We’ve finally gotten our first taste of spring like temperatures here in Seoul and it has me in anticipation of what is to come. I’ve mentioned it here before, but I absolutely adore the “transition” seasons. Not too hot, not too cold, and in Korea, not raining every single day. There’s nothing better than finally taking off your winter coat,venturing outside on a sunny day, and taking a deep breath of that crisp, fresh air that only spring can bring.
One of my favorite spring times that I’ve experienced was when I lived in Rome. Spring came early that year and left me with plenty of time to enjoy the city before it got too crowded and too hot. If you’re looking for a time of year to check out the Eternal City, this is it! What are some of the best things to do in Rome during my favorite season?
1. Take a walk along the Tiber.
The Tiber, or Tevere as it is known in Italian, divides the city and is a great place to take what the Italians call a passeggiata when the weather is nice. I would start at Ponte Garibaldi in Trastevere (where I lived at the time) and walk towards Vatican City. On this route, you walk through a variety of neighborhoods and oftentimes will stumble upon stalls selling a variety of times, such as used books. I once scored a copy of the first Babysitter’s Club book in Italian and it made my day. Eventually you willl hit Ponte Sant’Angelo (or Bridge of the Angels, my favorite bridge in Rome), Castel Sant’Angelo, and the large Piazza Cavour which makes a perfect ending spot. There are many restaurants in the area if you want to grab a bite to eat and you are near to many public transport options if you want to get back to where you are staying.
If you want to optimize your walk, grab a gelato to enjoy and head out as the sun starts to get low in the sky. The light at this time of day turns the entire city gold.
2. Catch a soccer game at Stadio Olimpico.
If I didn’t scare you off in my last post about Rome’s crazy soccer fans, get yourself over to Stadio Olimpico to catch one of the last few Serie A games of the season, which ends in April. Both AS Roma and SS Lazio call this 1960 Olympic Stadium home, but I suggest that you don yellow and red and cheer for Roma because as we all know, i laziali sono fascisti (Lazio fans are fascists, a common dig by Roma fans due to history and the supposed right leaning political affiliation of a large part of their fans). Tickets are never hard to find as the stadium is huge and rarely sells out.
3. Grab a drink (or caffé) and people watch in a piazza.
One of my favorite activities, any of time of the year, is to sit in a piazza, chat over drinks, and watch fashionable (and not so fashionable) Europeans pass by. Most tourists head straight to Piazza Navona and while it is conveniently located and there is a large selection of restaurants, most are extremely overpriced. My favorite piazza in Rome is Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. It is located outside of the city center, but near enough that it’s not a haul to get to, the backdrop of the church is beautiful, and the amount of foot traffic provides for wonderful people watching.
The perfect piazza springtime drink? Campari with orange. A little bit sweet, a little bit bitter, brightly colored, and uniquely Italian.
4. Head up to the top of the Janiculum Hill for a fantastic city view.
This list should make it fairly obvious that the Trastevere neighborhood holds a special place in my heart. My last springtime in Rome suggestion takes you back to that neighborhood south of the river. The Janiculum Hill, or Giancolo in Italian, is not considered one of the historic seven hills of Rome because of its location across the river, outside the old city center. Because of this the hill offers a fantastic view of the city’s many domed churches and attractive architecture. In addition to the views, you can check out a monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi, instrumental in the Italian unification movement and inspiration for my tattoo, as well as many parks and monuments.
If none of these ideas sound inspiring, don’t fret. There’s never a shortage of great things to see and do in Rome, especially during the cool spring months!
Have you been to Rome in the spring? What did you think? What are your favorite city dwelling springtime activities?