Do you want to discover the Italian "Dolce Vita"? Spring is the best time to do so. Rome's parks and gardens are full of flowers, the temperatures are very pleasant and the agenda is marked by one of the most important festivals 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 colourful season, and you'll be surprised!
1. Experience a live mass of the Pope during Holy Week
Whether you're a Christian or an atheist, travelling to Rome during Holy Week is an unforgettable and... very spiritual! This ancient celebration unites tradition, culture and gastronomy. If you can, make your trip coincide with this unique spring celebration. 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: if the Papal Audience was already one of the attractions of Rome, this mass is one of the most exciting moments of Holy Week and attracts thousands of pilgrims.
- On Maundy Thursday the 'Last Supper' is commemorated.
- Stations 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 takes place and at nightfall the impressive Via Crucis is celebrated, which runs from inside the Colosseum to the temple of Venus on the Palatine hills.
- Day of recollection on Holy Saturday
- Easter Sunday and the resurrection of Christ: the Pope officiates at 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 typical Easter sweets and treats
Who doesn't love the typical Easter sweets? We already know that Rome has the best pizzas and the best ice creams, but if you thought that there was no gastronomy in Italy beyond pasta, pizza and ice cream, you were wrong. Easter eggs, made with chocolate and a symbol of good luck, are a tradition at this time of year in Italy. You can find them in dark chocolate, with liqueur, filled, with a surprise... There is something for everyone! There's something for everyone!
During Easter, restaurants prepare special menus with lamb and savoury cakes. Finger-licking good! Here is a list of the best places to eat in Trastevere, one of Rome's most bohemian and colourful neighbourhoods. 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 symbolises peace. The dough is made with flour, eggs, sugar, yeast, butter and finally covered with sugar and almonds. There are countless varieties and you'll have a hard time choosing just one: there are coconut, limoncello, sultanas... and even piña colada! 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 activities take place at 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. The programme also includes dances, fireworks, parades and shows all over the city. And if all that 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 Galleria Borghese 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 your tickets for the Borghese Gallery in advance and online because it's one of the most popular museums in Italy - you'll save yourself the hellish queues! Besides, its gardens are well worth a visit because it is one of the largest urban parks in Europe and also, dare I say it, one of the most beautiful.
There's more to this garden than just the galleries. The sculptures in Villa Borghese are a true work of art and you'll also find ponds, woods and even... a zoo! The Bioparco Zoo, which has over 100 years of history, has evolved from a simple exhibition centre for exotic species 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. See thousands of roses in bloom... Some of them very curious!
If you want to see Rome from another angle and enjoy a breathtaking view in spring I recommend you to visit the Municipal Rose Garden, located on the Aventine Hill, just opposite 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, including 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 colour 7 times in five days, and the Foetida rose, a beautiful yellow flower... Smelly!
One of the most interesting areas of the garden (and the largest!) is the collection of botanical roses, both 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 and America.
Useful information about the Municipal Rose Garden of Rome
- Address: Via di Valle Murcia, 6/ Clivo dei Publicii, 3
- Opening: The rose garden is usually open during the spring bloom at the end of April.
- Price: 5 € on weekdays and 7 € on public holidays. Disabled persons, children up to 14 years and seniors over 65 are free.
6. Run a marathon through Rome... or 4 kilometres!
If you are fit and feel like enjoying the Eternal City in a different way, I advise you to take note. At the end of March, the classic spring marathon is held , taking advantage of the rising temperatures and pleasant weather to practice this sport. Every year thousands of Italians and tourists take part 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, the Spanish Steps and ends at the Colosseum. However, if you don't feel up to surviving the 42 kilometres, you can join in the four-kilometre fun run . Suitable for everyone!
7. Escape the heat on the night of the museums
In May you can avoid the long queues in the sun (maximum temperatures often reach 25°C) to enter the art galleries by taking part in the Night of the Museums, an initiative usually held at the end of May that allows you free entry to the art galleries.
However, Rome has cool (and air-conditioned) alternatives for touring the museums and archaeological areas at night in spring and escaping 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 kilometres from Rome is the picturesque village of Genzano, located above 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). Thousands of people come from all over Italy to join the procession and watch the spectacle and flower display.
The main street, Via Benardi, becomes a huge carpet of fresh flowers and petals as local artists create original designs. This celebration has more than 200 years of history - almost nothing!
9. Take a trip to Ninfa Garden, the most beautiful park in the world
In the Garden of Ninfa, seventy kilometres 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, weeded 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
- Opening 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.
- Are dogs allowed? Of course! The place is pet friendly and dogs can enter the park without any problems, as long as their owner carries a leash and bags for their pet's needs.
- How long does the visit last? The tour of the garden lasts approximately one hour.
10. Take a boat trip on the Tiber River
The best way to enjoy the sights of Rome is to take a boat trip on the Tiber River, day or night. At some point in your trip you will need a little relaxation 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 relaxed and comfortable way to spend a morning or afternoon in Rome is to take a cruise, as it will allow you to contemplate the city's monuments and discover the other side of Rome. And if, after sightseeing, your stomach is 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 is 15º C.
- April: the thermometer registers temperatures between 9°C and 19°C.
- May: temperatures are between 13 and 23°C.
- June: the thermometer rises, recording minimum temperatures of around 17º C and maximum temperatures of 27º C.
When does the sun rise and set in Rome in spring?
In this season the days are getting longer, we can enjoy more hours of daylight and we can start to make the plans that we like so much in the streets.
- Rome in March: sunrise is 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 5.47am and sunset around 8.30pm. We already have almost 15 hours of daylight!
- Rome in June: sunrise around 5.30am and sunset around 9pm. 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 a spring trip to Rome?
You're probably wondering what to pack for your spring trip, which will depend a lot on whether you're travelling in March, when temperatures are cool and you'll 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 enthusiasm and enthusiasm.
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-sleeved T-shirts
In this post you have read some spring plans but, if you are travelling in another season, here are the guides to the best things to do in Rome in summer, what to see and do in Rome in autumn and what to do in Rome in winter.
To sum up, compare the different times to visit Rome
- December - March
- Weather: Freezing
- Maximum 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
- Maximum 31º C
- Minimum 14º C
Ideal for outdoor activities
- September - November
- Climate: Temperate
- Maximum 27ºC
- Low 6ºC
Ideal for outdoor activities