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Rome in March: a guide to the best of the city (tips, festivities, itineraries...)

This month the Eternal City welcomes the colorful spring, celebrates the most famous Easter and starts with outdoor activities. Are you ready?

Nuria Rozas

Nuria Rozas

9 min read

Rome in March: a guide to the best of the city (tips, festivities, itineraries...)

Enjoying the Falling of the night in Rome | © Julius Silver

The end of the Roman winter and the beginning of spring in Rome is an ideal time to organize a trip to Rome. The temperature is more moderate than in the harsher months of the winter season and the days are getting longer.

In addition, one of the most anticipated events of the year, Easter, begins in earnest and the calendar is full of outdoor activities, in which gardens and outdoor terraces are the main protagonists. Take note of this guide with the 10 things you can do in March if you travel in this special month. Keep reading!

1. Celebrate St. Patrick's Day like a true Irishman

The Roman Colosseum is painted green for St. Patrick's Day| ©Federico
The Roman Colosseum is painted green for St. Patrick's Day| ©Federico

Every March 17 a green wave invades the Eternal City and Irish pubs are transformed to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, the patron saint of Ireland. These places are filled with redheads who live in Rome and organize fun activities with beer (the famous pints), folklore and shamrocks in between. A tradition that has been adopted by other major cities around the world such as New York, Buenos Aires and Madrid. After all, any excuse is a good one to toast, right?

St. Patrick also sneaks into the most emblematic monument of the city, the Colosseum in Rome, which is dyed emerald green thanks to a campaign of the Irish Department of Tourism, which every year fills with color the main facades of the planet, including the iconic amphitheater. My recommendation, if you are in Italy at this time of the year, is to look for an Irish pub in the capital to toast the saint. Remember to say "¡Sláinte!" to feel like a real Irishman, instead of the traditional "Cheers!".

2. Test yourself at the Rome Marathon

Participating in the Rome Marathon| ©Greg Johnson
Participating in the Rome Marathon| ©Greg Johnson

If one of your new year's resolutions is to lose calories and you want to do it in a unique place, I recommend the marathon that is held annually in the Eternal City. The start of the race is marked in front of the Colosseum, one of Rome' s most famous monuments, which has been standing for 2,000 years. Is there a better way to get in shape?

From here, you'll run past fabulous postcard images such as St. Peter's Basilica, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps and many other bohemian and picturesque alleyways in the city's historic center. You won't want to go back to the gym.

The lighter version of the marathon

The popular Rome Marathon usually takes place on the third Sunday in March and participants run 42 kilometers through the Eternal City. In this event, you will meet participants from all over the world and, don't worry, if you are not too fit, because you can run a short 4-kilometer route designed for beginners.

3. Celebrate Women's Day at the Festa della Donna!

Flor Mimosa, typical of Mother's Day bouquets| ©crabchick
Flor Mimosa, typical of Mother's Day bouquets| ©crabchick

Do you want to enjoy International Women's Day in a different way during your trip to the Italian capital? March 8 is celebrated in the vast majority of countries around the world, but in Italy it is characterized by a very special custom: giving a beautiful bouquet of mimosas to women. Go to any flower shop or to the iconic market in Piazza del Campo dei Fiori and get yours. It's always a good time to treat yourself, and on vacation even more so.

The origin of this tradition dates back to 1946, at the end of World War II, when Teresa Noce, Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei handed out a bouquet of this flower to women in the street, symbolizing strength and the ability to be reborn anywhere, even in scorched lands.

Taste the flower-shaped sweets

Those with a sweet tooth can try the "mimosa" cake, which by the way... is finger-licking good! Any holiday is a good time in the transalpine country to bring out its heavy artillery: its exquisite sweets and its gastronomy! Almost all pastry shops prepare yellow cakes for this day, reminiscent of the plant.

In addition, many stores offer discounts and restaurants prepare special menus for Women's Day. Even, some years, the entrance to museums has been free for women. Take advantage of it!

Book a gastronomic tour of Campo de Fiori

4. Feel like an emperor at the death of Julius Caesar!

Statue of Julius Caesar in Rome| ©Santiago Abella
Statue of Julius Caesar in Rome| ©Santiago Abella

If you are passionate about history, you can not miss on March 15 the tribute that takes place in Rome on the anniversary of the death of Emperor Julius Caesar, one of the most charismatic and idolized characters of ancient Rome. Specifically, on this day several cultural events are held in the Roman Forum, next to the statue of Julius Caesar.

Undoubtedly, what surprised me most about this celebration was the reenactment of his death with wonderful actors, which took place in the actual place where he was killed: at the archaeological site of Largo di Torre Argentina, a busy square in the center of the Eternal City. It will make your hair stand on end! There, you will see the so-called Liberators in disguise, who were the ones who materialized the fateful plan. You will take a non-stop trip back in time!

Book tickets for the Roman Forum

5. Experience a Roman Holy Week

Enjoying Easter| ©OPUS DEI
Enjoying Easter| ©OPUS DEI

Whether you are a spiritual person or not, one of the most impressive events in the Eternal City is Holy Week in Rome. In general, in countries with a Catholic culture it is celebrated with much devotion but do you know how Easter is commemorated in the Italian capital? Read carefully.

If you are planning to travel to Rome during Holy Week and you are not sure when, one of the most emotional days is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. You will be able to attend a mass officiated by the Pope celebrating Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem and see the thousands of faithful gathered with their olive branches, as well as, if you wish, attend the Papal Audience. It will be an adventure you can tell your grandchildren about.

Another day worth experiencing in Rome at this time of year is the great feast of Easter Sunday, which commemorates the resurrection of Christ. You will be infected by the atmosphere of joy and jubilation that permeates St. Peter's Square!

