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Eight unmistakable signs that spring has arrived in Italy

Giampietro Vianello
Giampietro Vianello - [email protected]
Eight unmistakable 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

As spring officially begins, milder weather brings some welcome changes to everyday life in Italy.


Aperitivo hour moves outdoors

Over the winter months, most people in Italy will have their aperitivo – a hallowed ritual 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 work.

Can you blame them? Few things in life are as sweet as enjoying a spritz in the golden late-afternoon sunlight.  

Motorini are back on the streets

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

For obvious reasons, people avoid using their scooters during the cold months, but they'll be swiftly pulled out of the garage as soon as the weather gets warmer. 

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

Vespa scooters

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

Clothes get lighter and brighter

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

Italians are famously keen on fashion and most have an entire section of their wardrobe dedicated to the mezza stagione, i.e. garments meant to be worn exclusively in spring or autumn. 

READ ALSO: 'I replaced my entire wardrobe': How foreigners in Italy become 'more Italian' to fit in

While many Italians may appear to be dressing for mild winter weather for a little while longer yet, you’ll gradually notice a change when walking around your area as attire becomes ever more colourful and stylish.


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. 

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

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

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, while for others it's part of the evening passeggiata ritual. Plus there's the fact that popular gelaterie charge extra if you want to sit down at a table.

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


Spring cleaning begins

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

While it might not be that big a deal in other countries, the task is an important one and something 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. All windows, floors, and other available surfaces are to be scrubbed to a high shine.

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, you’ll know why. And if you've lived in Italy for a few years, no doubt you'll soon find yourself doing the same.

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 so popular in Italy that many locations around the country have entire festivals dedicated to them: Rome’s own carciofo festival gets underway at the end of March.


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

Warm days, chilly evenings

Most Italian regions enjoy good weather during the spring months.

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

This is why you'll almost always see Italians dressed in layers - and they'll tell you to bring at least a jacket along if you’re spending an evening out with 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 (big romantics) they are, locals rarely miss a chance to catch this ‘golden 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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Ron Melé 2024/03/20 12:01
I may be moving to Italy for the Spring through Summer...this story has taught me some ways to fit in better...thanks!

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