Are you planning a trip to Rome in March? Make sure you come prepared for unpredictable weather and the beginning of the biggest crowds of the year.
March is more of a transition month both weather- and tourism-wise. Even though it’s when spring starts, it’s still a winter month so expect some cold weather alternated with sunny days.
Our article wants to be your go-to guide if you are planning to spend March in Rome so that you know what to expect, what are the best things to do, what foods you shouldn’t miss, and what to pack and wear.
Table of Contents
- 1 Weather in Rome in March
- 2 Is March a good time to go to Rome?
- 3 3 reasons to visit Rome in March
- 4 Is the Vatican busy in March?
- 5 Dates and events in Rome in March 2023
- 6 What to do in Rome in March
- 6.1 Enter the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill
- 6.2 Visit the Vatican Museums
- 6.3 Enter Saint Peter’s Basilica
- 6.4 Celebrate Women’s Day
- 6.5 Celebrate Father’s Day
- 6.6 Climb the Spanish Steps
- 6.7 Visit Piazza Navona
- 6.8 Take a day trip
- 6.9 Attend a religious celebration
- 6.10 Discover a new museum
- 6.11 Visit a local market
- 6.12 Take a stroll in the park
- 6.13 Take a cooking class
- 6.14 Join a food tour
- 6.15 Visit the Italian cheese fair
- 7 What to pack for Rome in March
- 8 What to wear in Rome in March
- 9 What to book ahead for March in Rome
- 10 What to eat in March in Rome
- 11 Where to eat in Rome in March
- 12 Where to stay in Rome in March
Weather in Rome in March
Is Rome warm in March? Is it rainy in Rome in March? In Italy, we have a saying: “Marzo pazzerello, guarda il sole e prendi l’ombrello”, meaning “March is a little crazy, look at the sun and take the umbrella”. This is pretty self-explaining and true to March in Rome and in Italy in general.
While the forecast gives an average of 7 days of rain in Rome in March, some years it can even be more and it can certainly be unexpected. In March, in fact, it’s not unusual to start the day nice and bright and end it with rain.
The average temperatures in March in Rome range between 17°C/62°F the highest more in the second half of the month, and 6°C/43°F the lowest at night and early morning.
Some days, maybe towards the end of the month, you might even find warmer temperatures, but only around midday between 1 and 3 pm and not even always.
Is March a good time to go to Rome?
March is a great time to visit Rome for many reasons. The days start getting longer and the light is very photography-friendly. The weather is becoming warmer, especially towards the end, and while it’s quite unpredictable, you will find many sunny days.
Temperatures won’t be very warm yet, which means taking long walks is very pleasant because you won’t be sweating like in July and August.
This is the month when spring starts and you will see flowers start blossoming on the trees, adding colors to the city. Adding to all that, the crowds are only starting and you can still find smaller lines and you can have a great experience visiting museums, archaeological sites, and popular landmarks.
3 reasons to visit Rome in March
- Sunny days. Even when it rains, in March it doesn’t last long. You can enjoy several sunny days in March in Rome and while it will still be cold, walking around will be a pleasure and your pictures of the landmarks will be great.
- Small crowds. The highest tourist season hasn’t fully kicked in yet so the crowds are not overwhelming and definitely less than what you will find in Rome in April. While landmarks won’t be as crowd-free as in January, there will be a few tourists so your visit will still be pleasant.
- Springtime. Spring is the season of light and apart from warmer weather, you will enjoy more colorful and bright days.
Is the Vatican busy in March?
The main landmarks of the Vatican will be busier than in January and February but not super packed. The crowds of April and May are yet to arrive so March is a lovely time to visit the Vatican.
Dates and events in Rome in March 2023
- International Women’s Day – March 8th. For Women’s Day, you might find some parades and, for sure, plenty of mimosa in the trees and in the shape of bright yellow bunches all over the city’s flower shops and pretty much around every corner. This is the typical gift for women on this day and you will likely see it also in the restaurants’ decorations.
- Saint Joseph/Father’s Day – March 19th. This is not a bank holiday and schools and offices are open, but you might find some arrangements in markets, restaurants, theaters, and parks to celebrate fathers and sons.
