What’s happening in Rome this April? After touring the Colosseum, Vatican and Rome’s hidden gems, there is plenty to do in Rome on your own this month. Read on for my list of events and holidays, art openings, free museum days and ongoing special exhibitions throughout the eternal city.
1 April – Free Museum Day
The first Sunday of every month is free museum day! I’d suggest skipping the big attractions like the Colosseum or you’ll just end up in long lines. Try going to other state museums that are open such as the Borghese Gallery (booking required), Massimo and the Baths of Diocletian near the train station or get out of town and visit Ostia Antica and Hadrien’s villa at Tivoli for free! Click here for the full list of what museums are included).
8-10 April – Artichoke Festival
Artichoke Season is here which means if you are in Rome in the month of April, you simply must order the roman artichoke or the fried “Jewish” artichoke at dinner… possibly at every meal.
If you’re here at just the right time you can really indulge in artichoke madness by going to the Artichoke Festivan in the town of Ladispoli. Get a train ticket online or at the station. It costs €3.60 and the train ride lasts about 40 minutes.
10 April – Rome Marathon
The Rome Marathon has to be one of the most stunning in the world as it passes by Rome’s most beautiful highlights. The collective excitement in the city is palpable – I’ll be cheering from the sidelines!
14 April – Storytelling Event
This has become one of my favorite events in Rome and if you are in the city on the 14th, don’t miss it! Hosted by the owners of the charming Beehive Hostel & caffe near Termini station, this is a storytelling event for locals that is casual, communal, and downright entertaining. You can either tell a story yourself or simply drop in to hear others tell their stories based on a theme like “life or death,” “the one who got away,” “family secrets” etc. Stories range from touching to laugh out loud funny. Meet locals and other travelers or just sit back and enjoy some good old fashioned storytelling. Click here for the Facebook page.
21 April – Happy Birthday Rome (Natale di Roma) and free museums again!
On this day in 753 bc, Rome was founded 2, 771 years ago by some abandoned twins raised by a wolf… more on that later. Rome’s state museums are also free just like on April 1st.
22 April – Rome’s epic birthday parade
Starting at 11:15 from Circus Maximus, this parade of historical figures (we’re talking gladiators, vestal virgins, and the like) will pass by the Colosseum, have a blessing for those participating on the Via dei Fori Imperiali, march through the city and return to the Circus Maximus.
Go to the site and scroll down for the official map of their route
25 April – Liberation Day (Festa della Liberazione)
This public holiday celebrates the end of the Nazi occupation of Italy in WWII and the end of Mussolini’s Fascist dictatorship in 1945. Shops may be closed but most museums remain open and you can watch the parade from the Colosseum to Piramide in the morning.
21 April – 14 June – Opening of Rome’s Rose Garden
The Aventine Hill is the perfect place to enjoy spring weather and to get a break from traffic. The Rose Garden Hill is ONLY open from 21 April to 14 June (from 8:30 am-7:30 pm every day). After smelling the roses and enjoying the view over the Circus Maximus, head up further to the Orange Garden (and one of the best views over the city), the church of Santa Sabina, the Keyhole and then down the other side for delicious food in Testaccio.
21 April – 11 November – Evening Light Show in the Imperial Forums
It’s back! Every evening of the summer you can enjoy the “Journeys Through Ancient Rome” on the Via dei Fori Imperiali. Your headsets will narrate the life and times of Emperor Augustus with a light show reconstruction on the wall of the ancient Roman Forum in front of you. Then if you want the double feature, you’ll be led down into the forum itself and under the road to the life and times of Julius Caesar. For tickets and details click here.
See my list (with pictures) and links to official sites here.