Are you coming to Rome in April? You'll get to enjoy mild weather, lots of flowers, and a bustling city, alive and offering plenty to do, indoors and out.
Here's what you need to know:
I was going through my pix of April in Rome to find the right one to put here, and realized that over the years, the first week of April has some pretty varied temps. On April 6, 2015, we were wearing puffy coats, and on the same day in 2014, jeans and t-shirts.
April is a spring month which means: it's not as warm as you are ready for it to be (that happens mid May), it can rain a lot, and flowers, in particular wisteria, are exploding all over the place.
Over all, Rome in April offers a super climate for sight-seeing (just be prepared for some rain.)
These are my personal recommendations for your visit to Rome in April, which I own or use:
If you are caught in the rain in Rome, you can easily buy a cheap umbrella from a street vendor. Trust me, they just appear when it rains. But the quality of those umbrellas is not great. If you want to come prepared with your own travel umbrella, get a quality umbrella that lasts. I love mine that has an open AND close button.
It may not look like it from the photos on this page but believe me, Rome in April can be rainy. A rain-hat is the perfect packable accessory - it doesn't take up much room but is so useful when you need it!
This rain-hat for men is a lot like the one my husband wears. We never let the rain stop us from going out and enjoying Rome in any weather!
I own this jacket and wear it all through spring and fall. Besides being stylish, it's the perfect weight for not-so-hot days, and it's 100% waterproof so I am all set in case of sudden rain. It's a wardrobe investment but I will say it's one of my favorite jackets all-around.
Here's a men's version of the waxed jacket. Alessandro loves this for the rain, because it really is waterproof (and warm.)
I also own a lighter rain-jacket like this. It's light, easy to pack and great for sight-seeing in Rome in spring.
And here's a men's lighter rain-jacket, excellent for packing and for carrying around while sight-seeing.
Visit my page What to Pack for Rome for more suggestions.
Since it can be warm during the day but quite chilly at night, and can rain, even when you are not expecting it to, it is always a good idea to wear long cotton pants (jeans or khakis are fine), and have a cardigan, light jacket - or rain jacket - and always a scarf.
April is definitely scarf weather in Rome (although for Romans, every day of the year warrants a scarf.)
Be comfortable, wear very comfortable shoes for walking, with good socks, and layer. I suggest you wear (or carry) a light waterproof jacket or windbreaker and bring a travel umbrella.
I get this question a lot, in particular because Easter is around this time of year. The answer is: yes, it will be crowded in Rome in April, Easter or no Easter. April is a beautiful month, weather-wise, it's not too hot (perfect for sight-seeing), and many schools have breaks.
People who have the option to travel outside of a school calendar tend to choose spring and fall to visit Rome, for the weather. That is why spring and fall months are the busiest times to be in Rome. Just plan for it, and book things in advance when you can.
As I've written on other pages on this site, food in Rome (and in Italy) is eaten seasonally. It's supposed to be, anyway. And besides the fruits and vegetables you'd expect to find in spring, like asparagus and peas, there are some very Roman foods that must be tried in spring. If you are in Rome in April, don't miss these:
Artichokes - these are definitely seasonal, but besides that, there are several varieties of artichoke available in Rome, which start to show up in Rome markets around November and go through early May.
The kind available right now, are my (and many Romans') hands-down favorite: carciofo romanesco, otherwise known as “mammola” or “cimarolo."
These artichokes are round, not pointed; green and purple; and are the perfect artichoke for making carciofo alla romana, or Roman-style artichoke, which is braised with garlic, mentuccia (a Roman herb), olive oil and sometimes a little wine. It's eaten whole and when it's made right, it's perfectly soft and edible all the way through.
For a special thing to do in April in Italy, not far from Rome, head to Ladispoli on the coast, and partake of the Sagra del Carciofo, which is a 3-day festival dedicated to artichokes. And eating them! The festival is always held in April, and in 2016, it's 8, 9 and 10 April. Buon appetito!
Vignarola - In spring, fava beans start coming into season. You will find them in their pods in Rome markets everywhere. And so spring being the perfect storm of artichokes, fava beans, and peas... you have a small window of time to savor vignarola, which is made by cooking all three of these together.
I eagerly await the moment each year when I can start really eating good, local artichokes...and the same is true for vignarola, particularly because it has such a short season.
Vignarola may be made with or without guanciale (pork jowels), so if you are vegetarian, make sure to ask before you order. It can be eaten by itself as an appetizer or main dish, on bruschetta or over pasta.
March is already the beginning of the tourist season, and the beginning of spring. By April, the weather is starting to get really lovely, the crowds are here, and lots of things start happening in Rome!
