Celebrate Spring In Rome Like A Local

This article originally appeared in Forbes Travel on April 21, 2017.

There is nothing quite like springtime in Rome. Once the days begin to warm up, all life moves outdoors. By mid-April, the Eternal City shines with festivals and events honoring Rome’s traditions, both old and new.

From the historic center to the Olympic Stadium, piazzas, cultural centers and more host interactive exhibitions and performances that represent multifaceted Roman culture. With so much culinary and cultural merriment, you’re guaranteed to have a good time.

Late April
Warm-weather festivities kick off with Natale di Roma, the three-day celebration of the city’s 2,770th birthday from April 21 to 23. Experience Rome like never before as the Circus Maximum becomes a playground once again for emperors and legionnaires in a series of re-enactments, including epic battles, gladiator fights and lessons in Roman culture through cuisine and craft.

On April 23, the historic center steps back in time as Piazza Venezia becomes center stage for Gruppo Storico Romanos triumphant march down Via dei Fori Imperiali, where more than 2,000 re-enactors from the Roman Empire will meet for a grand display of regal pageantry.

Take a break from that action with a journey to the secluded Roseto Comunale, the city’s rose garden, which opens its doors for its annual rose show on April 21. The free garden party, which stays in bloom until June 18, brings together more than 1,000 variations of roses from around the world.

For something a little more modern, head to Testaccio’s Città dell’Altra Economia on April 22 and 23 for ReVision’s World Wide Wall, a combination free exhibition, marketplace and hangout where more than 100 street artists will showcase their finest pieces.

Still, the most delicious way to welcome warm weather may be with a spoon in your hand. The Festival del Gelato, a three-day tasting celebration bringing together Italy’s best gelato makers, takes over the Pincian Hill from April 29 through May 1.

The month starts off electric as Villa Medici presents the Yoko Ono and Claire Tabouret show “One Day I Broke the Mirror,” a multi-sensorial contemporary art exhibition that invades the palaces and gardens of the historic Renaissance villa from May 5 to July 2.

From May 10 through 21, Rome serves up the Internazionali BNL d’Italia tennis tournament. The Italian Open (as it’s more commonly referred) is where you’ll find Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Venus Williams battling it out inside the Olympic Stadium courts while the surrounding grounds come alive with pop-up restaurants, tennis clinics and exhibition games.

Tickets can be purchased at entry, but because the venues are relatively small, it’s best to score good seats in advance.

Looking for a great brew to go with those backhands? Head to Testaccio. From May 18 to 21, Città dell’Altra Economica will host craft pours and street food at the Spring Beer Festival. Expect more than 40 Italian and international breweries to be represented.

Get back in the saddle from May 25 to 28 at Piazza di Siena, Rome’s annual equestrian exhibition in Villa Borghese. The four-day event is highlighted by an international show-jumping competition and ends with the mounted Carabinieri display, a regal parade of Italy’s mounted military police.

End the month on a high note at Rome’s three-day electronic music festival, Spring Attitude. The undulating MAXXI Museum will host the annual avant-garde experience, where acts like Nathan Fake and Princess Nokia will perform, from May 27 to 29.