Episode #230: Vatican Jubilee 2025 – What to expect in Rome and Italy

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In Rome, in 2025, they will be celebrating the Vatican’s Jubilee Year. As anticipation builds for this momentous occasion in the Catholic Church, promising a unique blend of spiritual enrichment, cultural festivities, and historical significance, we look to the practicalities of visiting Rome before and during the celebrations. Traditionally held every 25 years, the Jubilee draws millions of pilgrims to Rome and various parts of Italy, with this year’s theme being “Pilgrims of Hope”. From grand ceremonies and papal audiences to special exhibitions and city-wide events, here’s what you can expect during the buildup and the events of the Vatican Jubilee 2025.

Show notes
In this episode, we are sharing information and advice about travel to Italy during The Vatican and Catholic Church Jubilee year next year. Untold founder Katy, talks about how this event which sees a huge number of extra visitors descend on Rome, will impact your travels then and even now, as the city prepares.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • Katy is just back from time spent in Umbria, Lake Como and Rome and was a little shocked at some things she found in Rome due to next year’s Vatican Jubilee, so she thought she would do a special episode to forewarn those visiting Rome in the coming months that they may find it to be a bit of a construction zone
  • All the fountains in Piazza Navona and Piazza della Rotunda outside the Pantheon were covered up for them to be cleaned
  • There’s also ongoing work around Piazza Venezia and unfortunately, Michelangelo’s stunning Pieta sculpture in St Peters is also covered for cleaning and restoration
  • It is a bit frustrating and we do feel for those who are visiting Rome for the first time, who may not be able to enjoy some of those righly iconic public monuments right now
  • The reason for these works being undertaken is that the city is preparing for the Vatican Jubilee of 2025 which starts on December 26th this year and continues on until January 6th in 2026
  • For those traveling in 2024 unfortunately you need to expect quite a bit of chaos as the city prepares for this special event
  • It is pretty hard to predict exactly when the works will be finished and new ones will start, but we do know that the preparations have a deadline of around the end of December this year and the Pieta works are scheduled to be completed in November
  • Rome is an amazing city with so much to offer, that in this situation, Katy suggests heading out away from the main spots and looking for the beauty you find around every corner of the Eternal City
  • Katy went for a long 20-kilometer walk around the city on her last day there and discovered lots of amazing places and charming corners she never noticed before  – and she has visited many, many times
  • Check out our Rome hidden gems for some ideas away from the major hotspots

What is the Jubilee

A Jubilee year in Rome is a special event in the Catholic Church that occurs every 25 years.

It is a time of celebration for Catholics and the city buzzes with religious and cultural events. Pilgrims visit Rome looking for personal spiritual renewal and a deeper connection with their faith. Special prayers, masses, and processions are organized for pilgrims who visit Rome to receive the Church’s blessings.

Of the greatest importance to pilgrims, is to take part in passing through the Holy Doors of the four Papal Basilicas in Rome, which are – St Peter’s, St John the Lateran, Santa Maria Maggiore and St Paul’s Outside the Walls. These doors are only opened during the Jubilee years and symbolize the transition from sin to grace, and a special pathway to salvation or the granting of indulgences during the Jubilee year.

We are not Catholic nor experts on the religious aspects of this celebration, so if you are interested in the services, prayers and events of the Jubilee then do visit the Jubilee website and check in with your local archdiocese, who should have the most up-to-date information. In these matters, it is always best to go to the experts.

Of course, you don’t need to be Catholic to understand the importance of this celebration and that it will draw many visitors from all over the world, bringing millions more visitors than usual to an already busy city.

Who are the pilgrims

Now these millions of visitors are not your average visitors or tourists, most are coming to Rome specifically to take part in the religious events. For many of them, this will likely be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel abroad. They will make huge sacrifices to be in Rome during this year and perhaps may use their life savings to do so.

Many of these pilgrims will likely explore the city of Rome beyond the Vatican City, but their focus will mostly be on religious events and sites in and around the Vatican and other churches (there are 900s in Rome) rather than tourist activities.

When will be the most busy times?

The Vatican recently announced the calendar of events and from that, it seems likely that the busiest times will be from the end of April to the end of June, as well as the month of October. These are already some of the most popular times to visit Italy. 

The opening and closing of the holy doors will be around Christmas time this year and at the end of 2025.

What to expect in the Jubilee Year

So, what can you expect if you do decide to visit, or already have a trip booked during the Jubilee year, and how you can manage your plans accordingly?

