Springtime in Rome
Last updated: 13 April 2019
Spring has finally sprung in Rome and Vatican City. Every time I walk around Rome or go up into the Vatican Gardens, I see so many changes in the trees and flowers blooming around me, even daily! It’s not only inspiring me to get out and exercise but there are so many more opportunities to take beautiful photos. Here are a few events and ideas to consider when visiting and taking your happy snaps in Rome this spring.
Colors of nature
Very soon in Rome’s ancient center, you’ll be able to sense the fragrant hanging wisteria even before you see the violet-colored blooms overhead! It’s especially beautiful in the Trastevere neighborhood and near the Spanish Steps in Via Margutta. Speaking of the Spanish Steps, keep an eye out at the end of April – start of May for the large pots of scarlet and fuchsia azaleas which will line the steps for the Spring Festival. It’s the only chance all year to take that iconic colorful photo of the Spanish Steps. We even have matching fuchsia pots in the Swiss Guard Barracks!
Check out the colors popping up everywhere, not just in the trees and flowers, but also in peoples’ clothing. I love it when Romans finally put away their black puffy coats and long boots at the end of each winter. That shouldn’t give tourists a license to wear flip flops though! On Via Cola di Rienzo, one of Rome’s main shopping streets nearby the Vatican, you’ll see Romans in the latest sneakers or colorful ballerinas which are perfect with jeans and trench coats. Take a note out of their style book and enjoy the pretty people watching without the heavy coat to get in the way of the perfect photo!
It’s such a pretty time of year and dare I say, hope-filled! Easter is coming! I’m also looking forward to longer and warmer days and to the promise of some summer beach-time (at least for those of us in Italy)! Each day, there are more golden hues to pick up in your photographs and more time to take them. What’s not to love about that!
The first sign that spring is coming to Rome is the return of the turtles from hibernation! I love seeing their numbers growing steadily as winter fades. If you’re able to visit the Vatican Gardens, you can see them in the fountain in front of Casina Pio IV. In Rome, I look for their return in the lakes in beautiful Villa Pamphilj. There’s nowhere better to go for a run close to the center of Rome and yet feel like you’re in the Roman countryside (below left). Back to the Vatican, there is an ever-growing colony of Monk Parrots amid the cedar trees and smaller friends like lizards that come out to bask in the sun, and stay there if you’re nice and quiet. The screeching of the parrots is the only sound to break the silence. The turtles are easy to catch on film but the lizards and parrots are another matter. Spot the lizard below!
An umbrella is still needed regularly at the beginning of spring, but the rain never lasts long in Rome. If you don’t feel like capturing the rain in action, consider it a chance to grab another coffee or vino, depending on the time of day. Or explore one of the thousand churches in the Eternal City. Soon after you can have some fun with the shadow-play and leftover puddles, but not quite the same sort we had as children. Puddles make instant mirrors for the myriad of Roman churches and monuments. Find your puddle and go!
Warmer and longer days mean less excuses to hibernate and watch too much Netflix! If you have to walk the same route each day, look for new greenery and changing scenery. I walk from the Vatican to Trastevere along the Tiber River every morning and evening, and I see daily changes, from the color of the river to the leaves on the trees. Rome is so spectacular that it’s hard to focus on the details when the big picture is in the frame. There are too many photographs that could be taken. Enjoy your local neighborhood and take note of the details!
Rome photos must be filled with food. It’s finally moving into gelato-eating season so make the most of it! The name synonymous with gelato in Rome since 1900 is GIOLITTI! It’s worth the queue to indulge in this heaven in a cup or cone, still owned and run by the same family. They've even created a fast-pass to bypass the long line. If you're not nearby the Pantheon when you get that ice-cream craving, look for gelaterias with a smaller selection of flavors and without the fluorescent-colored gelato. They’re more likely to use seasonal ingredients.
It’s also artichoke season and you’ll find them cooked every possible way in Rome, most notably they are served fried in the Jewish quarter or ‘Roman’ style means that they are simmered with olive oil, herbs and garlic. They’re as pretty to photograph fresh at Eataly or local street markets like the one in Campo de Fiori as they are on your plate. At the morning markets at Campo you’ll be able to try, buy and photograph an abundant selection of spring fruits, vegetables and flowers. And then do celebrate with another gelato!