In 2016, since Easter came in late March, the Rome Marathon, normally held at the end of March, will be held on April 10 2016 instead.
This really won't affect you much unless you run the marathon, or are staying or planning any cultural visits near the route. For more info, visit the official website of the Maratona di Roma.
The Roseto Rose Garden in Rome is sort of famous for being open only in the month of May. However, it actually opens on April 21, which is Rome's birthday (753 BCE.)
Granted, the roses are not in their full glory yet, but they are certainly beginning, and since not many people know the garden already opens in late April, it's pretty empty. Visiting Rome's Roseto at the end of April is a special thing to do in Rome if you want a moment of nature, quiet and tranquility.
Rome was founded on April 21, 753 BCE. So on April 21, there is a sort-of holiday, the Natale di Roma, or Rome's birthday.
Nothing is closed, in fact, just about everything is open. And, to top it off, all Rome city museums are free on April 21! This includes Capitoline Museums, the Ara Pacis, Villa Torlonia, Trajan's Market and more! A great day to sight-see in Rome. For more info on which museums are free, visit the website of the Musei in Comune.
There will be a parade and fireworks. Sometimes the parade is held on the Sunday prior to the actual birthday. If you want to catch any of the events surrounding Rome's birthday, visit the website of the Gruppo Storico Romano, who are organize re-enactments and parades such as this one. All events are free.
Liberation Day, the Festa della Liberazione, is a very important national holiday in Rome and in Italy - it celebrates the end of Nazi occupation during WWII, and the end of Fascist rule in Italy (Benito Mussolini was shot 3 days later.)
Being a national holiday, schools, banks and shops are closed. No tourist sites are closed. The Vatican is not part of Italy, and therefore is not affected by this holiday at all.
The Associazione Nazionale Partigiani d’Italia (ANPI), which means "Association of National Partisans of Italy", will parade from the Colosseum to Porta San Paolo (where the Pyramid is), starting around 9:30am.
The first Sunday of every month, state museums and archeological sites are free. The Colosseum is crowded on this day, but it's a great opportunity to visit other gems like Ostia Antica, Palazzo Barberini, Galleria Borghese and the Domus Aurea.
My suggestion for Free Sunday April 3 2016: Visit the Baths of Caracalla, one of the most amazing archeological sites we have in Rome, complete with intact mosaic floors. Very under-visited and un-crowded!
On the last Sunday of every month, the Vatican museums are open, and free.
Hours are reduced and the lines are long. If you are on a budget, or have limited time, this can be a good option. You cannot reserve in advance. Just come early. Very early.
I'm so excited this light show, Viaggio Nel Foro (Journeys Through Ancient Rome) is again coming to Rome already by late April! And you should be too! This is one of the best shows you can see in Rome to really get a sense of Ancient Rome.
Starting April 22, you will see bleachers lined up in front of Augustus' Forum on the via Fori Imperiali. Every night there is an hour-long light show, with holograms, lasers and fabulous narration (in several languages), that brings the whole thing to life. Click the image to visit the official site for more info and booking.
Correggio e Parmigianino. Art in Parma in the 16th century. Scuderie del Quirinale, Via XXIV Maggio. March 12 - June 26 2016. 12€.
Museum hrs: Sunday - Thursday 10am - 8pm; Friday and Saturday 10am – 10:30pm.
I Macchiaioli, Chiostro del Bramante, behind piazza Navona. From March 16 - September 4 2016. 13€ (includes audio-guide).
Museums hrs: Monday - Friday 10am - 8pm. Saturday - Sunday 10am - 9pm. They will be open on Easter Sunday, 10am - 9pm.
Via Crucis - The Passion of Christ, Botero. Palazzo delle Esposizioni, via Nazionale. February 13 - May 1 2016. 10€.
Museum hrs: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 10am - 8pm; Friday and Saturday from 10am - 10:30pm. Closed on Monday.
Toulouse-Lautrec, Ara Pacis, Lungotevere near Spanish Steps. Through May 8 2016. 11€ for exhibit only; 17€ for exhibit and Ara Pacis museum combo.
Museum hrs: 7 days a week 9.30am - 7:30pm.
At Palazzo delle Esposizioni, catch The Caravaggio Experience. This is not a collection of the artists paintings, but rather a video installation, complete with scored music and fragrances...it's billed as "a unique sensoral journey based on total immersion in the art of this master." March 24-July 3 2016. 10 € full-price ticket.
Museum hrs: Sun - Thu 10am - 8pm; Fri-Sat 10am - 10:30pm. Closed Monday.
Il Trittico by Giacomo Puccini. Teatro Costanza, Rome Opera House. April 17-24 2016.
To purchase tickets, visit Select Italy for dates and prices.
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