A trip to Italy in March is always a great idea! This time of the year is considered shoulder season, so you can expect less tourist crowds and cheaper prices. Winter is just turning over to spring, so there will be bright flowers, lush greenery, and excited locals in many parts of the country. The Italian tourist trail will keep you busy for days, but March also offers unique events and festivals that are great to check out too. If you’re working on your Italy itinerary for March, here are some of things to see and do! You may just want to add them to your list!
Italy Weather in March
The weather in March is often rainy, damp, and chilly. However, many travelers prefer these conditions over the excruciating heat of the summer or the frigid weather in winter. Earlier in the month, visitors can expect colder weather similar to February, but the end of the month typically feels more like spring. The weather is often unpredictable, and it tends to rain quite often during this time. Visitors are encouraged to bring layers, rain jackets, umbrellas, and shoes that can withstand getting wet. Weather in Italy varies depending on the region. In general, you can expect temperatures to be as follows:
Northern Italy: 2-13°C
Central Italy: 7-16°C
Southern Italy: 10-16°C
Since there are so many indoor activities and events in Italy, the rain shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Here are recommendations for Italy in March:
Visit Rome’s Covered Markets
A visit to Rome’s markets should definitely be on your itinerary when visiting Italy. However, because of the frequent rain and chilly weather in March, wandering the outdoor markets isn’t always possible. Luckily, Rome is known to have some pretty intriguing covered markets, that offer a similar experience. Check out Mercato Testaccio, Esquilino Market, and Mercato Trionfale for some authentic, Italian shopping while staying dry.
Take a Pizza Tour
Eating pizza can be done in any weather, so you won’t have to worry that the rain will spoil your plans. Italy is famous for delicious pizza, so what better way to spend a day than trying as many slices as possible. While you can get pizza anywhere, Naples and Rome are two of the best cities to try this dish. Make sure to test out the slices at La Gatta Mangiona, Pizzeria Fratelli Salvo, and Pizzaria La Notizia. You won’t be disappointed.
If you need to escape the rain, the Genoa Aquarium is a fantastic place to do it. You’ll quickly forget about the dreary March weather as you wander the 10,000 meters of exhibit space. This is a great choice for families, couples, and even solo travelers. There are 70 tanks containing 6,000,000 liters of water and tons of interesting sea life. It’s the largest aquarium in Italy which makes it worth a visit alone.
Tour The Wine Bars
If you’re visiting Italy, you must try the wine. This country produces some of the best bottles in the world, so you can taste quite a few. Wine bars dot the country but some of the top spots can be found in Milan, Florence, Venice, and Rome. Use the wine bars as an excuse to get out of the rainy March weather, and enjoy some of the country’s finest tastes. You’ll probably find other tourists and locals to chat with while you wait out the rain. Some of the top wine bars to visit include: N’Ombra de Vin, Enoteca Ferrara, and Coquinarius.
National Museum of Cinema
Movie and film lovers need to visit this museum when visiting Italy in March. It can be found in the northern city of Turin, so it’s a great addition to your trip if you happen to be there. Since it’s so cold up north, a day spent at this Italian motion picture museum is a great idea. It will get you out of the rainy weather and teach you all about the world of Italian movies. Check out the film posters, movie-related artworks, and collection of historic video equipment. It’s a quirky museum that is a nice change from the historic and religious museums that make up the Italian tourist trail.
The Uffizi Gallery
You’ll find the Uffizi in the heart of Florence. This museum is one of the most-visited in the world and in Italy. It’s considered one of the most important museums in the country, and focuses on artwork created during the Italian Renaissance. It was opened to the public in the 16th century, giving it the designation of one of the world’s first modern museums. Visitors will have plenty to explore, so if you’re visiting Florence on a rainy day, you’ll keep busy wandering this museum. Make sure to check out some of the more famous works such as: The Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci, The Holy Family by Michelangelo, Portrait of Leo X by Raphael, The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, Self-Portrait as a Young Man by Rembrandt.
National Archeological Museum in Naples
Naples is home to one of Italy’s most renowned archaeological museums. It’s filled with artifacts from ancient Egypt, and the city of Pompeii after Mt. Vesuvius erupted. The museum also has a reputation for its impressive collection of marble sculptures, a lavish, secret room, and lineup of beautiful mosaics. Make sure to visit the Farnese Collection which is comprised of Farnese Marbles, the Farnese Cup, and engraved gems. This museum focuses heavily on Greek, Renaissance, and Roman periods of artwork. It’s a great place to get lost when trying to escape the rainy weather.
Retreat to The Cafes
Did you know that coffee is a big deal in Italy? If not, we’re here to tell you that cafe culture is huge across the country. The baristas in Italy know how to make the perfect cup of cappuccino, and shots of espresso that will make you a fan for life. The cafes are buzzing with local culture, so they are great spots for people watching. If you want to hide from the rainy March weather, and warm up with a caffeinating cup, try one of the cafes in Rome, Venice, Florence, or Milan.
