Rome in April: all you need to know to plan the perfect trip

by marta

All you need to know for a trip to Rome in April. What to expect from the weather, what to pack and what to do in Rome in the spring

April in Rome is a wonderful month albeit a very busy one.

Spring has well and truly started in Rome in April and despite frequent showers of rain, this is one of the glorious months when Rome fills with blossoms, its otherwise unkempt green areas becoming a triumph of flowers and perfumes.

April is also the time when, often, you have Easter celebrations in Rome (this, of course, depends on when Easter week falls each year) and this means the Eternal city becomes especially appealing to those who want to celebrate this religious festivity as well as those who can get precious time off.

The result is a time that sees city perfection and crazy busy crowds: this is our guide to help you make the most of April in Rome.

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Weather in Rome in April

April is spring in Rome and you can expect lovely weather with mild temperatures and the occasional shower of rain.

The weather is changeable at this time and you will need to dress in layers however, this is one of the best times for sightseeing since you will not have to battle the otherwise relentless Rome sun.

The average temperature in Rome in April is 14C/58F with a range from 20C/68F to 8C/46F degrees.

Usually you have about 9 days of rain in Rome in April and this tends to be heavy downpours rather than a drizzle.

A travel umbrella will be your best friend at this time although rain tends to come in forms of showers so, usually, you can simply find refuge somewhere and quickly resume sightseeing

Colosseum and Rome church photo collage with overlay text what to expect in Rome in April

What to wear in Rome in April

April in Rome sees changeable weather but usually mild temperature. Early mornings and evenings tend to be cold and you will need to wrap up a little more but overall, mid-season clothes and layers should suffice.

Last year in April, we had some very warm sunny days that called for short sleeves and sunglasses followed by others with grey sky and temperatures calling for a light jacket in the evening.

If you are traveling to Rome in April, it is important to pack:

  • Good walking shoes, waterproof (ankle boots or winter sneakers are perfect) – you can find my recommended shoes for Rome here.
  • Socks and tights
  • Long trousers
  • Long sleeve tops
  • Short sleeve ones
  • Sweaters (woolen and lighter)
  • Winter coat if used to warm climates, mid-season waterproof jacket if used to cold weather.

Find our full packing list for Rome in the spring here

Dates of notice in Rome in April

April 2021 sees some important dates in Rome, worth taking note of as they can impact on your sightseeing plans as well as tours and accommodation opportunities and costs.

Most events fall during Easter week (Holy Week or Settimana Santa) which in 2020 culminates with Easter Sunday (12th April)

Holy Thursday 1st April: The Thursday before Easter is an important day for the Christian church and the many churches in Rome mark the occasion opening their doors until late in the day for a visit to the ‘sepolcri’ (sepulchers), the altars dressed up in purple draping to commemorate the passion of Jesus.

A visit to the ‘sepolcri’ is a religious ritual however, considering the beauty of many of Rome’s churches, many non religious locals and tourists also partake in it as a sightseeing opportunity.

Friday 2nd April: Holy Friday (Venerdi’ Santo): Rome sees important celebrations on the Holy Friday and the most important takes place near the Colosseum, where the Pope leads the via crucis.

It is important to know about this celebration not just if you want to participate but also for a very practical reason: the whole accessibility of the area changes during the via crucis and traffic is diverted, something you need to take into account especially if you happen to have accommodation in the area!

Sunday 4th April, Easter Sunday is a great celebration in Rome but most attractions and tourist sites are open on this day. You may, however, encounter reduced public transport hours so planning extra time o get anywhere is a must

Monday 5th April (Easter Monday, Lunedi’ di Pasquetta): this is a National holiday in Rome and, traditionally, a day for Romans to go on day trips. If you join them just be aware that traffic back into the city can be intense: opt for the train if you can

21st April, Natale di Roma, Rome’s birthday: the 21st of April is the day when Rome celebrates its birthday, usually with events across the city and free access to its civic museums. You can read all about Rome’s birthday here.

The best things to do in Rome in April

The best things to see in Rome in April are a mix of sightseeing, shopping and food experiences.

Visit the Colosseum

The Colosseum is fantastic to visit in April.

At this time, the days are likely to be mild and the view over the forum, under Rome’s bright sky, stunning.

