After weeks of pre-spring rain, the sun has finally shown herself in Rome this past week. When I arrived in January it was unseasonably warm for a few days, but it’s been chilly and rainy since then. Now, however, it is finally warming up and we are all pretty excited about it.
Rome is generally known for good weather, but it’s been a rough few years for weather everywhere. Spring semester begins in the winter, so it was pretty cold when we first arrived in January, but still much warmer than in Philadelphia. My favorite part about winter in Rome is the way the Romans react to the cold. As I said, the weather is generally quite mild in Rome; it is rare for it to snow here, so the cold is not well accepted. Even in 60-degree Fahrenheit weather, the Romans are fully equipped with puffy coats, hats and scarves. When the fog of the winter finally lifts, the Romans shed their layers and Rome exposes a whole new city.
Last week, my best friend from Temple came to visit for her spring break and having someone from home come here was so wonderful. I had classes, but we were still able to visit museums and explore the city together. Spending this week with her really made me appreciate Rome with a new perspective. While it still rained a little, we spent the week walking, eating, and seeing everything we could. During the fleeting moments of sunlight and warmth, we spent our time walking in the park and looking at dogs. The weather these past few days inspired me to share my favorite Roman springtime activities with you all.
I’ll start with the dogs. Of course, people walk their dogs in the winter too, but when it gets warm they unleash them and let them run around. I’ve imagined heaven to be something like this: sunny days with dogs off their leashes and generous owners who let us pet them. Therefore, Rome in the springtime is pretty much heaven. These dogs can be found running around the beautiful parks in Rome, my favorite among them is Villa Borghese. Villa Borghese is also home to a couple of museums and attractions, there are little carts where you can get lunch foods and a pond with rowboats. They even have those big square bicycles for the whole family! My absolute favorite part about this park is the gardens. In late spring you can see the flowers blooming and it is a truly beautiful sight. It’s a perfect picnic locale and, as a picnic fanatic, among my favorite places in the city.
Another wonderful thing about Rome in the springtime (or in any time) is the food. While Italian food is incredible year-round, springtime introduces new flavors and new fresh produce. There will be a lot more artichokes, asparagus, fava beans, and strawberries, among other delicious ingredients. The produce markets will be bountiful and colorful. Restaurants will feature incredible seasonal specials. I’m super excited to try all of these things and hopefully cook some myself. In addition to the foods, gelato becomes a lot more enjoyable in the warm weather. To be clear, I will eat gelato rain or shine, but I do prefer a warm sunny day and a big fat cone. During my first weeks in Rome, my roommate and I did an Airbnb experience with a Roman local and learned a cool tip about gelato: the places where you can’t see the gelato are the better ones. If it’s piled high and you can see all of it, it’s not going to be as good as the places where you can’t see it. This bit of information has really enlightened us all. My favorite gelato place I’ve tried so far is called La Romana. The food to be tried in Rome will never end—it only continues to grow.
The warmer, brighter weather makes people more willing to go outside and spend time with their neighbors, so the streets themselves are more lively and social. Families spend more time outside, the restaurants open up outdoor seating, and the streets are full of people all day long. We’re lucky to be here right at the beginning of spring because the crowds are still small. These few weeks before the summertime tourist influx are wonderful. The beauty of the eternal city only continues to increase, and I’m looking forward to seeing and experiencing the new things the warm weather has to offer.