From blooming flowers to frenetic festivals, Italy really starts to come into its own in the spring. With the hills ablaze with wildflowers and the cities alive with countless celebrations, we explore the sights and sounds that make visiting Italy in spring quite so appealing.
Spring always puts a spring in people’s step and it’s no different in Italy, where locals typically spend the last weeks of winter preparing new interiors, menus and activities for the upcoming season. So visit in Spring if you like your service, atmosphere and conversation bright and bouncy.
If, like Goldilocks, you can’t bear things too hot or cold, Italy’s springtime weather – usually mild and sunny with clouds – should be just right. Not that one should get too complacent – the saying ‘Aprile non ti scoprire’ (it’s April, don’t get undressed yet) exists for a reason!
As the sun becomes a more regular feature, the very Italian institution of ‘riposo’ (rest) comes into its own. Basically, a siesta, Italians use it to add an extra hour on to their lunchbreaks, putting everybody in a more relaxed mood – including visitors!
What do you get when you mix passeggiata (an afternoon stroll) with the consumption of gelato? The portmanteau ‘passeggelato‘ of course! Grab a cone of frozen heaven, put your best shoes on and saunter down the main thoroughfare for the true Italian experience.
The cultural programmes at Italy’s museums, gardens and historical sites get into full-swing in March, meaning visitors can appreciate all the incredible exhibitions and spectacles that summer visitors will enjoy – without any of the crowds.
Not only does Italy burst into a flurry of colours come springtime, but many of the gardens in its major cities open their gates as well. Examples include Florence’s Iris Garden (off the Piazzale Michelangelo) or Rome’s Rose Garden (near the Circus Maximus).
National holidays in the spring include La Pasquetta (Easter Monday), Liberation Day (25 April) and Labour Day (1 May). Easter is considered especially important, with religious parades thronging the streets, and Easter pies (as well as lamb and eggs), hitting the menus, too. Perhaps the most unusual event at this time is held outside Florence’s Duomo, where during the Scoppio del Caro, a cart full of fireworks is exploded!
Everybody remembers to love the women in their lives come Festa della Donna on 8 March; while Romans commemorate Caesar’s death a week later. Father’s Day (named after Mary’s husband Joseph in Italy) is a big event too. But really dominating the calendar is the Festa della Primavera, a national spring festival that usually falls around the same time as Rome’s marathon.
Lurking among the pageantry of flower fairs, wine markets and historical enactments are several vegetables that receive more than their fair share of limelight when April swings around. Especially loved are the carciofi (artichokes) and asparagi (asparagus), which even have their own festivals near Rome and Verona.
Visit some of these springtime festivals, gardens and spectacles by booking a place on one of Trafalgar’s Italy trips.
Image Credits: Amalfi Coast © iStock/bhidethescene. Scala di Santa Maria del Monte © iStock/Spooh. Entrance to Vatican Museum © iStock/gianliguori. Procession in Tarquinia © iStock/pacaypalla. Carciofi Alla Giudea © iStock/JurgaR.