardly seen any foreigners.

“Up until now I haven't seen a single one.”

“Everything is very restricted now, very very limited, so there are very few.”

Long lines at the Holy Stairs have disappeared, though the intensity of those who pray there is the same. According to tradition, these were the steps Jesus climbed for his encounters with Pilate.

People come here to give thanks for favors received or to ask for miracles.

“Yes, the atmosphere is probably different. FLASH But maybe it's different because it's more intimate, better suited for reflection.”

This is what St. Peter's looks like. There are more people than during the first total lockdown a year ago. But it's still drastically different from what it looked like in previous years.

“Before, when you drove by the Vatican Museums, you would see endless lines of people. Now if you pass by, you see no one. It's quite strange.”

Who knows if these scenes will repeat themselves in 2021. In any case, Italy is looking at possibly relaxing restrictions slightly after Holy Week, in places like Rome.

Javier Romero

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