- Daylight saving time switch – March 26th. This is a date to keep in mind because you will need to change your clock unless it’s on your phone and it changes automatically. Usually set on the last Sunday of March, this year 2023 it will be on the 26th. Days will become much longer because both the good season is coming and the time changes.
- Lent. With the end of the Carnival celebrations and Ash Wednesday that in 2023 is on February 22nd, the 40-day period of Lent starts. Since Easter this year is in April, Lent will be the whole month of March. This doesn’t really change much in the local life but if you are a practicing Catholic, you might want to join the church celebrations and Mass functions on Sundays, called in Italian “Domenica di Quaresima”.
What to do in Rome in March
Enter the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill
March is a fantastic time to visit the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.
Usually, in the winter months of January and especially February, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill get very cold. The last time I visited the Capitoline Museums was at the end of January and I stopped to watch the Roman Forum from one of my favorite viewpoints on the Campidoglio hill and I was really freezing. The forum was pretty much empty, I only saw two tourists wandering its ruins and I’m sure they were having a great time despite the temperature.
March, on the other hand, starts to be warmer and the crowds are not high-season huge yet. If you are traveling to Rome in March, consider adding these important Roman archaeological sites to your list.
Visit the Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums, too, are some of the busiest landmarks in Rome. If you have the chance to travel in March when the weather is getting warmer, spring is just about to start, and the sights are not too crowded yet, by all means, visit the Vatican Museums.
This is a great time to enjoy this fantastic gallery in peace and be able to observe the artifacts and study their history at your own pace without being dragged by the hordes of tourists.
Rome in March is still not in its highest season, but if you want to take advantage and see as much as you can, I think booking online is a good idea to save time and skip most lines. You can either book a ticket online and visit the museums on your own or book a private Vatican tour with a guide that will show you the most important highlights you shouldn’t miss such as the Sistine Chapel and Raphael’s Rooms.
Enter Saint Peter’s Basilica
Saint Peter’s Basilica is another of the main sights in the Vatican and since the line at the entrance won’t be too overwhelming, I suggest entering and admiring the wonderful architecture and masterpieces from Michelangelo’s La Pietà to Bernini’s bronze canopy.
There is no entrance fee for the Vatican Basilica so you can’t really buy a skip-the-line ticket, but if you are joining a Vatican private tour, you are likely to have fast-track entrance included here, too. And if you are a history enthusiast, I always recommend joining a tour of the ancient Roman necropolis under Saint Peter’s Basilica to see Peter’s first burial place.
Don’t miss our guide to visiting the Vatican!
Celebrate Women’s Day
It might not be Valentine’s Day, but if you are planning to have a romantic trip, you will certainly impress your other half by taking her out to dinner and buying her a mimosa flower bouquet.
There will be several restaurants arranging themed decorations, dinners, and menus, but if there is a specific place you want to go to, I suggest booking in advance to secure your table.
Celebrate Father’s Day
If you are traveling with your family, joining some Father’s Day events is a lovely way to remember this special moment and bond. Parks, local markets, and even family-friendly Rome hotels will be organizing themed adventures and events to celebrate fathers and families.
Climb the Spanish Steps
One of the most popular sights in Rome, the Spanish Steps in March is lovely. Usually, after the gloomy days of winter, the Roman council embellishes the monumental staircases with colorful flowers and the view is spectacular.
Enjoy the Spanish Steps from Piazza di Spagna at the bottom and climb it to view the square from Trinità dei Monti at the top.
Before the big crowds arrive, enjoy the wonderful masterpieces decorating the square from Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain to Borromini’s Sant’Agnese in Agone church.
Take a day trip
With spring coming and days getting longer, taking a day trip is a perfect way to combine sightseeing and escaping the hustle of the big city.
Depending on your interests, you can either go somewhere to enjoy nature such as Lake Bracciano or the Terminillo mount for some scenic hiking or take a cultural trip to Tivoli to visit Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este or the ancient city of Ostia Antica.
If you are traveling with your family and want to have some extra adventure, you can stay out for at least one night. Between Trevignano and Anguillara Sabazia is the International Glamping Lago di Bracciano for great glamping with kids.