However, this is an exceptionally busy time for visiting the Colosseum and advance booking (i.e.months in advance or at least weeks) is paramount.

The best tickets for visiting the Colosseum are here (this is the Colosseum official concession). Should it be sold out, check out alternatives here

Take a stroll in the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

April is also a good time to visit the Roman Forum and Palatine hill.

The main area of the Forum is lovely at this time, devoted of the cold temperatures of the winter and the scorching heat of the summer, and you truly feel like you are strolling in Ancient Rome, just like a local would have done, with the temples and the columns all around you.

Up on the Palatine, April brings lovely blossoms and green lawns, that are the perfect framing and backdrop for the Palace of Emperors’ impressive ruins, and the bright spring air is perfect to catch a view over the Circus Maximus just below.

Visit the Vatican Museums and Vatican City

April can be a wonderful time for a visit to the Vatican City and the Sistine chapel but do be aware that, should you get here during Easter week, the crowds will be almost unbearable.

Make sure you get tickets in advance and read up all our tips for visiting the Vatican to avoid the worst of the congestion.

In April, it is also worth visiting the beautiful Vatican Gardens: the gardens are at the back of St Peter’s basilica and are wonderful in spring, when the flowers come back to life with blossoms and fragrances. You can read how to book the Vatican Gardens and tips for visiting here.

Top tip! From April to October, the Vatican museums have special evening opening hours on selected Fridays that see a fraction of the visitors you get in the morning/ afternoon. Check the official museum website for details.

Visit Caracalla’s Baths

The Baths of Caracalla are a huge thermal complex dating back to the III century AD and a wonderful Rome landmark to visit in the spring.

The baths are an outdoor attraction and they are stunning in April when the dark green of fantastic pine trees of this area is complemented by the violet hues of wisteria.

Not to be missed – you can find our guide to Caracalla’s Baths here.

See the cherry blossoms

This may come as a surprise to many, but Rome in April is one of the best places in Italy to admire cherry blossoms!

There are 4 main places in Rome where to savour a little bit of Japan in the Eternal city and they are perfect for all types of visitors.

Families with kids or anyone looking for a lovely park for a picnic can head to the Eur Laghetto (park), plant lovers can head to the beautiful Botanical Gardens of Rome that also has areas devoted to other species worth seeing and those who are good at advance planning should not miss the garden of Rome’s Japanese Cultural Institute.

You can find our guide to seeing cherry blossoms in Rome here.

Explore Rome’s main piazzas and hidden gems

The spring is a glorious time to visit Rome’s famous piazzas.

I highly recommend you go and visit the most famous ones such as Piazza Navona, Piazza del PantheonCampo de’ fiori, the Trevi fountain, but also allow yourself to wander off the beaten track and explore hidden gems and areas a little off the beaten track (one of my favourites is Quartiere Coppede’).

April is the month when the Spanish Steps get decorated with flowers: a lovely time to see this wonderful monumental staircase!

Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps), Rome, in spring

Go to the park

Rome has beautiful parks and there is no time like the spring to enjoy them.

For grand and beautiful choose Villa Borghese (here you have the famous Borghese Gallery but also the small Rome zoo, a pond and playgrounds for kids) or get off the beaten path.

Some lovely green areas I love and don’t usually feature on visitors’ maps are Villa Torlonia, a nice park with interesting architecture and exhibition spaces as well as a children museum) and Rome’s botanical gardens, hidden in plain site in one of the most charming streets of Trastevere.

You can find a list of some of our favorite gardens and parks in Rome here.

Visit Rome’s protestant cemetery

one of teh most beautiful places to visit in Rome in April is the non-catholic cemetery of Rome or the protestant cemetery as it is also called.

the cemetery is a small, very pretty monumental graveyard tucked away behind Rome’s Pyramid (itself worth seeing) and it is a delightful place in spring.

Here, you find beautiful sepulchral monuments surrounded by luscious greenery, trees and pretty wisteria branches framing the graves, among others, of Gramsci, Camilleri, Keats and Shelley.

read my guide to the protestant cemetery of Rome here.

angel of grief sculpture at Rome non catholic cemetery

Catch a spring sunset

April’s spring temperature make staying out in the evening to admire the sunset in Rome is a real pleasure however, you need to know where to go!

