10 things to do in Rome in March
This month the Eternal City welcomes the colorful spring, celebrates the most famous Easter and starts with outdoor activities. Are you ready?
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 awaited events of the year, Easter, begins in full force and the calendar is full of outdoor activities, in which its 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. Experience the Roman Holy Week
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 Holy Week 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 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!
2. Feel like an emperor at the death of Julius Caesar!
If you are passionate about history, you can not miss on March 15 the tribute that takes place in Rome for 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.
Without a doubt, 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!
3. Take part in the Spring Festival!
One of my favorite pastimes in Rome was strolling through the gardens about to bloom, such as Villa Borghese, where I also discovered the stunning sculptures of Villa Borghese. 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 for the combination of colors that decorate them. From there, you can take some of the best snapshots of the Eternal City!
4. Celebrate St. Patrick's Day like a true Irishman!
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 good to toast, right?
St. Patrick's Day 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 to the saint, but remember to say "¡Sláinte!" to feel like a real Irishman, instead of the traditional "Cheers!".
5. Test yourself in the Rome Marathon
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 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 that 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 alleys of 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 do a short 4-kilometer route designed for beginners.
6. Celebrate women's day at the Festa della Donna!
Want to enjoy International Women's Day in a different way during your trip to the Italian capital? March 8 is celebrated in most countries of the world, but in Italy it is characterized by a very special custom: giving a beautiful bouquet of mimosas to women. Go to any florist or to the iconic market in Piazza del Campo dei Fiori and get yours. It's always a good time to treat yourself, and even more so on vacation.
The origin of this tradition dates back to 1946, after the Second World War, when Teresa Noce, Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei handed out a bouquet of this flower to women in the streets, 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 show off its heavy artillery: its exquisite sweets and its gastronomy! Almost all bakeries 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!
7. Take refuge in the museums for free on winter Sundays
If you're lucky enough to spend seven days in Rome or more, including a Sunday, a great plan to put yourself 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:
- The Capitoline Museums
- The Vatican Museums
- The Borghese Gallery
- The Palazzo Massimo
- Castel Sant'Angelo
8. Send your dad a selfie from the Feast of San Giuseppe
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 venerated 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 over by St. 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 cup of coffee, symbol of the Eternal City
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. Winter is synonymous with coffee in the Italian capital. You will have thousands of types of beans of this drink, as many as personalities exist on the face of the earth: the sweet, the bitter, the fun, 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 addicts!
- Café Greco (Via Condotti, 86): considered the oldest coffee shop in the Eternal City. It is a classic for lovers of this drink.
10. Attend the Feast of Santa Francesca, patron saint of drivers
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 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 that surround 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
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.
The influx of tourists and prices in March in Rome
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 queuing for ages to get into 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.