April is a busy month of festivals in Rome. It's an especially good time to visit the Eternal City because the weather is pleasant–not too hot and not too cold–and high season crowds (other than at Easter week) haven't reached their peak. Because some of these events are unique to Rome, it's also a good time to see Roman residents out and about and enjoying their city.
Here are the festivals and events that happen each April in Rome.
April 1 is known as Pesce d'aprile, or April fish, and celebrated like in the US with practical jokes.
Early April (or sometimes late March) - Holy Week and Easter. Holy Week is one of the busiest times of the year to visit Rome and the Vatican City, but for good reason. Starting with Palm Sunday mass led by the Pope in Saint Peter's Square, to the moving Via Crucis procession and Good Friday services in the Colosseum, and finally, Easter Sunday Mass in Saint Peter's Square, Easter Week in Rome and Vatican City is unforgettable. 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.
In Rome, the day ends with a big fireworks display over the Tiber River.
Early April - Festa della Primavera. Spring is a beautiful time to be in the city. Festa della Primavera, or the festival of spring, sees the Spanish Steps decorated with hundreds of pots of bright pink azaleas. Concerts are also held at Trinita dei Monti during the festival.
Mid April - Settimana della Cultura, Week of Culture. National museums and archaeological sites have free admission and some sites not normally open to the public may be open. Some museums in Rome that participate include the Capitoline Museums and the National Roman Museum, among many others. The week often happens in April, but check the Turismo Roma website for definitive dates as it is sometimes canceled.
April 21 - The Founding of Rome (Rome's Birthday). The celebration of Rome's birthday is typically held the weekend that falls closest to April 21. Rome is said to have been founded by the twins Romulus and Remus in 753 BC. Special events, including concerts, a parade, and historical re-enactments are held at the Circus Maximus, the large field where chariot races were once held. Fireworks and gladiatorial displays at the Colosseum are also part of the festivities.
April 25 - Liberation Day. A somber day of celebration, Liberation Day marks the day that Rome and the rest of Italy were liberated at the end of World War II on April 25, 1945. Commemorative ceremonies are held at the Quirinale Palace among other state venues in the city.
Since the May 1 holiday of Labor Day falls less than a week later, Italians often take a ponte, or bridge, to have an extended vacation from April 25 through May 1.
Therefore, this period can be very crowded in top tourist destinations. If you're planning to visit any museums or top sites, it's a good idea to check to be sure they are open (some close on May 1) and buy your tickets in advance.
Continue Reading: Rome in May
Editor's Note: This article has been edited and updated by Martha Bakerjian