Right to Rome: why spring is the best time to visit the Italian capital

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It’s warm enough to sit outside cafes and bars, and visiting before the crowds arrive in summer means that the queues are short

Forget Paris in spring: Rome is both warmer and cooler in the first few months of the year. The locals are in their winter black rollneck jumpers, accessorised with equally noir-ish sunglasses. With an average of 17C by March, it’s warm enough to sit outside cafés and bars, but not hot enough to fall foul of the “no shorts” rule enforced in Rome’s oldest churches.

Inside Villa Farnesina (€12; villafarnesina.it), there is just a handful of people admiring the murals by Raphael, while outside a grove of citrus trees is groaning with fruit. The Caffè Settimiano on nearby Via Garibaldi – where I stop off for my first Aperol spritz of the year – is full of mismatched vintage furniture, attracting equal numbers of Romans and blissed-out American students beginning a semester abroad.

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