Some day trips from Rome can easily be arranged with public transport but for some, you will definitely need a car or join a private tour.
Attend a religious celebration
Lent is a very heartfelt time of the year for practicing Catholics. Remember that you are in the heart of Christendom, so if you are religious, you should totally join some functions.
If you are attending a Sunday Mass at a local church, you can just pop in the same morning. If you want to join a function or a papal audience in the Vatican, then you need to book your spot and get the tickets in advance. You do this by sending your filled form to Prefettura della Casa Pontificia, 00120 Città del Vaticano or more easily by fax at the number +39 06 6988 5863 by stating the following:
- Date of the audience or celebration you want to attend
- Number of tickets you are requesting
- Name(s) of the people in your group
- Your address
- Your phone number
Once you have your booking, you can take your ticket from the same Prefettura in Saint Peter’s Square, at the Bronze Gate in the right-side colonnade, the day before the audience from 3 to 7 pm or the same morning from 7.30 am. If you are attending a celebration, you will find your tickets in the same spot but the Swiss Guard will hand them over.
Discover a new museum
With so many museums in Rome, it’s always a great time to discover some new galleries or exhibitions. The museums that never show signs of cooling include Museo Nazionale Romano in all its venues such as the Baths of Diocletian and Palazzo Altemps and the Capitoline Museums for its rich permanent collection and a temporary exhibition about republican times in Rome.
Other fantastic galleries to visit are the ones set in notable palaces such as Galleria Borghese, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica in Palazzo Barberini and Galleria Corsini, Palazzo Veneiza, and the wonderful Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Via del Corso.
Visit a local market
What’s better than a jaunt to a local market to discover the seasonal produce? In March, delicious produce like asparagus, the adored agretti, and the very much popular artichokes start appearing on restaurants’ menus and market stalls.
Also called “barba di frate”, monk’s beard, when I see them, I always buy them to make my refreshing pasta with agretti and cherry tomatoes. The artichokes will start being served in most places either as an ingredient for first courses and mains or as side dishes such as carciofi alla romana and the Kosher style carciofi alla giudìa.
Food markets in Rome are a cool sight not just for the veggies but for all the local products because usually, it’s here that you find better quality. Places like Mercato Testaccio and the market of Campagna Amica organized on the weekend near the Circus Maximus are some of my favorites.
Take a stroll in the park
With the days getting longer, the temperatures warming up, and spring slowly arriving, taking a stroll in one of Rome’s parks is a great way to relax in nature and combine some cultural sightseeing. From the glorious Villa Borghese to the gorgeous Villa Pamphilj all the way to the visionary Villa Torlonia, all parks in Rome originated as residences and villas of local noble families.
This is why, along with wildlife, different plant species, and lakes, you will also see notable palaces, museums, and sculptures. Pack your lunch and enjoy a picnic, relax in the green, and visit the landmarks that attract you more. Combining all these things, you can easily spend a whole day in a park and have a cool diverse experience.
Take a cooking class
If it’s cold or raining, why not take a cooking class and learn to make your favorite Italian recipes? You can find plenty of cooking classes in Rome teaching you how to make pasta, pizza, gelato, tiramisu, and sauces. Just look around and pick your favorite.
Join a food tour
If you are not into cooking but very much into eating, then you should join one of the many food tours in Rome. There are several companies running these culinary experiences in the different Roman neighborhoods and are usually a mixed experience of eating and learning the local history and culture.
In all the tours you will have plenty of tastings, whether they are in the morning so starting from breakfast and tasting away until lunch, or in the evening so inclusive of aperitif and dinner. We joined a few and wrote our experience and review:
- Rome food and market tour in Testaccio with Devour Tours
- Twilight Trastevere food tour with Eating Europe
- Taste of Testaccio food tour with Eating Europe
Visit the Italian cheese fair
On March 4th and 5th, Città dell’Altra Economia in the Testaccio neighborhood will host Formaticum, the food fair devoted to Italian cheese and rare dairy products. Cheese lovers can’t really miss this event. If you are staying in Rome for 3 days or more, discover the Italian excellence in the dairy industry and get to know the smaller local producers.
