Want to discover what the Italian "Dolce Vita" is all about? Spring is the best time to do so. Rome's parks and gardens are full of flowers; temperatures are very pleasant and the agenda is marked by one of the most important holidays of the year: Easter in Rome, which also sets the culinary agenda!
Take note of the 10 things to do in the Italian capital during spring, the most colorful season - you'll be surprised!
1. Experience a live Mass of the Pope during Holy Week
Whether you are a Christian or an atheist, traveling to Rome during Holy Week is an unforgettable and... very spiritual! This millenary celebration unites tradition, culture and gastronomy. If you can, make your trip coincide with this unique celebration in spring. The dates vary from year to year, but it is usually celebrated between March and April so take note if you travel to Rome in March or if you travel to Rome in April of what you can do. Here I leave you a preview of the central acts.
Most important religious events:
- The celebration begins with Palm Sunday: If the Papal Audience was already one of the attractions of Rome, in this mass thousands of pilgrims congregate and is one of the most exciting moments of Holy Week.
- On Holy Thursday the 'Last Supper' is commemorated.
- Way of the Cross on Good Friday: On Friday evening, which is when Christ's death on the cross took place, the liturgy of the Passion of the Lord is performed and at dusk the impressive Via Crucis is celebrated, which runs from inside the Colosseum to the Temple of Venus on the Palatine hills.
- Day of recollection during Holy Saturday
- Easter Sunday and the resurrection of Christ: the Pope officiates the Holy Mass from St. Peter's Square (that is, where the famous St. Peter's Basilica is located). It is the most crowded mass in the world and also... the most joyful! the most joyful!
2. Enjoy the typical Easter treats
Who doesn't love the typical Easter sweets? We already know that the best pizzas are eaten in Rome and that the best ice creams are also in Rome, but if you thought that in Italy there was no gastronomy beyond pasta, pizza and ice cream, you were wrong. Easter eggs, made with chocolate and symbol of good luck, are a tradition at this time of the year in Italy. You can find them in dark chocolate, with liqueur, filled, with surprises? For all tastes!
During Easter, restaurants prepare special menus with lamb and savory cakes. Finger-licking good! Here is a list of the best places to eat in Trastevere, one of the most bohemian and colorful neighborhoods in Rome. And if you get hungry, don't hesitate to take a look at the top 10 places to eat in Rome.
The "colomba" or Easter dove
Those with a sweet tooth should also try the colomba, the typical Easter cake in Italy, which is shaped like a dove and symbolizes peace. The dough is made with flour, eggs, sugar, yeast, butter and finally covered with sugar and almonds. There are countless varieties and you will find it hard to choose just one: there are coconut, limoncello, raisins... and even piña colada!
3. Celebrate Rome's birthday... surrounded by gladiators!
Can you imagine attending a parade with more than 2,000 gladiators from Ancient Rome? Every year around April 21st the anniversary of the birth of the Italian capital is celebrated: the Natale di Roma with thousands of people dressed in period costumes. You will feel like Russell Crowe in the movie 'Gladiator' (2000).
What are the activities during the Natale di Roma?
At this festival you can watch gladiator fights, chariot races and historical re-enactments in the Circus Maximus and the Roman Forum. In addition, the program includes dances, fireworks, parades and shows throughout the city. And if so much fighting gives you an appetite, you can enjoy Roman cuisine like a true warrior! Man does not live by bread (and pizzas) alone.
4. Tour the Borghese Gallery and its dreamlike landscapes
Spring is undoubtedly the best season to visit the Borghese Gallery, one of the most prestigious art galleries in the world and home to great gems by Caravaggio, Raphael and Rubens, among others, and its surroundings. Here is the definitive guide to what to see and do in the Villa Borghese gardens at this time of year, which look like never before!
The Villa Borghese Gardens
I suggest you buy tickets for the Borghese Gallery in advance and online because it is one of the most popular museums in Italy - you'll save yourself the hellish queues! Also, its gardens are well worth a visit because it is one of the largest urban parks in Europe and also, dare I say, one of the most beautiful.
There is more to this orchard than just the galleries. The sculptures of Villa Borghese are a true work of art and you will also find ponds, woods and even... a zoo! The Bioparco Zoo: with over 100 years of history, it has evolved from a simple exotic species exhibition center to a place dedicated to the conservation of endangered species. Here you will find Nile crocodiles, camels, kangaroos... If you go to Rome with children they will love it!
5. Contemplate the blooming of thousands of roses... Some of them very curious!
If you want to observe Rome from another angle and enjoy a breathtaking view in springtime, I recommend you visit the Municipal Rose Garden, located on the Aventine Hill, right in front of the ruins.
Did you know that since the third century BC this place has been dedicated to flowers? The Municipal Rose Garden is home to approximately 1,100 species of roses from all over the world, even from such exotic places as China and Mongolia. If you are lucky enough to visit Rome in spring you will be the envy of everyone with your photographs.
What are the rarest roses on the planet?
Among the most curious roses in the Municipal Rose Garden are the Chinensis Virdiflora rose with its intense green petals; the Chinensis Mutabilis rose, which changes color 7 times in five days, or the Foetida rose, a beautiful yellow flower... Smelly!
One of the most interesting areas of the garden (and the largest!) is the one that houses the collection of botanical roses, ancient and modern, appreciated by visitors for their extraordinary beauty. The cultivated specimens come from all over the world: from the Far East to South Africa, from old Europe to New Zealand, passing through America.
Useful information on the Municipal Rose Garden of Rome
- Address: Via di Valle Murcia, 6/ Clivo dei Publicii, 3
- Opening: the rose garden usually opens its doors during the spring blooming at the end of April.
