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Eight signs that spring has arrived in Italy

Giampietro Vianello
Giampietro Vianello - [email protected]
Eight signs that spring has arrived in Italy
Now spring is here, Italians will once more be buying gelato to eat as they walk. Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP

With warm temperatures across the entire country this week, spring has finally arrived in Italy. Besides the weather though, there’s further proof that 'primavera' is upon us.


Aperitivo hour moves outdoors

Over the winter months, most people in Italy have their aperitivo – a hallowed combination of pre-dinner drinks and snacks – indoors.

As soon as temperatures rise above 15C, it’s game on for Italians as they rush to crowd the outdoor decks of their local bars straight after leaving work.


Can you blame them? Few things in life are as sweet as sipping on your favourite tipple while soaking up that golden late-afternoon sunlight.  

Motorini are back on the streets

Italians love scooters, not least because traffic can (and regularly does) get really bad in big cities and riding around on a slick two-wheeler can save you copious amounts of time. 

READ ALSO: Why are Italians so addicted to cars?

For pretty obvious reasons, people avoid using their scooters during the cold months, but the motorcycles are swiftly pulled out of the garage as soon as the weather gets warmer. 

Vespa scooters

Italians love scooters and, as temperatures increase, so does the number of two-wheelers on the streets. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

And, as temperatures increase, so do the numbers of people whizzing down their city’s streets on jazzy Vespas.

Clothes get lighter and brighter

As the days get warmer and longer, people in Italy swap their heavy winter attire for their mezza stagione outfits. 

Italians are famously keen on fashion and most have an entire section of their wardrobe dedicated to mezza stagione (literally, ‘mid-season’) clothes, i.e. garments meant to be worn exclusively in spring or autumn. 

You’ll notice the change when walking around your area. From jean jackets and cotton twill blazers to floaty dresses and sandals, mezza stagione clothes are generally far more colourful and stylish than their gloomy winter counterparts. 

Gelato makes a reappearance

As temperatures get warmer by the day, Italians gradually rediscover one of their favourite weekend pastimes: the Sunday afternoon stroll with a gelato cone firmly wedged between their fingers. 

READ ALSO: How to spot good quality gelato in Italy - and how to suss out the fakes

Italy is the land of artisanal ice cream and people just can’t get enough of the frozen treat. 

Gelato shop in Italy

Italy's the land of artisanal ice cream and people just can't get enough of it. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

But many prefer to have their ice cream ‘on the go’ rather than savouring it while seated. 


Some say walking helps them digerire meglio (‘better digest’) their ice cream, but the veracity of that theory is yet to be proven.

Spring cleaning begins

The start of pulizie di primavera (spring cleaning) is one of the most telling (and generally least-likeable) signs that spring has indeed arrived in the country. 

While it might not be that big of a deal in other countries, the task is somewhat of a ritual experience for Italians as they often set a whole weekend apart to thoroughly clean every nook and cranny of their homes and clear out unused stuff. 

READ ALSO: Eating well, driving badly, and daily naps: The habits you pick up in Italy

Should you happen to hear a racket coming from the Italian neighbours’ house from as early as 7am on a Sunday morning, you’ll know what’s up.

Artichokes arrive in the shops

Spring marks the return of the beloved carciofi – a staple of Italians’ spring-time diet – on supermarket shelves.


Italians can’t get enough of them, and the veggies are prepared, cooked and served in all sorts of ways (alla romana, alla giudia, stuffed, etc.). 


Artichokes are a staple of Italians' spring-time diet. Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP

Artichokes are so popular in Italy that many locations around the country have entire festivals dedicated to them: Rome’s own carciofo festival is currently underway.

Warm days, chilly evenings

Most Italian regions enjoy good weather during the spring months.

But, while it may be fairly hot during the day (over 20C in some areas), evenings can be fairly chilly, with temperatures dropping below the 10-degree mark overnight.

READ ALSO: What to expect when travelling to Italy this spring

That’s why it’s advisable to always bring a warm jacket along if you’re planning on spending an evening out with family or friends.


Sunsets become more intense

Spring is one of the best seasons to watch a sunset in Italy, as the sunlight gives the sky unique shades of orange, red or indigo.

As the die-hard romanticoni they are, locals rarely miss a chance to catch the ‘magic hour’ and often choose to spend the moment in the company of their partners or friends.

Most Italians also have a favourite ‘sunset spot’ but that’s a secret they won’t give away easily.


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