Book tickets for the Papal Audience

6. Participate in the Spring Festival!

Villa Borghese Gardens in March| ©Stefano Consolo
Villa Borghese Gardens in March| ©Stefano Consolo

One of my favorite pastimes in Rome was strolling through the gardens about to bloom, such as Villa Borghese, where I also discovered the impressive sculptures of Villa Borghese1789. But if you want to experience spring in its purest form, I suggest that at the end of March you go to the steps of Piazza di Spagna, where you will see a festival of colors.

The Spring Festival covers with thousands of white, pink and violet azaleas the baroque stairs of the square, which although they are picturesque all year round, in spring they attract even more attention because of the combination of colors that decorate them. From there, you can take some of the best snapshots of the Eternal City!

7. Take refuge in the museums for free on winter Sundays

Detail of Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Michele Bitetto
Detail of Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Michele Bitetto

If you are fortunate enough to spend seven days in Rome or more, including a Sunday, a great plan to get out of the cold is to visit the museums and marvel at the great works of Raphael, Rubens and Caravaggio. Doesn't sound bad, does it?

Important fact: during the first Sunday of the winter months access is completely free. Just as you read it. However, you must keep in mind that in the most famous ones there are very long queues, in which you can spend hours. My advice is that, if you really want to go, buy in advance especially the tickets for the Colosseum and the tickets for the Castel Sant'Angelo.

On the other hand, the price of tickets to the Vatican Museums is also zero euros; that is, free (how we love that little word!) during the last Sunday of the month. I suggest you get up as early as possible to be among the first in line, which, believe me, you will appreciate.

Take note of the best museums in the Eternal City:

Book tickets for the Colosseum

8. Send your father a selfie from the Feast of San Giuseppe

Facade of the Basilica of San Giuseppe al Trionfale| ©Esteban Fernández García
Facade of the Basilica of San Giuseppe al Trionfale| ©Esteban Fernández García

If you travel to Rome this month you can enjoy one of the most popular events in the Eternal City: Father's Day. The figure of St. Joseph has always been highly revered by the Roman people. Proof of this are the numerous churches built in his honor and the great diffusion of the name "Giuseppe" among the people. For this reason, March 19 has always been a very special date in the Italian capital.

You will see how the main streets around the Basilica of San Giuseppe al Trionfale, which celebrates a mass, are filled with excitement and you can taste the zeppole, the typical sweet of this anniversary, made with puff pastry and filled with tasty pastry cream.

Experience a procession presided by Saint Joseph

The day is traditionally commemorated with bonfires and sometimes with curious parades with scenes from the life of St. Joseph. Until the 1960s a procession was organized with the statue of the saint carried on the shoulders of the faithful.

9. Have a good coffee, symbol of the Eternal City

A coffee at Café Greco| ©Ami Zhang
A coffee at Café Greco| ©Ami Zhang

If I say that during your trip you will smell the aroma of Rome's best pizzas, wood-fired oven and freshly brewed coffee as you stroll through the streets, I'm not lying to you. Winter is synonymous with coffee in the Italian capital. You will have thousands of types of beans of this beverage, as many as personalities exist on the face of the earth: the sweet, the bitter, the funny, the cortado... I leave you a list of my favorite coffee shops:

-Sant**'Eustachio Il Caffè** (Piazza Sant'Eustachio, 82): a cozy place from 1938 that preserves the original decor and charm - a temple for caffeine junkies!
-CaféGreco (Via Condotti, 86): it is considered the oldest coffee shop in the Eternal City. It is a classic for lovers of this drink.

10. Attend the Feast of St. Francesca, patron saint of drivers

Basilica of Santa Francesca Romana where cars are blessed| ©ShareAlike 3.0
Basilica of Santa Francesca Romana where cars are blessed| ©ShareAlike 3.0

We know that in the Italian capital, Vespa scooters enjoy a halo of divinity, proof of which is that Audrey Hepburn herself succumbed to these two charms. But what role do cars play in the Eternal City? We see it in detail with this example.

There is a church in Rome where cars can be blessed on March 9. Although it may sound strange, even rental cars can participate and enjoy first-hand this unique and different celebration.

Where? At the Basilica of Santa Francesca Romana, located very close to the Roman Forum. This church dresses up to bless a large number of vehicles surrounding the church. At the end all the cars honk their horns in an improvised concert. It is one of the most curious plans I made in the capital!

Temperatures in March in the Eternal City

Rainy days in Rome| ©FRANCO600D
Rainy days in Rome| ©FRANCO600D

Before embarking on a flight, one of our biggest concerns is almost always the temperature. Therefore, I recommend that a few days before, you take a look at the weather forecast. In general, these are between 8°C and 15°C degrees for the month of March.

Be sure to bring a good coat and an umbrella, as it is quite likely that you will be rained on some days. Daylight hours in March last almost 12 hours, giving you time to explore every secret corner of the Eternal City. Sunrise is at 06:22 and sunset is at 18:17.

Tourist flow and prices in March in Rome

Visiting the Vatican City| ©Kai Pilger
Visiting the Vatican City| ©Kai Pilger

March is still considered low season and the city, fortunately, is not crowded with tourists as at other times of the year, so you can tour the city comfortably without having to waste time waiting in long lines to get into the attractions.

The exception that proves the rule is Holy Week, a celebration that attracts thousands of religious visitors from all over the world and that makes prices in the Eternal City (mainly flights and hotels) go up quite a lot. My advice is to buy your tickets as far in advance as possible. Take a pen and paper and write down some of the keys to organize your trip to Rome.