- Price: 5 € on weekdays and 7 € on holidays. Disabled persons, children up to 14 years old and seniors over 65 are free.
6. Run a marathon through Rome... or 4 kilometers!
If you are in shape and want to enjoy the Eternal City in a different way, I advise you to take note. At the end of March the classic spring marathon is usually held , taking advantage of the rising temperatures and pleasant weather to practice this sport. Every year thousands of Italians and tourists participate in this challenge!
You will pass by all the emblematic buildings, of course, at a good pace! The race starts at the Roman Forum and continues to St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, ending at the Colosseum. However, if you don't find yourself with the strength to survive the 42 kilometers, you can join the four-kilometer fun run . Suitable for everyone!
7. Flee the heat on the night of the museums
In May you can skip the long lines under the sun (maximum temperatures often reach 25°C) to enter the art galleries if you participate in the Night of the Museums, an initiative usually held at the end of May that allows you free admission to the art galleries.
However, Rome has cool (and air-conditioned) alternatives to tour the museums and archaeological areas at night in spring and to escape the sweltering heat, especially in the summer season. Here is a practical guide to Rome in summer.
8. Visit the picturesque village of Genzano and enjoy its flower festival
Just 30 kilometers from Rome is the picturesque village of Genzano, located on the Nemi crater. If you travel in late spring, in June, you can attend the celebration of Corpus Christi Sunday (the Inforiata del Corpus Dominus). On this feast, thousands of people come from all over Italy to join the procession and watch the spectacle and the flower display.
The main street, Via Benardi, becomes a huge carpet of fresh flowers and petals on which local artists shape the original drawings. This celebration has more than 200 years of history - almost nothing!
9. Take a trip to Ninfa's Garden, the most beautiful park in the world
In the Garden of Ninfa, seventy kilometers from Rome, you can experience the magic of Japan and contemplate the cherry blossoms without leaving Italy. Inside this park, considered by The New York Times as the most beautiful in the world, you will also see apple trees in bloom, magnolias, birch trees and a sensational variety of Japanese maples. It is a paradise on earth!
The orchard was created in the early twentieth century by the Caetani family next to an ancient medieval walled metropolis, full of churches, with over 250 houses and nestled between the sea and the mountains. They set to work and reclaimed the marshes, removed the weeds covering the forgotten ruins, restored the stately palace and turned the huge garden into a meeting place for writers and artists. It is now open to the public and is like a fairytale city!
Useful information about Ninfa's Garden
- Address: locality Cisterna di latina Via Provinciale Ninfina 68
- Hours: from March to June: 9.00 am - 6.00 pm/ from July to September: 9.00 am - 6.30 pm/ from October to November: 9.00 am - 3.30 pm.
- Price: 15,5€ online ticket. Children up to 12 years old are free and people with disabilities pay a reduced entrance fee of 8€.
- Dogs are allowed, of course! The place is pet friendly and dogs can access the park without problems, as long as their owner carries a leash and bags for their pet's needs.
- How long is the visit? The garden tour lasts approximately one hour.
10. Boat trip on the Tiber River
The best way to enjoy the sights of Rome is to embark on a boat on the Tiber River, day or night. At some point in your trip you will need a little time to relax after hours and hours of walking and sightseeing around the Eternal City. Spring, with its milder temperatures, is the best season to enjoy this activity.
A more relaxing and comfortable way to spend a morning or afternoon in Rome is to take a cruise, as it will allow you to contemplate the monuments of the metropolis and discover the other side of Rome. And if, after sightseeing, your guts are rumbling, check out the best restaurants in the Italian capital.
What is the spring temperature in Rome?
- March: the minimum temperature is 6° C and the maximum reaches 15° C.
- April: the thermometer registers temperatures between 9° and 19° Celsius.
- May: temperatures hover between 13º and 23ºC.
- June: the thermometer rises registering minimum temperatures around 17º C and maximum temperatures of 27º C.
When does the sun rise and set in spring in Rome?
In this season the days are getting longer, we can enjoy more hours of daylight and the plans that we like so much in the streets begin.
- Rome in March: sunrise at 6:20 am and sunset is at 6:20 pm.
- Rome in April: the days start to get longer. Sunrise is at 6:30 a.m. and sunset is around 8:00 p.m. We gain two hours of sightseeing compared to March!
- Rome in May: sunrise around 5:47 a.m. and sunset around 8:30 p.m. We already have almost 15 hours of daylight!
- Rome in June: sunrise around 5:30 am and sunset around 9 pm. We have the best of summer: good temperatures, many hours of daylight, but without the heat of the summer season.
How to pack your suitcase for spring travel to Rome?
You are probably wondering what to pack for your spring trip, which will depend a lot on whether you are traveling in March, when the temperatures are cool and you will need to bring a coat, or in June, when the weather is completely summery. Don't forget to bring sunscreen, a hat and shorts! And above all, a lot of illusion and desire.
What should not be missing in your suitcase?
- Comfortable shoes
- Neckerchief for the coldest days (March/April)
- Umbrella (there is a 25% chance of rain)
- Short sleeve t-shirts
In this post you have read some spring plans but, if on the contrary you will make the trip in another season, I leave you the guides of the best things to do in summer in Rome, what to see and what to do in autumn in Rome and what to do in winter in Rome.
In summary, compare the different times to visit Rome
- December - March
- Weather: Freezing
- High 16º C
- Minimum 2º C
Ideal for visiting museums
- March - June
- Climate: Temperate
- High 27ºC
- Low 4ºC
Ideal for outdoor activities
- June - August
- Climate: Hot and humid
- High 31º C
- Low 14º C
Ideal for outdoor activities
- September - November
- Climate: Temperate
- High 27ºC
- Low 6ºC
Ideal for outdoor activities