Are you coming to Rome in April? You'll get to enjoy mild weather, lots of flowers, and a bustling city, full of life and offering plenty to do, indoors and out.
Here's what you need to know:
I was going through my pix of Rome in April 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.
For more packing tips, and a downloadable packing list, visit my page about What to Pack for Rome.
For sight-seeing in Rome in April, here is the ideal way to dress:
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 2018, it's 13, 14 and 15 April (TO BE CONFIRMED.) 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. Vignarola is one of my favorite things about Rome in April.
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.
There are some things that happen every April in Rome. Here are some dates to watch for:
The Rome Marathon, usually held around either the last Sunday in March or first Sunday in April, will be held on Sunday April 8 2018.
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.
Speaking of flowers, there is a brief period of time every April/May when you will find the Spanish Steps covered in azaleas.
The best way to get these shots with nobody in them is at 7am.
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.
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, and Galleria Borghese.
My suggestion for Free Sunday April 1 2018 (which is also Easter this year): 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.
Awaiting confirmation for 2018 . . .
From March through December 2018, 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.
NB - They don't usually open this on Coopculture until right before the event so if you don't see availability for when you want to go, check back!
Beginning Friday April 20 2018, the Vatican Museums are open Friday nights from 7-11pm, last entry 9:30pm.
It won't be uncrowded, although it is less crowded than during the day. And it's a magical way to spend a Friday evening.
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 2018, 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.
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.
Enjoy listening to famous opera songs in the stunning and exclusive Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.
The show includes drinks and dinner.
See the "Three Tenors" in a beautiful church setting.
You will be treated to three of Rome's most famous tenors singing some of the best-known and loved songs of Italian opera.
Enjoy a opera singing by Orchestra I Virtuosi dell’opera di Roma inside the church of St. Paul's within the Walls.
These wonderful opera singers put on a mini-production of La Traviata in full costume.
If you are in Rome April 26-29, join us for some fun and interesting lunches and dinners, where yours truly will be sharing tales about Rome's history, art, politics and more!
Other people sharing their knowledge include Wendy Holloway of Flavor of Italy, my husband Alessandro (born and raised in Rome, and the one who will be talking most about politics), and one other speaker about women in Roman art and history, TBD.
At the Complesso del Vittoriano - Liu Bolin, The "Invisible Man".
Bolin applies intricate body painting to blend with his background, then stands perfectly still until he is practically camouflaged.
The museum will host the first major exhibition of this artist, presenting a series of shots made in 2017 at various spots in Italy, along with other photos.
The museum is open daily: Mon-Thu 9:30am - 7:30pm; Fri-Sat 9:30am - 10pm; Sun 9:30am - 8:30pm. 14€ tickets
Don't miss this special exhibit of Monet paintings at the Complesso del Vittoriano. There are over 60 works from the Parisian Musée Marmottan Monet, by the father of Impressionism, many from home at Giverny.
Prolonged through June 2018!
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.
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.
TURNER - Works from Tate - at the beautiful Chiostro del Bramante, from March 22 - August 26, 2018.
The Chiostro del Bramante is behind Piazza Navona, on Via Arco della Pace, 5. T. +39 06 915 19 41
Open Mon - Fri 10am - 8pm; Sat - Sun 10am - 9pm. 13€ includes audioguide.
At the Scuderie al Quirinale - Hiroshige, Visions of Japan. From March 1 - July 2018.
Sun - Thu 10am – 8pm, Fri - Sat 10am – 10:30pm; last admission one hour before closing time. 12€ adults.
See their website for reduced rates, and pre-booking options.
At Palazzo Braschi (right on Piazza Navona) - Don't miss the wonderul exhibit of Canaletto works, to mark the 250th anniversary of this Venetian artist's death. The pieces are magnificent, and the setting is lovely, especially the views of Piazza Navona below.
Now through August 19 2018. Closed Mondays and May 1.
Tue - Sun 10am - 7pm. 11€. Discounts available with Roma Pass.
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.
Maybe it's your 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) time in Rome. Or you have more than 3 days here. Or you just want to see and do lots of fun things.
Besides the obvious must-see tourist attractions, there are lots of great things to see and do in Rome in April. Here are some ideas for your visit:
Take a cooking class
There are so many great options for taking cooking classes in Rome. From pizza-making to learning to make fresh pasta, to going shopping with the chef and making a home-cooked meal at his/her house.
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.
Take an art class.
This is all the rage now. You want to learn to fresco? sketch? make mosaics? How about pottery? Want to include a little wine-sipping with your art? Rome inspires! Get creative!
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 April, visit the website of the Rome Tourist Board.
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