10 things to do in Rome in March

This month the Eternal City welcomes the colourful spring, celebrates the most famous Easter and kicks off the outdoor activities. Take note!

Nuria Rozas

Nuria Rozas

10 min read

10 things to do in Rome in March

Enjoying the Caer de la noche in Rome | © Julius Silver

The end of winter and the beginning of spring in Rome is an ideal time to organise a trip to the Italian capital. 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 eagerly awaited events of the year, Easter, begins in earnest, and the calendar is full of outdoor activities, in which gardens and 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

Enjoying Easter| ©OPUS DEI
Enjoying Easter| ©OPUS DEI

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 are planning to travel to Rome for Easter and you are not sure when, consider the following suggestions:

  • Palm Sunday kicks off Holy Week and you can 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.
  • Holy Wednesday is also a day to look out for as you can book tickets for the Papal Audience.
  • Easter Sunday is another day worth experiencing in Rome at this time of year. It is the great feast commemorating the resurrection of Christ, and you will feel the atmosphere of joy and jubilation in St. Peter's Square!

And on your trip to Rome at Easter, be sure to book the guided tour of the catacombs and basilicas of Rome, where you will discover the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, as well as the catacombs of St. Callixtus, in a unique atmosphere. You won't regret it!

Book tickets for the Papal Audience

2. Feel like an emperor at the death of Julius Caesar!

Statue of Julius Caesar in Rome| ©Santiago Abella
Statue of Julius Caesar in Rome| ©Santiago Abella

If you are a history buff, you can't miss the tribute in Rome on 15 March to mark the anniversary of the death of Emperor Julius Caesar, one of the most charismatic and idolised figures of Ancient Rome.

When booking your tickets to the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine Hill, keep in mind that several cultural events are held on this day 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 very 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, and you will be taken on a non-stop journey through time!

Book your ticket to the Roman Forum

3. Take part in the Spring Festival!

Villa Borghese Gardens in March| ©Stefano Consolo
Villa Borghese Gardens in March| ©Stefano Consolo

One of my favourite pastimes in Rome was strolling through the gardens in bloom, such as Villa Borghese, where I discovered the impressive sculptures of Villa Borghese. You can also get to know them in a fun way if you book a Segway tour of Villa Borghese.

Another option if you want to experience spring in its purest form at the end of March is to 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 springtime in Rome 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!

Book a Segway tour of Villa Borghese

4. Celebrate St. Patrick's Day like a true Irishman!

The Roman Colosseum is painted green on St. Patrick's Day| ©Federico
The Roman Colosseum is painted green on St. Patrick's Day| ©Federico

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 book your ticket for the Colosseum in Rome. And, of course, after your visit, look for an Irish pub in the capital to toast the saint. Remember to say "Silent!" to feel like a real Irishman, instead of the traditional "cheers!

Book your ticket for the Colosseum in Rome

5. Put yourself to the test in the Rome Marathon

Taking part in the Rome Marathon| ©Greg Johnson
Taking part in the Rome Marathon| ©Greg Johnson

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. 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-kilometre route designed for beginners. Another option to get in shape is to book a bike tour along the Appian Way.

Book a bike tour along the Appian Way

6. Celebrate Women's Day at the Festa della Donna!

Mimosa flower, typical of Mother's Day bouquets| ©crabchick
Mimosa flower, typical of Mother's Day bouquets| ©crabchick

Do you want to enjoy International Women 's Day in a different way during your trip to the Italian capital? The 8th March is celebrated in most countries in the world, but in Italy it is characterised by a very special custom: giving a beautiful bouquet of mimosas to women.

Go to any flower shop or to the iconic market in the Campo dei Fiori square 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 anywhere, even in scorched lands.

Taste the flower-shaped sweets

For those with a sweet tooth, try the "mimosa" cake, which, by the way, is finger-licking good! Any holiday in Italy is a good time to show off the country's 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. In some years, admission to museums has even been free for women. So don't hesitate to book a food tour of Campo de Fiori and make the most of it.

Book a food tour of Campo de Fiori

7. Take refuge in the museums for free on winter Sundays

Detail of Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Michele Bitetto
Detail of Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Michele Bitetto

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, admission is completely free. However, you should bear in mind that the most famous ones have very long queues, which can take 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 tickets to the best museums you can visit in the Eternal City:

Book your ticket for the Museums of Rome

8. Attend the Feast of St. Francesca, patron saint of drivers

Basilica of Santa Francesca Romana where the cars are blessed.| ©ShareAlike 3.0
Basilica of Santa Francesca Romana where the cars are blessed.| ©ShareAlike 3.0

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 and there you can book a Vespa tour in Rome. 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 plans I made in the capital!

Book a vespa tour in Rome

9. Send your dad a selfie from the Feast of San Giuseppe

Façade of the Basilica of San Giuseppe al Trionfale| ©Esteban Fernández García
Façade of the Basilica of San Giuseppe al Trionfale| ©Esteban Fernández García

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.

10. Have a good cup of coffee, symbol of the Eternal City

A coffee at Café Greco| ©Ami Zhang
A coffee at Café Greco| ©Ami Zhang

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. Roman 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 coffee shop in the Eternal City. It is a classic for lovers of this drink.

Temperatures in March in the Eternal City

Rainy days in Rome| ©FRANCO600D
Rainy days in Rome| ©FRANCO600D

Before embarking on a flight, one of our biggest worries is almost always the temperature. Therefore, 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 be 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.

March in Rome: Tourist numbers and prices in March

Visiting the Vatican City| ©Kai Pilger
Visiting the Vatican City| ©Kai Pilger

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 comfortably explore the city 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.

Book the City Sightseeing Bus