Do you want to discover the Italian "Dolce Vita"? Spring is the best time to do it. 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 will 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 experience and... very spiritual! This ancient 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 of what you can do if you travel to Rome in March or if you travel to Rome in April. Here is a preview of the main events.
Most important religious events:
- The celebration begins with Palm Sunday.
- Maundy Thursday commemorates the 'Last Supper'.
- Stations of the Cross on Good Friday
- Day of recollection on Holy Saturday
- Easter Sunday and Christ's resurrection
Attend the Palm Sunday Mass
In the Italian capital, Holy Week begins on the last Sunday of Lent with the celebration of Palm Sunday. On that day, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, a Mass is celebrated by the Pope to commemorate Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. If the Papal Audience was already one of the attractions of Rome, in this mass thousands of pilgrims congregate and it is one of the most exciting moments of Holy Week. In addition, the olive branches of the faithful gathered there are blessed. Don't miss it!
Stations of the Cross on Good Friday
Another of the most impressive events is the Via Crucis on Good Friday, when the Passion of Christ is celebrated. On Friday afternoon, which is when the death of Christ 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 hills of the Palatine. It will make your hair stand on end! I leave you this article on where to eat near the Colosseum that may be useful if you are going to see the Via Crucis.
Easter Sunday in Rome
As a final climax to the religious events, on Easter Sunday, the resurrection of Christ is celebrated - one of the most moving moments for Christians! In the morning, 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! Because it is the day of the Resurrection of Jesus. Finally, the Pope goes out on the emblematic balcony of the Vatican and gives his blessing known as Urbi et Orbi to all the attendees.
Enjoy the events free of charge
Attendance to the religious events of Holy Week in Rome is completely free, however, it is necessary to book the ticket in advance, since there is a massive influx and places are very limited. In this article, you will learn first-hand how to get tickets to enjoy Holy Week in Rome.
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 cream is 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 will find them in dark chocolate, with liqueur, filled, with surprises? For all tastes!
Some are so big that you can even get inside them, others are real edible works of art and some are designed for collectors. My advice is to buy them in the artisan bakeries of Rome, even if you'll be really sorry to eat them!
During Easter, restaurants prepare special menus with lamb and savory pies - 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 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 have a hard time choosing 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 of Ancient Rome? Every year around April 21 is celebrated the anniversary of the birth of the Italian capital: the Natale di Roma with thousands of people dressed in period costumes. You will feel like Russell Crowe in the movie 'Gladiator' (2000).
What activities take place at the Natale di Roma?
In this festival you can watch gladiator fights, chariot races and historical reenactments 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.
Also, don't miss the free classical music concerts in emblematic sites such as the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, the Colosseum, the Pantheon and Piazza del Campidoglio, on the Capitoline Hill, for a unique experience!
4. Behold the blooming of thousands of roses... some of them very curious!
If you want to observe Rome from another angle and enjoy a breathtaking panorama in spring I recommend you to visit the Municipal Rose Garden, located on the Aventine Hill, right in front of the ruins.
Did you know that since the 3rd 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 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 about the Municipal Rose Garden of Rome
- Address: Via di Valle Murcia, 6/ Clivo dei Publicii, 3
- Opening: generally, the rose garden 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.
5. 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 gardens of Villa Borghese at this time of year, which look like never before!
The Gardens of Villa Borghese
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 will 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.
In this orchard there is more 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!
6. Run a marathon in 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, but 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 feel strong enough to survive the 42 kilometers, you can join the fun run of four kilometers. Suitable for everyone!
7. Flee from the heat in the night of the museums
In May you can avoid long lines under the sun (maximum temperatures usually reach 25º C) to enter art galleries if you participate in the Night of the Museums, an initiative that usually takes place at the end of May and allows you free admission to 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 display of flowers.
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 20th century by the Caetani family next to an ancient medieval walled metropolis, full of churches, with more than 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, either during the day or at night. At some point in your trip you will need a little time to relax after hours and hours of walking and touring 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, take a look at the best restaurants in the Italian capital.
What is the spring temperature in Rome?
- March: the minimum temperature is 6º C and the maximum reaches 15º C.
- April: the thermometer registers temperatures between 9º and 19º C.
- May: temperatures hover between 13º and 23º C.
- June: the thermometer rises registering minimum temperatures around 17º C and maximum temperatures of 27º C.
When does it dawn and dusk in spring in Rome?
In this season the days are getting longer, we can enjoy more daylight hours 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 in Rome?
You are probably wondering what to pack in your suitcase for your spring trip, which will depend a lot on whether you make the trip in March, when temperatures are cool and you should bring a coat, or if you make it in June, when the weather is already totally summery. Don't forget to bring sunscreen, hat and shorts! And above all, a lot of illusion and enthusiasm.
**What should not be missing in your suitcase?
- Comfortable shoes
- Neckerchief for colder 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 brief, compare the different times to visit Rome
- December - March
- Weather: Freezing
- High 16º C
- Minimum 2º C
Ideal for visiting the 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