Many visitors may not have another chance to visit Rome and, thanks to all the cleaning and restoration work going on on public sites being carried out, Rome is going to be looking at its very best in 2025.

Katy hasn’t visited Italy during a Jubilee Year but her sister-in-law Jo, managed to be in Italy 3 times during the last main Jubilee in 2000 and reports that she did find it incredibly busy. This was a while ago, and as we have talked about recently, the number of visitors to Rome has increased a lot in the last few years, but when Jo was back in Rome last September, the peak month for travel, she did feel it wasn’t as busy as during those Jubille year trips.

Everyone has their own sense of busyness, if you live in a bustling city, or have experienced Disneyland on a weekend, then the streets of Rome might not seem so bad to you.

Should you travel to Rome and Italy in the Jubilee Year?

Many people are put off by what is expected to be a very busy year ahead, however:

  • Rome is always busy and chaotic – it’s part of the city’s vibe and no doubt it’s been that way for the past 2000+ years. If you lean into that and you can have a truly exhilarating, unforgettable experience
  • If you go there expecting to have the Trevi Fountain to yourself you’ll probably be disappointed (as you are at any time)
  • You don’t need to spend too much time in Rome if you don’t want to, especially if you plan on visiting Italy again. Rome isn’t going anywhere and there are so many places to explore in Italy you can go instead. If you want to see the Colosseum, why not head to Verona  where they have an amazing well-preserved amphitheater – you could make a wonderful northern Italian itinerary including Venice, Verona, Milan and the Lake Garda and/or Lake Como for 2025
  • Cutting down, adjusting itineraries and honing them for you to have the best experiences is what we do best in our trip planning consultations. We have yet to hear people disappointed that they miss out on a particular place – they just get excited to plan future adventures in Italy
  • So if you’re really concerned, then definitely consider skipping Rome this time and save it for another trip


  • Get organized and book flights, accommodation and activities early, as well as, where possible, internal transport like car rental and trains. Demand is likely going to outstrip supply
  • Budget accommodation in particular is going to be in high demand and lots of places haven’t added their availability for 2025 yet so keep an eye out for those opening up
  • Check your plans against the Jubilee website and adjust accordingly. For example, there are likely to be huge crowds at the Vatican and St Peters on certain days – so those times would be best to head over to somewhere like the Colosseum


  • Leave things to the last minute!
  • Commit now and plan for the city to be busy

Things to consider

Katy suggests that if it is your first trip to Italy and you desperately want to visit Rome but are not interested in the religious events, then spend 3 days there (check out our 3 day itinerary ideas). Then you can head out of the city and away from the crowds.

For those who have visited Italy 2, 3 or even more times and you’ve been to Rome at least once, head out across Italy and explore the Italian regions away from the major tourist areas.

Katy has just been to Umbria, where tourist numbers have apparently doubled but you just couldn’t tell. Assisi will likely be busy next year as it is always on the pilgrim’s routes, but Umbria is a large region with so many wonderful corners to explore.

Puglia, Sicily, the Dolomites, Liguria, Piedmont, Calabria, Marche, Abruzzo and around Emilia Romagna are all a world away from Rome, requiring a flight or long train journey to get there and so therefore probably won’t appeal too much to the majority of pilgrims.

Need a little help?

Katy says that yes, do visit Rome and Italy in 2025. She herself will be visiting twice. It might sound a little daunting but if you are organized and plan your travels carefully, it will be a memorable experience.

If you’re feeling daunted or overwhelmed in your planning for Itay in 2025 (or any other time), why not book a trip consultation with one of our expert Italy trip planners? Our Italy travel consultants can assist you in building a plan to make the most of your time there and help you have all the amazing Italian experiences you’ve dreamt about.

Click for more on our Italy Trip Planning Services

Looking for inspiration on where to visit away from the tourist hotspots? Check out our Hidden gems and Beautiful small towns in Italy.

Places mentioned in the show
  • Piazza Navona – beautiful, central piazza in Rome
  • Piazza della Rotunda – piazza in front of The Pantheon, the former Roman temple and, since 609 AD, a Catholic church in Rome
  • Piazza Venezia – piazza in which you find the Victor Emmanuel II Monument
  • Pietà – famous sculpture by Michelangelo found in St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Papal Basilicas – St Peter’s, St John the Lateran, Santa Maria Maggiore and St Paul’s Outside the Walls


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