The end of the Roman winter and the beginning of spring in Rome is an ideal time to organise 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, where the gardens and outdoor terraces are the main protagonists. Take note of this guide with 10 things to do in March if you are travelling in this special month. Read on!
1. Experience the Roman Easter Week
Whether you are a spiritual person or not, one of the most impressive events in the Eternal City is Holy Week in Rome. It is generally celebrated with great devotion in Catholic countries, but do you know how Easter is celebrated in the Italian capital? Read carefully.
If you're planning a trip to Rome during Holy Week and you're 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 filled with joy and jubilation in St. Peter's Square!
2. Feel like an emperor at the death of Julius Caesar!
If you are a history buff, you can't miss the tribute on 15 March in Rome on the anniversary of the death of Emperor Julius Caesar, one of the most charismatic and idolised figures 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 re-enactment 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 centre of the Eternal City. It will make your hair stand on end! Here you will see the so-called Liberators in disguise, who were the ones who carried out the fateful plan. You will be taken on a non-stop journey through time!
3. Take part in the Spring Festival!
One of my favourite pastimes in Rome was strolling through the gardens in full bloom, such as the Villa Borghese, where I also discovered the impressive 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 Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna, where you will see a festival of colours.
The Spring Festival covers the baroque steps of the square with thousands of white, pink and violet azaleas. Although they are picturesque all year round, in spring they attract even more attention because of the combination of colours 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 17th a wave of green invades the Eternal City and Irish pubs are transformed to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, the patron saint of Ireland. These pubs fill up with redheads who live in Rome and organise 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 excuse for a toast, right?
St. Patrick's Day is also celebrated at the city's most emblematic monument, the Colosseum in Rome, which is dyed emerald green thanks to a campaign by the Irish Department of Tourism, which every year fills the world's main façades with colour, including that of the iconic amphitheatre. My recommendation, if you're in Italy at this time of year, is to find an Irish pub in the capital to toast the saint, but remember to say "Silent!" to feel like a real Irishman, rather than the traditional "cheers".
5. Put yourself to the test 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, 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 centre. 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 kilometres through the Eternal City. You'll meet participants from all over the world, and don't worry if you're not too fit, because you can do a short 4-kilometre route designed for beginners.
6. Celebrate Women's Day at the Festa della Donna!
Do you want to enjoy International Women 's Day in a different way during your trip to the Italian capital? March 8th is celebrated in most countries around the world, but in Italy it is characterised by a very special custom: giving a beautiful bouquet of mimosas to women. Visit any flower shop or the iconic market in Piazza del Campo dei Fiori and get your own. It's always a good time to treat yourself, and even more so on holiday.
The origin of this tradition dates back to 1946, at the end of the Second World War, when Teresa Noce, Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei handed out a bouquet of this flower to women in the streets, symbolising strength and the ability to be reborn in any place, 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 shops offer discounts and restaurants prepare special menus for Women's Day. Some years, admission to museums has even been free for women. Take advantage of this!
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 way 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 should bear in mind that the most famous ones have very long queues, which can take you 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:
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 Saint Joseph has always been highly venerated by the Roman people. Proof of this are the numerous churches built in his honour and the great diffusion of the name "Giuseppe" among the people. For this reason, 19 March 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 custard.
Experience a procession presided over by Saint Joseph
The day is traditionally commemorated with bonfires and sometimes with curious parades depicting scenes from the life of St. Joseph. Until the 1960s, a procession was organised with the statue of the saint carried on the shoulders of the faithful.
9. Have a good 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'll find thousands of different types of coffee beans, as many as there are personalities on the face of the earth: sweet, bitter, funny, cortado... Here's a list of my favourite coffee shops:
- Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè (Piazza Sant'Eustachio, 82): a cosy place dating back to 1938 that preserves the original decor and charm - a temple for caffeine junkies!
- Café Greco (Via Condotti, 86): considered the oldest café 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 take a closer look at this example.
There is a church in Rome where cars can be blessed on 9 March. Although it may sound strange, even rental cars can participate and enjoy this unique and different celebration first hand.
Where? In the Basilica of Santa Francesca Romana, located very close to the Roman Forum. This church dresses up to bless the large number of vehicles that surround the church. At the end, all the cars honk their horns in an improvised concert, one of the most curious things I've done in the capital!
Temperatures in March in the Eternal City
Before embarking on a flight, one of our biggest worries is almost always the temperature. That's why I recommend that you take a look at the weather forecast a few days beforehand. 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's quite likely that you'll get rained on some days. Daylight hours in March are almost 12 hours long, 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
March is still considered low season and the city is fortunately not as crowded with tourists as at other times of the year, so you can tour the city comfortably without having to queue 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, which causes prices in the Eternal City (mainly flights and hotels) to rise significantly. 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 organise your trip to Rome.