Apart from following dedicated seminars and interviews, you can enjoy plenty of tastings and buy your favorite ones. This is a great occasion for exclusive gift shopping in Rome.
- Address: Largo Dino Frisullo.
- Opening hours: Saturday, March 4th, 10 am-8 pm; Sunday, March 5th, 1 am-7 pm.
- Entrance: 5€ per day. You can purchase the ticket here.
What to pack for Rome in March
- Travel documents. No matter which month you are traveling to Rome, you will need to carry your passport or national ID depending on where you are coming from. A passport is needed if you are from outside the EU. Before traveling, make sure you check if you also need a visa or if your nationality can get one on arrival.
- Umbrella. As I mentioned, Rome’s weather in March is unpredictable so you can expect showers any time. Packing a foldable umbrella won’t take up too much space in your luggage and won’t be too heavy to carry around in your backpack. This way, the rain won’t catch you unprepared and you won’t have to rush looking for an umbrella when needed.
- Camera. Don’t forget to pack your camera, whether it’s a compact, a DSLR, or even only your smartphone.
- Crossbody bag/backpack. A light crossbody bag or backpack is helpful when you are out and about sightseeing to carry everything you need such as a phone, camera, documents, water bottle, and umbrella. Make sure you check the requirements of the landmarks you plan to visit because some don’t allow backpacks in, so in that case, a crossbody bag would be a better option.
- Warm clothes. March in Rome requires warm clothes, especially at the beginning of the month. Even when the day is sunny, you can’t really wear a t-shirt. On warmer days, you can even opt for a lighter jacket than your winter coat, but for a few hours. When the sun starts to set, make sure your winter clothes are at hand.
- Travel water bottle. It’s renowned that Rome is full of little fountains constantly pouring drinkable water down. These are called nasoni and if you carry your own reusable bottle you can refill it whenever needed. This will save you big bucks because, in the city center, a half-liter bottle of water can cost from 1€ up.
- Your skincare products. The cold weather makes your skin dry, so properly moisturizing is necessary. Don’t forget to pack your cleansing products too as hotels’ toiletry kits usually contain only shower gels and shampoo. For March in Rome, you might start thinking about packing sunscreen, even not too strong, but if you have fair skin, on the warmest days around the end of the month, the sun is stronger.
- Nightwear. Don’t forget to pack your pajama or a nightgown for your hotel room.
- Slippers. If you prefer comfortable footwear indoors, pack your own slippers as those provided by the hotels are disposable and usually very thin.
What to wear in Rome in March
- Coat or winter jacket. March in Rome is still the season for winter outer garments, especially if you are traveling at the beginning of the month and are planning to go out until late in the evening.
- Lighter jacket. Towards the end of the month, during the day a winter coat might be too much if it’s sunny, so a lighter spring jacket would be enough.
- Underwear tops. I still use underwear tops in March in Rome, and if it’s hot, I’d rather wear lighter clothes on top like a blouse instead of a sweater.
- Long-sleeve top. This is a must in Rome in March because you can either use them under your sweater or alone under the jacket if it’s not too cold. It’s a versatile piece of clothing that’s worth packing.
- Long trousers or denim. Warm cotton trousers or jeans are likely what you are going to wear when sightseeing in Rome in March. Remember that apart from some occasional periods, March still reflects much of winter weather so you need to cover yourself.
- Sweater/jumper. Wearing sweaters or jumpers is needed to stay warm.
- Socks/tights. Cotton socks are usually enough in March in Rome. If you go out at night, a pair of wool socks might be feeling more comfortable. If you are wearing a skirt, tights are a must, at night, better if thermal ones.
- Winter walking shoes/ankle boots. Your shoes should be comfortable to allow walking for the whole day and warm because it’s still winter. Ankle boots will help in case of rain.
What to book ahead for March in Rome
- International flights. Even though not the highest season, tourists are starting to come and Rome is less quiet than in January and February. Make sure you book your flights in advance to find a place on the exact days you need to travel.
- Domestic travel. The same applies to domestic travel. If you are coming to Rome by train from Florence, Milan, or whatever other big cities, booking your trips ahead is a good idea.
