With Spring well and truly hitting its stride, John Bensalhia surveys some of the best things to see and do this April...

April is an especially busy month for Italy. Not only does Easter come around (this year in the middle of the month), it also includes a number of long-standing traditional celebrations. These include Liberation Day, Festa Di San Marco and the birthday of Rome.

On top of this, I've also tracked down plenty of events to keep all ages happy. Whether you like food, drink, comics, crafts or a day in the wonderful wildlife, there should be something here for everyone...

Natale di Roma

Rome, 5th - 23rd April 2017

It's that time again for Rome to celebrate its birthday, and this year's bumper events package is set to do so in style.

The main time for this year's celebrations is the weekend of 21st to 23rd April, where the event climaxes with a host of special initiatives. These include a Commemoration of the Wake of the Track, the Ceremony of Palilia, and of course, a jam-packed final day.

On the Sunday, there is plenty to enjoy including a special historical parade that looks back at the rich and colourful history of Rome. A laurel wreath is also laid at the statue of Traiano while the gripping Battle of Hosts rounds off the day with a flourish. All in all, it's a memorable spectacle and a brilliant party for this famous Italian location.

Romics

Rome, 6th - 9th April 2017

For the ultimate in escapist comic book enjoyment, Romics is great fun.

It's coming to Rome between 6th and 9th April 2017, with four days devoted to comics as well as illustrations, animations and games. Competitions, events and games will be held here as well as stalls containing a stack of rare comic books and memorabilia.

Romics is highly acclaimed and attracts international interest. It's a great way to escape from the stressful hurly burly of life. The worlds of fantasy, science fiction and comic book heroes and heroines are massively popular for many, and Romics' celebration is just the thing. There are booths for comics bookshops, publishers, video games and collectors with exhibitions, premieres and various other special events adding to the enjoyment.

Botanica 2017

Villa Caruso, Tuscany, 8th - 9th April 2017

Villa Caruso is your setting for a lovely showcase of Tuscan fauna. The natural splendour of Tuscany can be seen in this exhibition of plants, flowers and trees in the outskirts of Florence in Lastra a Signa

Villa Caruso is a famed historical park, and here, during the two days of 8th and 9th April, various fauna producers and exhibitors will showcase the finest of flowers, plants and shrubs to visitors.

Among the people at this show are landscape architect Alberto Giuntoli, while other attractions include kids' creative workshops, a cooking class to prepare dishes made from edible flowers and beer tastings.

The entrance fee is €4,00 although children under 12 get in for free.

Vinitaly

Verona, 9th - 12th April 2017

The 51st edition of wine exhibition Vinitaly is about to be poured this April.

Visitors to this show can find out about the latest tastes, trends and products in the world of Italian wine. This year's line-up also includes a run of special events which will delight and inform visitors in equal measures.

The events include a tasting event called The DoctorWine Selection that presents the best in Italian red, white and sparkling wines. Vininternational meanwhile takes you around the world to sample and experience wines from places such as America, Poland and France.

Vinitalybio meanwhile is dedicated to certified organic wines made both in Italy and overseas, with stands and guided tasting sessions. There will also be an International Buyers' Lounge which is a special tasting area which is reserved only for trade visitors.

ArtEArti

Montepulciano, 15th - 25th April 2017

The 62nd edition of this acclaimed craft show will bring to you the best handcrafts in the land. Everything from ceramics to food will be showcased between 15th and 25th April in the Fortress of Montepulciano. In fact, as an Easter treat, this is especially welcome.

The theme of this year's show is 'Familiar Surroundings of the House'. Among the stall offerings will be items made from recycled materials and quality market products from the Sienese Valdichiana.

Admission to this exhibition is free and will open for these 10 days between 10am and 7pm.

Gelato Festival

Florence, 21st - 25th April 2017

How to decide the finest Italian Gelato? The battle's on again this year as the 2017 Gelato Festival stops at Florence on its quest to find the greatest in Gelato ahead of September's finale.

Gelato makers create delicious tastes for this event, and between 21st and 25th April, the people of Florence can come and enjoy the good-time feel of the festival which also includes tastings, a laboratory and a real sense of joy. It's a Summer-wide occasion that takes to the roads of both Italy and Europe.

Ludicomix

Empoli, 22nd - 23rd April 2017

This event provides a good day out for all the family. Ludicomix Bricks & Kids puts on two fun-filled days of recreational activities, exhibitions and contests for all the family to enjoy.

Traditional board games, comics, video games and exhibitions of works made with LEGO bricks will be among the fun and games on offer. The action takes place in the city centre of Empoli. Make your way to Piazza Gramsci, the Mariambini Park and the Exhibition Hall. The Mariambini Park for example will extend the new area Fantasy Park which will feature Game Associations, Role Playing Live and Historical Re-enactment.

Building the foundations for a fun family time, check out this great event!

Liberation Day and Festa Di San Marco

Throughout Italy, Venice (Festa Di San Marco), 25th April 2017

A double set of events are marked on this annual national holiday in Italy. Not only does Liberation Day recognise the end to the Nazi occupation in the Second World War, it also remembers the end of the Italian Civil War. Since 1946, a national holiday has been held – the specific date of 25th April was chosen as it was the day when the National Liberation Committee of Upper Italy announced that the  CLNAI had taken control.

On this day, memorials are held in honour of those who gave their lives, and all across Italy events like these will be held complete with specially organised concerts and festivals to mark the occasion.

While Venice will mark Liberation Day, it will also honour its patron saint on this day too. Venetians everywhere will pay tribute to St Mark in style with all kinds of events including the boat race Regata di Traghetti, carnivals, parades, markets and musicians. It's also traditional for men to give their wives and girlfriends a special bloom of a red rose.