While Rome bathed in the orange light of the setting sun is stunning anywhere, there are some areas where the eternal city turns truly magical at this time. Find out where to see the sunset in Rome in our local guide.

Sunset in Rome from Piazza del Quirinale

Go to the opera or a concert

Rome has a good opera and ballet program.

Music lovers should also check out the program at Auditorium Parco della Musica, a wonderful music venue in the eternal city

Go shopping

April is the time when Rome windows dress up in spring clothing. If you are in the mood for a shopping spree, make sure you take the time to go visit Rome’s main shopping streets to catch the new trends as soon as they are out.

Take a food tour

A food tour in spring can be a lovely way to mix sightseeing and food discoveries.

These are food tours worth considering:

In Rome in April, the traditional Rome food in season that you are likely to try is:

In this season I recommend:

  • Carbonara, Gricia, Amatriciana pasta: a must all times of the year, these are perfect for an Easter buffet!
  • Abbacchio scottadito (lamb cutlets), a traditional Easter dish
  • Pizza Pasqualina, an Easter specialty that no! It is not pizza but rather a vegetable and egg pie
  • Seasonal vegetables, asparagus and chicory in particular
  • Suppli, fried balls of rice with a melting mozzarella heart
  • Eggs, real and chocolate to celebrate Easter
  • Colomba, a typical Easter cake with almond crust

Go to an exhibition

Rome has many exhibitions going on at any given time and April is a great time for museum going, especially in the case of inclement weather.

You can find here an up to date calendar of Rome events in April

Go church hopping

Visiting churches is one of the best things to do in Rome any time of the year but it becomes exceptionally pleasurable (and handy!) in case of random rain showers

Some I love and recommend seeking out are Santa Prassede (mosaics), San Luigi dei Francesi (Caravaggio), Santa Maria della Vittoria (Bernini), San Pietro in Vincoli (Michelangelo’s Moses) and Santa Sabina but really: when you see a church in Rome, peek in as chances are it is worth a stop!

Churches are one of the best free things to see in Rome!

As mentioned above, before Easter Rome churches do dress up their chapels with purple drapes, in preparation for Easter.

Visitors are welcome however, do keep in mind that this is a special time for the Christian church and so extra attention to your attire and celebrations that may be taking place in the church is a must.

Go on a day trip

April is a wonderful time to go on day trips around Lazio, the region of Rome. Some of my favorite this time of the year are to the lakes (Bracciano, Martignano) or to the thermal springs of Saturnia, in Southern Tuscany, which you can reach by car.

If you prefer not to drive, there are several good day trips you can take from Rome by train. Some I particularly recommend are Orvieto (hilltop town with a stunning duomo and gorgeous medieval streets), Sperlonga (whitewashed coastal town) and Gaeta – these last two have glorious sandy beaches and make a wonderful destination for a day by the sea.

You can find our best suggestions for day trips from Rome here

April in Rome with kids

These are my favorite things to do in Rome with children in April.

Go to Explora

Explora is Rome’s children museum and probably my kids’ favourite place in Rome bar none.

In April, this is an exceptionally handy place to know for a rainy day or any time the weather doesn’t seem suitable for extended hours in the park

Eat chocolate eggs

Rome hasn’t got huge Easter traditions when it comes to kids (we don’t traditionally do Easter egg hunts for instance) except for one: Easter for kids is all about chocolate eggs!

You can find them everywhere in the city, in many different sizes and at different price points. You can buy them in any supermarket or gourmet shops, the price and quality varying accordingly.

Take an art class

Indoor activities can be a lifesaver in Rome on the odd rainy day and one we adored was an art class we took with the wonderful people of Arte al Sole.

The one we chose was a mosaic making class which was perfect for crafty kids. It is also close to the city’s botanical gardens which are lovely at this time (young kids go free)

Take a pizza-making class

For a hands-on experience in typical Rome surroundings, I recommend a pizza class. Our family took a lovely one a few years ago and we had a blast: the  pizza class for families  was followed by tucking into our own creation and it was a fun way to spend a morning together and have lunch out + learn a new hands on skill!

You can find many more of our recommendations on great family tours in Rome here

I hope you enjoyed this post and it helped you plan your spring trip to Rome. Safe travels!

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