In April, you will find wisteria everywhere in Rome, like here in villa Celimontana park
What to Pack for Rome in April
I walk around Rome year-round. I walk to meet people, I walk to sight-see (yes I do a lot of that).
And I just walk as much as I can because, well, it's Rome! So believe me I know how to dress in Rome, in any month.
These are my personal recommendations for your visit to Rome in April, many of which I own and use:
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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.
I say this about every month - bring a scarf. Yes, in April. First of all, it's going to be cooler than you might think, especially in the mornings and after the sun goes down.
Second of all, well, it's stylish. But seriously, trust me you will want a scarf in your bag. You will be surprised at how much you use it.
The scarf thing goes for men too. You will definitely see Italian men wearing scarves, certainly in chilly April.
They don't weigh much, and are super useful. Trust me.
Another handy thing to pack for rainy weather in Rome is a light rain poncho. I've seen so many people shelling out money to street vendors when it rains unexpectedly in Rome. So if you don't feel like packing, or wearing, a rain-jacket, this is a perfect alternative.
Sturdy cotton long pants or jeans, or a long skirt
Long-sleeved henley or polo shirt or other medium weight cotton top
Warm cardigan or pullover in your bag
A light water-proof jacket or shell in your bag.
Cotton scarf for men and women
Don't forget your sunglasses and sunscreen!
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.
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."
Roman "cimarolo" artichokes in the market in spring
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.
Carciofo alla Romana, or Roman artichoke, is in its best season in early spring. This one was at il Falchetto.
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 2019, it's 12, 13, and 14 April. Buon appetito!
Rome in April is a fantastic month for taking a food tour.
It's warm but not too hot to walk around, and you will get to taste and learn about a lot of these seasonal specialties.
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. Vignarola is one of my favorite things about Rome in April.
I had this dish of vignarola with bruschetta as my main course at Da Danilo, where they make it beautifully
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.
Scrumptious fettucine with vignarola at Flavio al Velavevodetto
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.
There are some things that happen every April in Rome. Here are some dates to watch for:
Rome Marathon (Maratona di Roma)
The Rome Marathon, usually held around either the last Sunday in March or first Sunday in April, will be held on Sunday April 72019.
A sea of runners at the Colosseum for the Rome Marathon. Photo Credit: La Repubblica
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.
Roseto Rose Garden
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.)
The Roseto rose garden is an oasis of beauty and quiet in hustle-bustle Rome, especially in April when it's barely just opened
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's Roseto rose garden is beautiful even before the roses are in full bloom, and even in the rain
Azaleas on the Spanish Steps
Speaking of flowers, there is a brief period of time every April/May when you will find the Spanish Steps covered in azaleas.
Spanish Steps in early morning in Rome in April. They are covered in azaleas only during part of April and May each year.
The best way to get these shots with nobody in them is at 7am.
Come check out my YouTube channel and this video of the Spanish Steps covered with azaleas, before the crowds come:
Rome's Birthday - April 21
According to legend, 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.
One year on Rome's birthday, I found myself at Campidoglio on Capitoline Hill. This band was playing and it was a nice festive atmosphere.
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 organize re-enactments and parades such as this one. All events are free.
Super cool tip!
Visit the Pantheon at noon on April 21. The emperor responsible for building it, Hadrian, had it designed in such a way that on Rome's birthday, and only on that day, the sun coming through the oculus (hole in the roof) would illuminate the entrance. The Romans would wait outside the door for the light to stream out.
It only happens once a year so go check it out!
On April 21, just before noon, you will see the light from the oculus moving to exactly fill the doorway. It's pretty amazing!
Liberation Day - April 25
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 ANPI (Italian Partisans) marching in Rome on Liberation Day. Photo credit: Roma Today
Rome in April - things to do
Free Things to do in Rome in April
Until 2018, we had the "Free Sunday", in which state-run museums were free for everyone on the first Sunday of the month.
This is no longer the case, exactly.
Now, there is a "Culture Week", which took place March 5-10, 2019.
From April - September inclusive, there will NOT be a Free Sunday. They resume on the first Sunday of October, which in 2019 is October 6.
The first Sunday of every month, state museums and archeological sites USED TO BE free (see above).
In April 2019, we do NOT have the Free Sunday. This means you have to pay, as you normally would, but it also means you can reserve a spot, skip the line, visit the S.U.P.E.R. sites, and book tours.
I'm so excited this light show, Viaggio Nel Foro(Journeys Through Ancient Rome) is again coming to Rome already by mid April! This is one of the best shows you can see in Rome to really get a sense of Ancient Rome.
Starting April 21 2019, 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. There is a second show, all about Julius Caesar, and inside his forum. You can do both on the same night.
Leonardo da Vinci - The science before the science. March 13 - June 30, 2019.
Scuderie del Quirinale, Via XXIV Maggio 16.
Open: sun - Thu 10am - 8pm; Fri - Sat 10am – 10:30pm.
Full € 15.00; Reduced (ages 18-25) € 13.00
Free for anyone under 18, and anyone disabled and their care-giver, with written medical proof.
Click the photo to visit the official site.
The museum of the Ara Pacis (Augustus' Altar to Peace) is worth visiting all by itself.
You can also 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.
I have just been to the opening of this show and it's incredible! A unique mix of immersion theater, with live actors, ballet, modern dance, original music by Sting, and more. I cannot recommend this enough, especially if you are as big a fan of Michelangelo as I am.
Dream - Art Meets Dreams - at the beautiful Chiostro del Bramante, now through May 2019.
The Chiostro del Bramante is behind Piazza Navona, on Via Arco della Pace, 5. T. +39 06 915 19 41
Click the picture to visit the museum's official site.
Open Mon - Fri 10am - 8pm; Sat - Sun 10am - 9pm.
13€ includes audioguide. No advance booking required.
Andy Warhol at the Complesso del Vittoriano. Now through May 5, 2019.
Mon - Thu 9:30am - 7:30pm
Fri - Sat 9:30am - 10pm
Sun 9:30 am - 8:30 pm
Tickets are 13€. Advance booking highly recommended for this popular exhibit.
Click the image at left to visit the official site.
Pollock and the school of New York at the Complesso del Vittoriano. Now through May 5, 2019.
Mon - Thu 9:30am - 7:30pm
Fri - Sat 9:30am - 10pm
Sun 9:30 am - 8:30 pm
Tickets are 15€. Advance booking highly recommended for this popular exhibit.
Click the image at left to visit the official site.
CONCERTS TO ENJOY IN ROME IN April
Take in an opera or ballet.
The Rome Opera House will show Franz Lehár's The Merry Widow from 14 -20 April, 2019. Also, you can enjoy an evening of Ballet with music by Philip Glass.
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.
We are close to so many things, like Pompeii, Ostia Antica, Tivoli, Florence and much more.
Take a bicycle tour.
You can go out onto the Appia Antica, a lovely area to tour by bike. You can also try one of Rome's newest tours, by electric bike. What a great way to see the sites, get some exercise but not get too over-exerted.
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