- Hotels. There is plenty of hotels in Rome, but in case you want to make sure you stay in your favorite place or neighborhood, start checking the availability in advance to avoid being disappointed.
- Women’s Day dinner. It won’t probably be as busy as Valentine’s Day, but keep in mind that Women’s Day is not celebrated only by couples but also by groups of women who go out together for dinner, parties, and themed events. So booking ahead is better if you don’t want to miss it.
- Vatican Museums. The tourist season is not in full swing yet, but booking ahead your entrance to the Vatican Museums is recommended all year.
- Colosseum. Similarly, the Colosseum is not going to have the lines of May and July, but tourists are starting to come so make sure you book to avoid wasting too much time.
What to eat in March in Rome
- Artichokes. When the carciofi season starts in Rome, you are going to see them pretty much everywhere. Displayed out of restaurants, shown off at market stalls, sold in every food store, artichokes are definitely something to try out in Rome in March both as a side or in a main dish.
- Agretti. You will see agretti often sold in local markets and food stores, but I don’t see them very often on restaurants’ menus. If you do, give it a go because they are absolutely delicious. I often eat them as a side dish but they are versatile to be used in pasta sauces or with meat and fish.
- Asparagus. Asparagus is another cherished vegetable that when in season, Romans love. Very versatile, you can find it in many dishes and they add a lovely touch. I love asparagus so I order it whenever I can.
- Puntarelle. This is served as a crunchy side dish in Rome and while its season starts and is mainly in February, you are likely to find it in March, too. It is usually served in tangy anchovies and vinegar sauce.
- Spaghetti carbonara. It’s always a good time to eat carbonara in Rome, but when the weather is cold is certainly better than on hot summer days.
- Bucatini amatriciana. This is another pasta classic in Rome. You will find amatriciana in many restaurants and it seems hearty enough to make you warm in March.
- Tonnarelli cacio e pepe. Vegetarians who want to try Roman traditional foods can’t miss the always popular cacio e pepe mainly made with only two ingredients: Roman pecorino cheese and black pepper.
- Pizza. I know every season is pizza season, but when spring starts, the toppings become fantastic, colorful, and loaded with flavor. See our guide to find the best pizza places in Rome.
Find out where to eat the best pasta in Rome!
Where to eat in Rome in March
As days are longer and temperatures warmer, you might want to find the best rooftop restaurants in Rome to enjoy a meal with a breathtaking view. Thankfully, there are many!
- Settimo (Via Lombardia 47). This is the gourmet restaurant set on the top floor of Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese Hotel. An elegant jungle-themed interior is combined with a cozy terrace where you can have all your meals from breakfast to dinner while enjoying a beautiful view of the city.
- Imàgo (Piazza della Trinità dei Monti 6). This is the fine-dining restaurant of the luxury 5-star Hassler Hotel near the Spanish Steps. The class, delicious food, and a breathtaking view of the city’s domes and rooftops are a guarantee for a top experience.
- Aroma (Via Labicana 125). Another restaurant that is famous for its view, this time of the Colosseum. Located on the top floor of Palazzo Manfredi 5-star hotel, staying here in March is a great time to enjoy the lovely light of the season.
- Seu Pizza Illuminati (Via Angelo Bargoni 10). For a great pizza for dinner topped with seasonal ingredients, this is your choice in Trastevere.
Where to stay in Rome in March
As the weather in Rome in March starts to be more friendly, you can think about hotels with a terrace to enjoy your meals or a drink. Here are some hotels I would recommend.
- Hotel Hassler Roma. This is hands-down one of the best 5-star hotels in Rome where you can enjoy a great view of the city from both the in-house restaurant and your room, especially if you have booked one of the penthouses.
- Palazzo Manfredi. A luxury 5-star hotel facing the Colosseum, guests staying here in March will be able to fully enjoy the view from the restaurant and their room, especially the Grand View Suites.
- Shangri-La. If you don’t want to stay right in the city center, the EUR district is more of a residential/business area so not many tourists are around. Around the end of March and beginning of April, it’s EUR lake the best place to enjoy cherry tree blossoming like the Japanese Hanami tradition. This is a comfortable 4-star hotel that’s not even too expensive and well connected to the rest of the city via the metro.