Spring In Italy comes early to the cities and towns from Rome and further south. As early as February you can see the almond blossoms on the tress in bloom in the island of Sicily.
Spring in Italy is a fantastic time to visit. You can beat the crowds and the heat of the summer high season, and miss the gray and cold of the (short) winter months. The festivals and events that you will experience during spring in Italy are more than just Easter celebrations in Rome.
March 8 is International Women’s Day. In Italy this day is called Festa della Donna and is celebrated with gifts of sprigs of bright yellow mimosa flowers and often a night out with your girlfriends. Many museums throughout Italy are free of charge for female visitors.
The weekend of March 23-24, 2013 is the Open Monuments Days presneted by FAI, the Italian National Trust. Sites all across Italy that are normally closed to the public are opened for one weekend only.
March 19 is the feast of San Guiseppe, known in English as St. Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary. This is the day that Italians celebrate father’s day. Another festa di San Guiseppe tradition are pastries known as zeppole, sfinge or bigné depending on what part f the country you are visiting. They are made with flour, milk, butter, egg and lemon rind, are deep fried. They are then are filled with a pastry cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Easter, known as Pasqua in Italian usually falls in April. This year, 2013, it is Easter Monday, Pasquetta, that falls on April 1. Ceremonies and religious processions are held in every Italian city and town. Good Friday through to Easter Monday are public holidays.
The eternal city celebrates her birthday on April 21. The day is filled with parades of gladiators and Roman legion soldiers and ends with a concert and light show with fireworks near the colosseum.
Saint Mark, San Marco, is the patron saint of Venice. on April 25 there is a festival in Saint Mark’s Square that includes a procession to the grand basilica. On this day in Venice it is tradition to give a rose to your loved one.
May Day which is on May 1, is a public holiday all over Italy that is celebrated as the day of the worker.
In the Umbrian town of Assisi the Calendimaggio is celebrated in early May. The towns two districts – the upper and lower sections compete with each other with concerts, dances, processions, and archery and crossbow contests all in historic dress.
The Giro d’Italia is Italy’s big bike race is held in early May and lasts most of the month. For 2013 it is scheduled for May 4-26 and will cover over 3,000 kilometers starting from the city of Naples and after a few days in the Dolomite mountains finishing in Brescia.
The first Thursday in May in Cocullo in Abruzzo is the Snake Handlers’ Procession. A statue of St. Dominic, the town’s patron saint, is carried through town covered with live serpents.
Spring in Italy – Gardens, beaches and Delicious Food
One of Tour Italy Now’s favorite things to do in spring is to visit the many gardens that are awakening with burst of green and color.
The gardens of Ninfa near Rome are a located in an abandoned medieval town.
Take a break from your city touring with a picnic in the park. In Rome head to the Villa Borghese, In Florence you have the 16th century Boboli Gardens and in Venice, the Napoleonic Gardens, in the district of Castello.
From almost anywhere you are in Italy, you are not far from the sea. Do as the Italians do and head to the beach for a weekend lunch in the spring sunshine.
With spring’s warmer temperatures, seasonal foods that you will see in the markets and on menus are artichokes (carciofi), asparagus (asparagi), and lamb (agnello). Mae sure to ask our waiter what he suggest for the day, there is often a seasonal specialty that is not listed on the menu.
Things to pack for a trip to Italy in the spring
Allergy medication. With so many trees and flowers in bloom, if you suffer from allergies , make sure you bring your medication along with you.
With the capricious spring weather it is always a good idea to have an umbrella, and raincoat with you. A light scarf and sweaters are also a good idea so you can dress in layers for maximum flexibility and comfort.
Marzo è pazzo
The Italians have a saying – “Marzo è pazzo”. March is crazy. The weather can be unpredictable in March and early April with almost summer like temperatures and sheets of cold rain in the same day. It is good to have a rainy day plan.
We like to duck into a cozy cafe and linger over a cup of coffee or plan for a day inside visiting museums.