March in Italy: Holidays, Festivals, and Other Events

Mimosas for sale for International Women's Day (La Festa delle Donne)

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.

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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.

Learn more about the death of Gaius Julius Caesar from this informative video produced by Walks of Italy

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.” Stay tuned for more info on Dantedì festivities as they are announced.

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.

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