April is one of the most eagerly awaited months in Rome, a metropolis with thousands of things to see and do. After the cold and frost of the winter season, spring and the longed-for good weather (or almost) are knocking at the door of this imperial city.
Rome's Holy Week is celebrated, which is noticeable even in the palates; parks bloom and the terraces recover their usual pulse and bustle. So that you can enjoy the Eternal City to the full, in this article I'll tell you the 10 best things to do this month, so stay tuned!
1. Enjoy your most special Easter Week
Living Holy Week in Rome in person, without anyone telling you about it, is one of the experiences you should have at least once in your life. Do you like the idea? Then take a look at this article in which I explain how to get tickets for Holy Week in the Eternal City and the main events that take place.
For your peace of mind, you should know that attendance to the religious events of Holy Week in Rome is completely free, however you will need to get a ticket in advance. Keep in mind that thousands of believers want to attend this unique celebration! If you manage to go, you will love it and you will bring out your spiritual side.
Take note of the most important religious events:
- The celebration starts on Palm Sunday
- Maundy Thursday commemorates the 'Last Supper' of Jesus Christ.
- On Good Friday, the Stations of the Cross take place.
- Holy Saturday is a day of silence and meditation.
- Big day! Easter Sunday and Christ's resurrection
2. Celebrate the birthday of the Eternal City like a Roman
Can you imagine travelling back in time non-stop to Ancient Rome and meeting thousands of gladiators in their costumes? Every year on the weekend closest to 21 April, the anniversary of the founding of the Italian capital is celebrated: the Natale di Roma.
At this event you will find a parade of thousands of men dressed in their spears and shields for the occasion. The women, meanwhile, wear flattering tunics and elaborate flower crowns on their heads. Not a detail is missing!
Feed like a warrior!
At this festival you will relive the wars between the Roman battalions, watch the spectacle of fire and the historical re-enactments in the Circus Maximus and the Roman Forum. It is so real that you will feel like you are living in the time of the emperors!
In addition, the programme includes dances, fireworks and shows all over the city. And if, after a busy day enjoying the fights between warriors, your stomach is roaring, you can stop off to refuel at the stalls serving traditional Roman cuisine. However, if you are a good eater, here are some other restaurants near the Colosseum in Rome so you won't go hungry.
3. Taste the best artichokes in the world
Can you think of a better plan for your holiday than sampling the local produce? For me, as a foodie, it doesn't get any better than this. The Romanesco Artichoke Festival (in Italian, Sagra del Carciofo Romanesco), which has been held annually since 1950 in Ladispoli, an Italian town in the province of Rome, is a national fair dedicated to this food, which you will see prepared in hundreds of different ways, some of them very original!
What is the Romanesco Artichoke Festival?
For three days, the city of Ladispoli sets up an exhibition in the streets and welcomes 100 stands including associations, producers and artists. Yes, you read that right. At this fair you will also meet artists and their works of art, such as animal sculptures created with this unique plant - I loved a life-size cow made from artichokes!
Taste the sweets made from artichokes
For many years now, the festival has been preceded by a most delicious gastronomic event: the 'Gastronomic Bi-Week', an initiative in which the best local restaurants offer different fixed-price menus based exclusively on artichokes, from main courses to desserts. You will be amazed by the possibilities of this vegetable!
4. Relax on the terraces of bohemian Trastevere
One of my favourite pastimes was to sit on the terraces of Rome and watch the hustle and bustle of its streets, taking advantage of the pleasant temperatures this month. In other words, I gave myself over completely to dolce far niente, the pleasure of doing nothing. Does this plan sound great to you too?
My favourite neighbourhood for this is the district of Trastevere, a charming suburb with lots of things to see and do. In this post I leave you a guide to eat in Rome in the most lively and artistic neighbourhood of the Eternal City, based on pastas, pizzas and lots of signature food. You'll want to take the Italian nonas home with you!
5. Stroll through the gardens of Villa Borghese in its springtime light
Despite the good weather in April, it is still low season in Rome, except for Easter. It is therefore one of the best times to explore the Villa Borghese Gardens at your leisure and without the crowds of other more crowded periods. The spring light envelops it in beautiful colours!
It is the green heart of the metropolis and one of the largest urban parks in Europe. It is to Rome what Central Park is to New York. Here, nature and works of art come together to create dreamy corners. If you are curious to know which are the best sculptures in Villa Borghese, take a look at this article.
6. Escape to Florence and marvel at its fireworks display
Spring is undoubtedly the best season to visit Rome and other must-see cities in Italy. So if you have the time and you're spending at least a week in the Italian capital in April, I recommend you set aside a day of your holiday to lose yourself in Florence, the seductive city of the Renaissance. In this article I detail how to get from Rome to Florence- you won't regret it!
