Even though Easter can fall as early as March 22, March is typically the season of Lent. But this is Italy, so the austerity of the Lenten season is tempered with a variety of secular and religious activities as well as the beginning of spring and warmer, if rainier, weather.
March in Italy: Holidays, Festivals, and Other Events
March 8 – International Women’s Day
Called La Festa della Donna, La Festa delle Donne or Giornata Internazionale della Donna, International Women’s Day is observed widely in Italy and noticeable for the proliferation of yellow mimosa flowers.
March 9 – Feast of Santa Francesca Romana, Rome
On March 9, Romans celebrate the local saint, Santa Francesca Romana, by visiting the Tor de’ Specchi, which is open only on her feast day. Santa Francesca Romana, whose path was said to be lit by angels, is also the patron saint of Roman drivers. So it is customary for believers to drive to Piazzale del Colosseo, near the saint’s namesake church, to have their cars blessed. Friend of Italofile Gillian’s Lists has more details and photos.
March 15 — Ides of March Commemoration of Caesar’s Death, Rome
Small commemorations and cultural events mark the Ides of March, the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated. If you’re lucky, you can see the Gruppo Storico Romano stage a reenactment of the infamous event near the site where it happened in the Largo di Torre Argentina.
March 17 — Saint Patrick’s Day
Saint Patrick is a rather minor saint in Italy, so his feast day is not the big deal that it is in Ireland, the United States, and other places in the world with large Irish communities. On the other hand, Irish bars are common in most big cities in Italy, so you can usually duck into one of those for a pint of Guinness or finger of whiskey.
March 19 — Festa di San Giuseppe/Father’s Day in Italy
The Feast Day of Saint Joseph (the father of Jesus) is also known as Father’s Day in Italy. Traditions on this day include children giving gifts to their fathers and the consumption of zeppole (a fried dough delectable, similar to a doughnut).
March 25 — Florentine New Year, aka Feast of the Annunciation
The official arrival of spring is celebrated in Florence on the Feast of the Annunciation, which includes a parade from the Palazzo Vecchio to Piazza SS Annunziata. Revelers gather in Piazza SS Annunziata for food, drink, and music and it is custom to pay a visit to the church of Santissima Annunziata to see its richly decorated interior, which includes frescoes and mosaics of the Annunciation.
March 25 — Dantedì, National Dante Alighieri Day
On 17 January 2020, the Italian government declared 25 March as National Dante Alighieri Day or Dantedì. This is in advance of the 700th anniversary of the poet’s death in 2021. March 25 was chosen because it is the “date scholars put as being the start of the journey to the afterlife in the Divine Comedy.”
Mid- to Late March – Holy Week and Easter
Holy Week is one of the busiest times of the year to visit Italy. See April in Italy for a more detailed description.
Mid- to Late March – Pesto World Pesto Championship, Genoa
Every two years, on even years, Genoa holds a competition to see who can make the best pesto in the traditional way, using only a marble mortar and wooden pestle. The World Pesto Championship is open to professionals and amateurs and there is also a competition for kids.
Late March – Marathon of Rome
The annual Maratona di Roma is an awesome chance for runners to take in the sites of Rome on a 26.2-mile course which winds past most of Rome’s best monuments. As many streets are shut down to traffic during the marathon, visitors also get a break from vehicle traffic.
Quick Guide to Dates in March: Anniversaries, Events, Births, and Deaths
- Death of architect Luigi Vanvitelli (1773)
- Death of Gabriele D’Annunzio (1938)
- Birth of Saint Benedict of Norcia (480)
- The Siege of Rome by the Ostrogoths begins (537)
- Birth of Antonio Vivaldi (1678)
- Birth of Giorgio Bassani (1916)
- Birth of Lucio Dalla (1943)
- Birth of Umberto Tozzi (1952)
- Death of Correggio (1534)
- Birth of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696)
- Birth of Ennio Flaiano (1910), screenwriter for Fellini including the screenplay for La Dolce Vita
- Birth of Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922)
- Birth of Michelangelo (1475)
- Birth of Francesco Guicciardini (1483), Renaissance author of The History of Italy
- Birth of Santi di Tito (1536), counter-Mannerist painter
- Death of Saint Thomas Aquinas (1274)
- Birth of architect and painter Baldassare Peruzzi (1481)
- Birth of Filippo Juvarra (1678), architect of Basilica La Superba in Turin
- Birth of Alessandro Manzoni (1785)
- Birth of Anna Magnani (1908)
- International Women’s Day aka La Festa delle Donne
- Feast Day of San Francesca Romana
- Birth of Amerigo Vespucci (1454)
- Inter Milan founded after split with A.C. Milan (1908)
- Death of Giuseppe Mazzini (1872)
- Death of Donato Bramante (1514)
- Birth of Torquato Tasso (1544)
- Canonization day of Saints Francis Xavier and Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1622)
- Birth of Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863)
- Birth of Alberto Burri (1915)
- Birth of Gianni Agnelli (1921)
- Birth of Vittorio Emanuele II (1820), first King of Italy
- Birth of Umberto I (1844), son of Vittorio Emanuele II and second King of Italy
- Ides of March, assassination of Julius Caesar (44 B.C.)
- Death of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1736)
- Birth of Bernardo Bertolucci (1940)
- Kidnapping of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro (1978)
- Feast Day of Saint Patrick
- Death of Marcus Aurelius (180)
- The Italian Republic becomes the Kingdom of Italy with Napoleon as King (1805)
- Feast Day of Saint Anselm of Lucca, patron saint of Mantua (Mantova)
- Mount Vesuvius erupts, killing 26 (1944)
- Feast Day of Saint Joseph/Father’s Day in Italy
- Birth of Ovid (43 B.C.)
- Death of Saint Benedict of Norcia (547)
- Dantedì aka National Dante Alighieri Day (declared in 2020)
- Feast of the Annunciation (if March 25 falls during Holy Week or Easter Week, the feast is moved to the Monday after the 2nd Sunday of Easter)
- Florentine New Year
- Birth of Saint Catherine of Siena (1347), patron saint of Italy (along with Saint Francis of Assisi)
- The Duomo of Florence (Santa Maria del Fiore) is consecrated (1436)
- Birth of Arturo Toscanini (1867)
- Tsunami in Venice and Trieste after an earthquake hits near Friuli (1511)
- Birth of Guccio Gucci (1881), founder of Gucci
- First Mille Miglia car race between Brescia, Ferrara, and Rome (1927)
- Death of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1770)
- Birth of Fra Bartolomeo (1472)
- Birth of Raphael (1483)
- The Republic of Venice establishes the the first Jewish ghetto in Europe (1516)
January in Italy | February in Italy | March in Italy | April in Italy | May in Italy | June in Italy | July in Italy | August in Italy | September in Italy | October in Italy | November in Italy | December in Italy