While we think anytime is a great time to visit Italy, April is a popular month for a few reasons—the weather is mild and crowds are generally manageable. Plus, there are several colorful, interesting, and unique festivals across the country. Here are some of the most popular national, regional, and local festivals in Italy in April.
Easter, Pasqua, often falls in April. Italian Easter week celebrations start during the week before Easter and continue through Easter Monday, La Pasquetta, a national holiday and a day where you may find some very interesting festivals. One of Easter's most unusual events is the Scoppio del Carro, or Explosion of the Cart, in front of the Duomo in Florence.
April 1: Pesce d'aprile
April 1 is known as Pesce d'aprile, or "April fish." It's celebrated like April Fool's Day in the US, with practical jokes and pranks, often with elaborate set-ups.
Palio della Rana
This frog race, usually takes place the weekend after Easter in the town of Fermignano, between Urbino and Urbania in central Italy's Marche region. Contestants, representing each of the seven contrade or neighborhoods, dress in historic costume and race with frogs atop small wheelbarrows trying to reach the finish line before the frog hops off. There's also a procession in historical costume.
Il Giuramento di Pontida
In early April, there is a historical re-enactment at Pontida of the alliance between the Lombard cities of Bergamo, Brescia, Mantova, and Cremona against Federico Barbarossa on April 7, 1167. The town of Pontida is 16 km from Bergamo.
April 21: Rome's Birthday
The date of Rome's founding (in 753BC) is celebrated on April 21 so if you're in Rome, watch for festivals, concerts, and special events. There's usually a fireworks display over the Tiber River and gladiator shows around the forum area.
April 23: Saint George's Day
In Caresana in the Piedmont region, Saint George's Day on April 23 is celebrated with the Palio dei Buoi, a parade of floats pulled by oxen. Saint George is the patron saint of farm workers.
April 25: Liberation Day
April 25: Festival of San Marco
Saint Mark, San Marco, is the patron saint of Venice and there is a festival in Saint Mark's Square on April 25, including a procession to the basilica. On this day in Venice, you should give a rose to your loved one.
April 28: San Biagio Day
San Biagio, the patron saint of Avetrana in southern Puglia, is celebrated with a 2-day festival including bands, food, a street fair, and a religious procession.
Narni: The Race of the Ring
The Corsa all'anello in Narni in the Umbria region is part of the celebrations held the last week of April. During this medieval jousting competition, three horsemen try to snare rings. There are also a historical procession and other events.
Sagre, or food festivals
Look for the word sagra, which means a food festival that most often celebrates a locally grown (or raised or hunted) product. Spring is a great time to find sagre dedicated to artichokes (carciofi) and asparagus (asparagi) in many parts of the country. One of the best artichoke festivals is in Ladispoli near Rome during the second weekend of April. The famous white asparagus of Bassano del Grappa in the Verona province gets a week of events starting at the end of April. The Sagra dei Garagoj, dialect for the name of a local fish, takes place the last week of April in Marotta di Monodolfo in the Marche region.
Updated from an article originally written by Martha Bakerjian.