Ideally, time your trip to this cradle of art to coincide with Easter Sunday, when the feast of the Scoppio del carro (in English, the "explosion of the cart") takes place, a centuries-old tradition that has been celebrated since the 11th century and is held in honour of Pazzini de Pazi who dedicated himself to keeping the fire burning on a holy Saturday.
The festival of the "explosion of the chariot"
On Easter morning there is a traditional parade with a cart pulled by a pair of white oxen with garlands, the "Brindellone", which leaves from Piazza del Prado escorted by soldiers and musicians until it reaches Piazza Duomo, where the fireworks on the wagon are lit, representing the sacred fire.
The pyrotechnic spectacle is fascinating, in a matter of minutes the ancient carriage disappears amid explosions, smoke and beautiful colours... That could well remind us of the Fallas in Valencia. Finally, the chariot reappears behind the dust with its 12 meters high.
7. Commemorate the Liberation Day of Italy
If you find yourself in the Eternal City at the end of April, you can attend the Liberation Day, popularly known as Festa della Liberazione, which has been celebrated every year on 25 April since 1946 and is a bank holiday in the country.
This day commemorates the liberation of Italy from the Fascist regime and Nazism after the Second World War and for the citizens it is a day with an important political significance. Every year since then, public events have been organised in memory of this landmark event in Italian history.
Offering in memory of the deceased soldiers
Among the events on the programme is the solemn tribute by the President of the Italian Republic and senior State officials at the tomb of the unknown soldier, located at the monument to Victor Emmanuel II, where a laurel wreath is laid in memory of the fallen and the Italians who have disappeared in wars. It will make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end!
Nuria's Traveller Tip
Please note that as it is a bank holiday, many tourist attractions and some shops may be closed to the public on this day.
8. Enjoy the Spring Festival
Piazza di Spagna is one of the most elegant and magical places in Rome. Its majestic staircase, built in the 18th century, makes it one of the busiest and liveliest spots in the city. Every year between March and April, depending on the year, the square is decked out to celebrate the Spring Festival.
This celebration fills the steps of the square with thousands of white, pink and violet azaleas. And if you're too tired after a day's sightseeing, here's a little tip for the lazy! You can take the lift to the top of the square for a breathtaking view.
Nuria's Traveller Tip
Relax in the literary café Greco, opened in 1760 and considered the oldest in the city, full of memorabilia from great writers such as María Zambrano!
9. Visit the original chocolate Easter egg exhibition
Did you know that it takes more than four hours to create a chocolate Easter egg or, depending on the work, even several days? The Bompiani patisserie (Via Largo Benedetto Bompiani, 8) is well aware of this, and every year it exhibits its 'chocolate sculptures', created by its master pastry chef and chocolatier Walter Musco, an artist who fuses food and art.
The tastiest styles: haute couture exhibition
In recent years, the Roman patisserie has paid tribute to the most famous fashion designers of our time with a display of 50 chocolate eggs inspired by Chanel, Balenciaga, Dior, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, among other great names of haute couture.
10. See the cherry blossoms in bloom
You don't have to fly all the way to Japan to see the cherry blossom. One of the most beautiful sights I immortalised in Rome in April was the scenery at EUR Lake Park, one of the best parks in the Eternal City. By the way, access is free!
From mid-March in Rome until the end of April in Rome, the Sakura cherry trees, which were donated to Rome by Tokyo, the busy capital of Japan, begin to bloom in this garden. It is one of the secret corners that you can discover in the Eternal City.
In this month, Mother Nature gives us the gift of her marvellous blossom and the possibility of practising Hanami, the art of observing these trees. A good plan is to have a picnic under the Sakura trees in bloom, as in Japan, and enjoy the first rays of spring sunshine.
Temperatures in Rome in April
The best thing about spring in Rome is that there are more daylight hours and temperatures are very pleasant, which invites you to spend more hours than in winter in Rome in the streets and stroll around its picturesque neighbourhoods. In general, the highs are up to 19°C and the lows are around 9°C.
Luckily, there are many sunny and warm days in this month. However, the saying "Aprile non ti scoprire" (don't undress yet) is absolutely true. So I advise you to take a thin coat and an umbrella just in case, as it usually rains for about 8 days.
Prices in Rome in April
If you're a savvy traveller, April is one of the best months for a budget trip to Rome, where you'll enjoy milder temperatures than in winter. In this article I'll tell you the keys to organising your trip to Rome and how to get super-cheap flights using a few tips.
I'll summarise them below:
- Use search engines like Skyscanner
- If you can, be flexible with your dates
- Always use the incognito profile so you don't get a price increase.
- The best time to search for flights is at lunchtime, when there is less demand - avoid searching on weekends and evenings!
And finally, have a good trip! There are so many fascinating things to see in this country that it will leave you speechless and wanting to do it all over again - I'm telling you from my own experience!