Italy in April – The Best Things to See & Do
Italy hardly has a shoulder season any more, but April happens to be it. While the weather isn’t always cooperative or predictable there are typically more sunny days than there are rainy days. Spring can be a fantastic time to visit Italy, especially because there are so many exciting festivals and events. April is when most of the locals begin to shed their winter coats and celebrate the colors of spring. Are you considering traveling to Italy in April? Here are some of the best things to see and do during this colorful, spring month.
ITALY WEATHER IN APRIL
The weather in April can be quite unpredictable, which can cause a lot of frustration for travelers who aren’t sure what to pack or what to wear. If you want to get a handle on the spring weather patterns, it’s best to pack layers as well as waterproof gear. Choose shoes that can withstand some rain as well as a raincoat and an umbrella. If you’re visiting northern Italy, expect cooler and more rainy weather than in the southern region. However, more times than not, the weather up north will be sunny too. Sure, some days you may find yourself wearing a rain jacket and sunglasses all in the same day, but that can be part of the fun. Just travel with your rain gear so you’re always prepared. Temperatures in Italy during April are on average:
- Northern Italy: 5-16°C
- Central Italy: 10-18°C
- Southern Italy: 13-18°C
FESTIVALS/EVENTS IN ITALY IN APRIL
April 21st is Rome’s birthday and locals celebrate its founding back in 753 BC. Since Rome is such an important, Italian city, it’s no wonder that these celebrations are absolutely massive. Visitors can see concerts, special events, festivals, and parades happening all day long. It’s like the entire city comes alive with proud locals and tourists who are just trying to join in on the fun. Make sure to check out the gladiator battles near the Roman forum and the fireworks above the Tiber River.
This is one of Italy’s largest celebrations and it usually happens during the month of April. Festivities will take place a week before Easter and run through Easter Monday. This is a countrywide celebration so you’ll be able to find celebrations happening no matter where you are in Italy. One of the top events is the Catholic mass at St. Peter’s Basilica so make sure to stop by if you happen to be visiting Rome. Most churches around the country will have Easter mass so don’t worry if you’re not near Vatican City. Easter morning in Florence is a great place to be as you can witness the explosion of the cart, a cart full of fireworks that is set off in order to celebrate. The Florence Duomo is the launching ground for dove-shaped rockets on Easter morning too. Don’t forget about Easter Monday, which is very popular around Italy. You’ll see local families spending quality time together while listening to live music, playing competitive games, and having events like egg races.
Festival of San Marco
This festival is held in Venice each year and celebrate the patron saint of the city. Most of the events are held in St. Mark’s Square on April 25th. It’s tradition to give people roses so expect to see a lot of flowers if you’re in Venice on this day. Visitors will also be treated to musical performances as well as a traditional parade.
Sagre, Food Festivals
If you’re a foodie, visiting Italy in April is a must. Springtime is also when the harvest happens so local farmers will be selling their goods for the rest of the year. There are festivals taking place all around the country, especially centered around asparagus and artichokes, which are most popular in April. Check out the artichoke festival in Ladispoli, a town near Rome, as well as the festival in Verona which is dedicated to the white asparagus.
Palio della Rana
This event takes place in Fermignano. It’s a well-known frog race that typically takes place after Easter. Visitors will see locals dressed in costumes as they put their frogs on top of a wheelbarrow and race to the finish line. Since the frogs are likely to hop away, the winner is the person who was able to keep them on their cart. There’s a historical parade too! It’s all a bit strange but it’s tradition and certainly worth watching if you’re around.
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN ITALY IN APRIL
Rome is a great place to visit in April since there are less crowds than during the summer. Since April weather can be unpredictable at times, Rome is a great option because there are so many indoor activities and museums. If it rains, you won’t have to worry about losing an entire day of your trip. Rome will keep you busy for your entire trip but if you want to check out the highlights, the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain are great places to start. If museums are more your thing, check out the Galleria Borghese, which is a private collection of beautiful artworks. There’s the National Etruscan Museum of Rome, The Museum of Rome, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, which are all great choices if you love history. If you do run into a lot of rain, head to Vatican City where you can spend hours upon hours wandering the museums. You’ll find thousands of artifacts and pieces of artwork that the Pope has collected over the years. Don’t forget to see the highlights like the sculpture galleries, the Sistine Chapel, and the Gallery of Maps.
If you love nature, and the weather is cooperating, visiting the Dolomites should definitely make your itinerary. This area of Italy comes alive with color as the flowers bloom and trees become more lush. It’s a fantastic spot for hiking and taking nature walks. Photographers will love this place too!
