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.
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.)
I suggest you wear (or carry) a light waterproof jacket or windbreaker and bring a travel umbrella. Be comfortable, wear very comfortable shoes for walking, with good socks, and layer.
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 typical 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 2017, it's 7, 8 and 9 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!
The Rome Marathon, usually held around either the last Sunday in March or first Sunday in April, will be held on Sunday April 2 2017.
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 an 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 2 2017: 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.
From March through December 2017, you can visit the Colosseum at night. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Entry for night visits to the Colosseum is NOT part of the Roma Pass.
Confirmed for 2017! I'm so excited this light show, Viaggio Nel Foro (Journeys Through Ancient Rome) is again coming to Rome already by mid 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 13 2017, 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.
Beginning Friday April 21 2017, the Vatican Museums are open Friday nights from 7-11pm, last entry 9:30pm.
It won't be uncrowded but it's a magical way to spend a Friday evening.
Now through May 7 2017, you have a chance to see works by Artmesia Gentileschi, one of the most important artists of the Baroque period, and the only female artist to rival the likes of Caravaggio and Carracci (from whom she took inspiration.)
The exhibit is showing in the wonderful museum, Palazzo Braschi, which sits on one end of Piazza Navona, and has views of the piazza from above (a bonus!)
Open Tuesday - Sunday: 10am - 7pm. Closed Mondays. 11€
At the Complesso del Vittoriano (accessible from the via dei Fori Imperiali), check out the Giovanni Boldini exhibist of the beautiful art collection from the "Belle Epoque" painter. Through July 2017. 14€ tickets.
The museum is open daily: Mon-Thu 9:30am - 7:30pm; Fri-Sat 9:30am - 10pm; Sun 9:30am - 8:30pm.
The museum of the Ara Pacis (Augustus' Altar to Peace) is worth visiting all by itself. And now through October 2017, you can visit the museum on weekend nights, and check out "L'Ara Com'Era", which means, the Altar as it Was. Using special Virtual Reality visors, you can see this amazingly intact ancient monument to Augustus, with the original colors and designs, as they probably looked 2000 years ago. Visit the website for exact hours for this exhibit as they change throughout the year.
The museum is open daily from 9:30am - 7:30pm. 10,50€ for the museum, or 12€ for the weekend/night visit "L'Ara Com'Era." See the website about eligibility for discounts.
Georg Baselitz. The Heroes.
Palazzo delle Esposizioni, via Nazionale. Now through June 2017. 10€.
Museum hrs: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 10am - 8pm; Friday and Saturday from 10am - 10:30pm. Closed on Monday.
Jean-Michel Basquiat. New York City.
Chiostro del Bramante, behind piazza Navona. Now through July 2017
Museums hrs: Monday - Friday 10am - 8pm. Saturday - Sunday 10am - 9pm.
From Caravaggio to Bernini. Italian Masterpieces of the 16th century from the Spanish Royal Collection. From April 11 2017.
Scuderie del Quirinale, Via XXIV Maggio.
Museum hrs: Sunday - Thursday 10am - 8pm; Friday and Saturday 10am – 10:30pm. 12€ full price
Take in an opera or ballet.
There are shows at Rome's Opera House, as well as in some beautiful Rome churches. For information on showtimes and tickets, click here.
The Santa Cecilia hall, designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, at the Rome Auditorium, is the perfect place to attend a concert. The complex is stunning, and for music lovers, the acoustics are just outstanding.
I've listed some of what I think are the most fascinating events in Rome in April, and most central. For a complete list of events in Rome in February, visit the website of the Rome Tourist Board.
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