Try a Cooking Class
Want to learn how to cook just like the Italians? Join a cooking class. The options are endless around the country, so you’re bound to find something no matter where you’re visiting. Take a couples class or bring the kids along for a fun day inside. Most classes will teach you how to make pasta by hand, craft the perfect sauce, or whip up sugary sweet desserts. Why bring home postcards and trinkets when you can bring home the ultimate souvenir-Italian cooking skills. These classes are great for foodies or any travelers who want to take a deep dive into Italian food culture. Don’t forget that you get to eat what you make!
Grotta delle Ninfe Hot Springs
Italy in March can be rainy and chilly, making it the perfect month for hot springs. Italy is scattered with these natural, heated pools, and many of them are off the standard tourist trail. If you want a unique hot springs experience, check out Grotta delle Ninfe, located in Cerchiara. The water is usually around 30°C all year, and the entrance fee is quite cheap. Locals usually make up the small crowds here, as they gather to soak up the healing benefits of the water. It’s said that sulfur-carbon content helps to cure ailments like rheumatoid arthritis and a variety of skin diseases.
If you’re visiting Rome in March, make your way to Vatican City to check out the museums. There are multiple galleries, each offering various artifacts, artworks, and sculptures. The architecture alone is enough to impress, but all the museums are worth a visit. The artworks have been hand selected by the Pope throughout the years, so many of the pieces have historical and religious significance. Don’t forget to see the highlights; the Sistine Chapel and Gallery of Maps.
Peggy Guggenheim Museum
This is one of the best modern art museums in Italy and in Venice. It’s comprised of a personal collection and housed in an 18th century palace on the Grand Canal. The collection is made up of works of Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and modern sculpture art. It’s a welcomed change from many of the more historic and religious works of art around Italy. When visiting, make sure to see some of the museum highlights which include: Nude by Marcel Duchamp, The Poet by Picasso, and Woman With Animals by Albert Gleizes.
You’ve probably seen this elaborate cathedral in pictures, but the photos don’t do it justice. The Milan Cathedral is an absolute must-see when visiting Italy. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan and is dedicated to St. Mary of Nativity. After taking six centuries to complete, it is now considered the largest cathedral in Italy (it looks like it was worth the wait.) Give yourself plenty of time to explore this cathedral because it’s full of artwork, artefacts, and beautiful displays of architecture.
Festivals and Events in March in Italy
It depends on the date of Easter each year, but this famous festival often happens in March. It’s essentially the Mardi Gras of Italy, and is celebrated all over the country. Venice is the most popular spot to witness this festival, as most of the masquerade parties and parades take place here. Expect lots of live music, performances, and lavish parties taking place around the city. Many hotels offer services for renting costumes, so you can join in on the fun without having to make a big purchase.
Reenactment of Caesar’s Death
Taking place on March 15th, this reenactment depicts the assassination of Caesar. The Roman Forum is the site of various cultural events that surround Caesar’s death, and is a great place to learn all about this piece of history. This is a great addition to a day of historical sightseeing that you just won’t get on any other day in Rome.
Feast Day of San Giuseppe
This is Italy’s version of Father’s Day. It happens every year on March 19th, and is celebrated throughout the entire country. You may come across small celebrations, bonfires, and special deals if you’re traveling as a dad. It’s tradition for kids to give their dads gifts, so don’t be surprised if you see families exchanging presents on this day while you’re traveling.
Festa della Donna
This is a very special day for women in Italy. On March 8th of each year, International Women’s Day is celebrated across the country. Men typically bring flowers and gifts to the women in their lives, and ladies go out on the town with their female friends. Museums often offer discounted admission, and restaurants put on special menus just to celebrate women. Look out for small concerts, events, and special deals (especially if you’re a woman.)
Festa della Primavera
Celebrate spring with the locals on March 21st of each year. This countrywide celebration is characterized by live music, regional food tastings, and performances. If you’re traveling on this day, don’t be surprised to stumble upon events that are ringing in the spring weather!
If you want to see the famous sites of Rome a bit differently, join the Rome Marathon on the third Sunday in March. Runners from around the world come to compete as they race through Roman streets, past the Vatican, the Roman Forum, and the Colosseum. It’s one of the most unique ways to experience the city, and offers scenic views for the entire 42 km stretch. Make sure to sign up before you come if you want to participate.
Italy in March is a great time to visit since the tourist crowds are few and the prices are slightly cheaper. Between the churches, museums, and cozy cafes, you’ll always have an inviting retreat from the rather unpredictable March weather. No matter where you go, just know that you’ll find something beautiful when visiting Italy in the spring.