Venice is full of enthusiasm and excitement during the spring as the locals are in high spirits celebrating the warmer months. Take some time to wander the cobblestone streets and back alleys of Venice as you discover hidden shops and quaint cafes. Spend some time sipping a cappuccino while you watch the world go by. If the weather is in your favor, hop on a gondola ride and have the quintessential Venice experience from the water. Grab a gelato and watch the boats speed by in the Grand Canal, or wander around Piazza San Marco and people watch. Wander in and out of small art galleries, catch a Venetian glass blowing demonstration, or enjoy the delicious seafood at a restaurant overlooking the canals.
The Countryside in Umbria
If you want to spend time outside, make sure to visit Umbria, which is one of the most green and lush places in Italy. The spring rains brings with it beautiful foliage and flowers that make this region a stunning place to see. Umbria is sprinkled with medieval, hilltop towns so it’s best to rent a car and take your time exploring them. You’ll be met with incredible views, picture perfect scenes, and a vibrant atmosphere.
History fans will love spending an afternoon at Pompeii. It’s an open-air museum that tells the story of the 79 AD eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. You can see the remains of the city that was destroyed, as well as the bodies that were preserved in volcanic ash. It’s a bit touristy but well worth it for the unique experience and history lesson.
Florence is packed to the brim with culture and art so you’ll have plenty of museums to explore if the spring rains won’t let up. This city has a whole lot to offer between cosy wine bars, Renaissance-style architecture, boutique shopping, and historic sites. If you want to spend some time in the museums, start at the Uffizi Gallery, where you can see the statue of David by Michelangelo. Then head to the Museo Galileo, the National Archeological Museum, and the Galleria dell’ Accademia. Wander the streets and make sure to take a peek at the Duomo, historic buildings, and the main town squares. The foodie scene in Florence is prime so make sure to grab a pizza and gelato.
If you love architecture and high fashion, Milan will be a dream. This financial hub was once ruled by Napoleon and Caesar, and is now a hotspot for Italian fashion. If you have some money to spend and enjoy life’s finer things, you should hit the streets and go on a shopping spree. While you’re in Milan, spend some time seeing the cathedral, The Last Supper, and the shopping opportunities at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Don’t forget to bring your camera because the architecture and street fashion is something you’ll want to capture.
Tuscany is one of the most beautiful regions of Italy. The countryside here looks just like a postcard, with rolling hills, vineyards, and olive groves. Explore the Chianti wine trail to taste some of the country’s best wine and tour the vineyards. Rent a bicycle and wander around the wineries, vineyards, small villages, and rural roads. You can take a cooking class, visit the historic hilltop towns, and learn all about art and history. Make sure to explore the city of Siena, visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and go on a wine tasting tour.
The Amalfi Coast is beautiful no matter when you visit, but especially in spring. Expect lots of fresh growth, greenery, and colorful flowers all over the region. The breathtaking cliffs drop off into the ocean, and fishing villages are scattered around the landscape. There are scenic hikes, lovely beaches, and a variety of restaurants offering fresh seafood. Take a cruise along the coast, visit Capri island, and spend some time watching the sunset with a cocktail in hand. If you rent a car, the Amalfi Coast is a great place to take a roadtrip.
This World UNESCO Heritage Site is a long region of coastline made up of five villages. The best way to explore it is to rent a car and take a road trip in your own time. You’ll have the freedom to stop off at overlooks, snap photos of the views, or wander around the quaint fishing villages along the way. Stop off to try the fresh seafood in the local-owned restaurants, or hop onto one of the hiking trails for even better views and photos. Try a boat tour, a cooking class, or a visit to Cinque Terre National Park.
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and is a great place to visit if you love outdoor activities and beautiful views. April is a great month to explore the landscape here because it’s not too hot and humid to be outdoors. Make sure to spend some time visiting the Valley of the Temples, which is a World Heritage Site. Take a hike up Mt. Etna, and view the mosaics inside the Villa Romana del Casale.
If you love pizza, and want to try some of the best in Italy, make the trip to Naples. It’s one of Italy’s largest cities and is considered the birthplace of pizza. What better way to wait out the rain than in a pizzeria? Make sure to check out the town center which is considered a World UNESCO Heritage Site, as well as the castles, palaces, artwork, and architecture that is all over the city. If you’re visiting Naples, make sure to visit the ruins of Herculaneum, see the underground sites, eat street food, and climb Mt. Vesuvius.
Visiting Italy in April is a fantastic idea! The crowds will be fewer, the prices are often cheaper, and the country will be alive with the colors of spring. Take your time, explore the natural scenery and learn all about the history and culture along the way.
Why not take a look at our other monthly guides for Italy created to help you get the most from your next vacation:
- The best things to see and do in Italy in January
- The best things to see and do in Italy in February
- The best things to see and do in Italy in March
- The best things to see and do in Italy in May
- The best things to see and do in Italy in June
- The best things to see and do in Italy in July
- The best things to see and do in Italy in August
- The best things to see and do in Italy in September
- The best things to see and do in Italy in October
- The best things to see and do in Italy in November
- The best things to see and do in Italy in December