April is a busy month of festivals and holidays in Rome. It's an especially good time to visit the Eternal City because the weather is pleasant—not too hot or too cold—and high season crowds (other than at Easter week) haven't reached their peak. Because some of these events are unique to the capital, it's also a great time to see Roman residents out and about enjoying their city.
Learn about the various interesting festivals and events that happen each April in Rome.
Holy Week and Easter
Though it can fall in either March or April, Holy Week is one of the busiest times of the year to visit Rome and Vatican City, but for good reason. In 2020, Holy Week runs from April 5–11. Easter Week in Rome and Vatican City is unforgettable, starting with a Palm Sunday mass led by the pope in Saint Peter's Square, then the moving Via Crucis (the way of the cross) procession and Good Friday services in the Colosseum. Finally, Easter Sunday Mass takes place in Saint Peter's Square. Because this is such a popular time, it is considered high season in Rome. Be sure to book your hotel in advance if you're visiting during this period, especially if you want to stay near the Vatican.
There are several pre- and post-Easter traditions in Italy. La Pasquetta (the day after Easter, falling on April 13 in 2020) is also a national holiday, often celebrated by a trip out of the city or with a picnic. In Rome, the day ends with a big fireworks display over the Tiber River.
Festa della Primavera
Spring is a beautiful time to be in Rome. Festa della Primavera, or the festival of spring, starts in late March—sometimes around the date of Saint Joseph's Day on March 19—but can also fall in April. The event typically features regional foods and a chance to see the Spanish Steps decorated with hundreds of pots of colorful azaleas. Concerts are also held at Trinita dei Monti during the festival.
The celebration of the Natale di Roma, or Rome's birthday, is taking place on April 21, 2020. On this date in 753 BCE, Rome is said to have been founded by Romulus. Special events, including concerts, a parade, and historical re-enactments are held at the Circus Maximus, the large field where chariot races once occurred. Fireworks and gladiatorial displays at the Colosseum are also part of the festivities.
April 25 is Liberation Day, a somber moment of celebration marking when Rome and the rest of Italy were liberated at the end of World War II on April 25, 1945. Ceremonies are held at the Quirinale Palace among other state venues in the city. The Italian president also visits a commemoration at the Ardeatine Caves Mausoleum—a National Monument where the Nazis killed more than 300 Romans in 1944.
Since the May 1 holiday of Labor Day falls less than a week later, Italians often take a ponte (bridge) to have an extended vacation from April 25 through May 1, so this can be a crowded time at popular tourist destinations. If you're planning to visit any museums or top sites, check to be sure they are open (some close on May 1) and buy your tickets in advance.
The annual Marathona di Roma takes place the last weekend in March or the first weekend in April. It's a chance for runners to take in the sights of Rome on a 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) course that winds past all of the city's most important monuments. As many streets are shut down to traffic during the marathon, visitors also get a break from vehicle traffic and have the opportunity to cheer on runners.