Hot Dates April 2020

by Danilo Brunetti

Natale di RomaTuesday 21

Believe it or not, Rome turns 2773 years old today! (We don’t think she looks a day over 2000!) According to legend, Romulus founded Rome on 21 April 753 BC, and every year on that date, the city throws itself a fantastic birthday party. Although the historical reenactment and procession that usually take place on this date may likely be cancelled (announcement not yet made by date of publishing), you can still mark Rome’s birthday in a special way. The Pantheon, the world’s best preserved ancient building, was designed in such a way as to allow a powerful beam of light to pass through the oculus and straight out the doors of the monument at exactly midday on the city’s birthday.

EasterSunday 12

Since public Vatican events are not guaranteed this year, we recommend doing what Italians do on Easter: eating! Italian Easter culinary traditions include lamb, pizza rustica, a savory pie with ricotta and cured meat, and pana pasquale, bread with bits of salami baked inside. In addition, Pasqua arrives with a slew of sweet treats. Most famous is the colomba, a soft yellow cake in the shape of a dove covered in almonds and beads of sugar. The pastiera is a sweet egg-based pie traditionally from Naples, but now widely enjoyed in Rome as well. But of course the biggest attraction is the hollow chocolate Easter egg. They come in all sizes, from the tiny Kinder egg that can fit in your hand to enormous ones that could fit a small person inside. Best part: each egg hides a toy or prize. Pick up these treats at your local bakery.

PasquettaMonday 22

One of the sweetest things about Easter in Italy is that the Monday after is a national holiday. Dubbed Pasquetta or “little Easter,” this is the day Romans pack their picnic baskets and head out of town to the countryside to enjoy a lazy day of good food, wine, and company. Follow their example and plan a picnic in one of Rome’s enormous public parks. Villa Pamphilj, with its manicured lawns and groves of umbrella pine trees, Villa Ada, lush and wild, and Villa Borghese with its panoramic views and lovely lake, are Rome’s largest and most welcoming parks. Traditional ingredients for this much-loved day are fava beans, hard-boiled eggs, cold meats and cheeses, and grilled veggies, such as zucchini and artichoke.

Emperor Concerto from Thursday 23 to Saturday 25

Take in a performance of one of the best-loved works in the entire classical piano canon, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto, no. 5, known by music lovers simply as the “Emperor.” Grammy-winning American pianist Emanuel Ax interprets this rousing work, with Israeli conductor Lahav Shani at the podium leading the Santa Cecilia National Orchestra. Also on the bill is Mahler’s Symphony, no. 1 Titan.”

Liberation DaySaturday 25

This national holiday commemorates the end of Nazi rule in Italy and the triumph of the Italian resistance. One of the most joyful days in Italian history, it marked the end of 23 years of Fascist dictatorship and five years of war. Since the holiday falls at one of the loveliest times of the year in Rome, Italians can be counted on to spend the day taking long aimless walks around the city. A popular passeggiata begins at the Spanish Steps, ambles down posh Via Condotti where the window-shopping will make you drool, and continues down bustling Via del Corso to Piazza Venezia, where the towering and immaculately white Altar of the Fatherland houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Kat’a Kabanova from Sunday 19 to Tuesday 28

If you’ve heard enough Verdi, Puccini, and Mozart to last a lifetime, the Teatro dell’Opera has something in store for you this month. The rarely performed Kát’a Kabanová, the first mature work by Czech composer Leoš Janáček, goes up at Teatro Costanzi, a co-production with the Royal Opera House of Covent Garden, with stage direction by Richard Jones. David Robertson wields the baton of this production made up almost entirely of British singers. The opera, which was directly inspired by Janáček’s own unrequited love story, will be performed in the original Czech with supertitles in Italian and English.

April’s Calendar

1 Spring is in the air! Celebrate with a gelato from Fatamorgana (Piazza degli Zingari).

2 Drink and dine in style at Santo, a not-so- traditional restaurant in Trastevere (p34).

3 Sip on a glass of natural and biodynamic wine at Litro in the Monteverde neighborhood.

4 Visit Co.Ro. Jewels for some wearable art inspired by Rome’s unique architecture (p25).

5 Admire the street art of the colorful Ostiense neighborhood.

6 Take a stroll through Villa Borghese, Rome’s best-loved public park

7 Take in a magical night of acrobatics at Cirque du Soleil’s new show (p53).

8 Climb the Janiculum Hill for breathtaking views of the entire city.

9 Meet Pasquino and the other talking statues, the social media of the Renaissance (p12).

10 Artichokes are in season! Try them at one of the restaurants in the Jewish Ghetto.

11 Fill up your water bottle from one of the city’s many water fountains—it’s free and fresh!

12 Happy Easter! Be sure to sample colomba, Italy’s seasonal sweet treat.

13 Devour Rome’s street food scene by sampling our favorite portable snacks (p18).

14 Toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure your return to the Eternal City!

15 Make some feline friends at Largo di Torre Argentina, Rome’s protected cat sanctuary.

16 Look as effortlessly cool as the locals do by visiting the city’s best tailors (p16).

17 In Rome on a budget? Admire a Michelangelo masterpiece for free at San Pietro in Vincoli.

18 Walk (or cycle) along the Appia Antica, one of the earliest and most important Roman roads.

19 Embellish your usual espresso with foamed milk and cocoa powder. Ask for a marocchino.

20 Teatro Costanzi hosts Kát’a Kabanová, Czech composer Leoš Janáček’s love story opera.

21 Celebrate the city’s 2773rd birthday by taking a walk through its glorious open-air sights.

22 STOMP presents its 25th anniversary show at Teatro Brancaccio.

23 Combine nature and city with a spot of urban trekking (p23).

24 Emanuel Ax interprets Beethoven’s Piano Concerto, no. 5 with the S. Cecilia Orchestra.

25 Liberation Day in Italy. Stop by the Altar of the Fatherland and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

26 Visit the final resting place of poets Keats and Shelley at the Non-Catholic Cemetery.

 27 Explore Quartiere Coppedè—a secret neighborhood with whimsical architectural details.

28 Admire Bernini’s charming elephant statue in Piazza della Minerva.

29 Catch prog-rock band Yes in concert at Auditorium Conciliazione.

30 See St. Peter’s from a new perspective thanks to an optical illusion on Via N. Piccolomini.