When is the best time to visit Rome
There’s no bad time to visit Rome. The eternal city is stunning in all seasons, but October has the upper hand. The weather in Rome, Italy is cold during the winter and sweltering in the summer, but Rome in October is warm during the day and cool at night. Romans call it Ottobrata Romana, recognizing October’s beautiful weather and magical sunsets. With a visit to Rome in October you’ll be welcomed by a bounty of fall colours. The perfect autumn afternoon can be spent grabbing an aperol spritz or sipping wine in the piazza as you watch the crowds wander by. While October falls between the mad rush of the summer months and the bustle of the holiday season, it’s still considered high season, so come prepared for crowds.
October falls during the harvest season. The perfect time to enjoy food and wine festivals in Italy. Seasonally available fruits and vegetables start appearing at markets and restaurants throughout the city. At the peak of their season, you’ll want to try them all. At the top of your list of must-try food should be white truffles. A delicacy only available in fall, you’ll find them on seasonal menus, usually shaven and served raw. Another seasonal favourite is Radicchio. Although bitter on its own you’ll find that it pairs perfectly in a creamy risotto.
Rome truly comes alive in October. Many historical sites stay open later. Gallery openings and new museum shows are introduced, the markets are packed, and musical performances are hosted in the streets. After exploring Rome to your heart’s content, don’t forget to travel to one of Italy’s best foodie regions, like Le Marche. In Le Marche you can visit local vineyards, sample farm-to-table cuisine, and enjoy a taste of Italy like a local by discovering our Italy itineraries designed with the food and wine lover in mind.
Pro Tip: Food and wine lovers flock to Rome in October. So be sure to make reservations at least a week in advance for Rome’s best restaurants. They book up fast for lunch and dinner. It is recommended that you do your research before you arrive. Wondering how to find the best restaurants to dine at in Rome? Click here!
Spring in Rome
Spring time in Rome can be an adventure. In March the weather can be blue skies and sunshine one day, followed by torrential downpour the next. The flux of tourists is slow, and March is still relatively crowd-free. Depending on when Easter falls in any given year, it marks the time of year when the tourist season starts to ramp up. You’ll find that the European crowds pick up on weekends and over spring break. By the time April rolls around the weather is more mild, the days are longer and flowers start to emerge across the eternal city.
Rome in May is spectacular! The botanical gardens are in full bloom, the city-holds a free concert at San Giovanni, and the weather is practically perfect. The crowds really start to move into the city as Spring comes to a close. So while you aren’t likely to find many deals, you’ll have a better range of options available to you than in the summer months.
Pro Tip: While there’s no bad time to visit Rome, May has a few opportunities that other months don’t. The Rome rose garden is open for a limited time in May, and on May 6 you can watch the swearing in of the new Swiss Guard at the Vatican.
The Hottest Time to visit Rome
July and August are peak season in Rome. Jam packed with tourists, you’ll be queuing up to see everything from the Colosseum to the Vatican. Add 100 degree weather, bodies in close contact and it begins to sound more like an inferno than a vacation. So if you can avoid it, forgo the summer months for a more tranquil destination like Le Marche. In Le Marche you can enjoy miles of sandy beaches without the crowds of Amalfi and Puglia’s Polignano a Mare.
Pro Tip: If Rome is a must on your summer Italy vacation then be sure to budget for skip the line tickets and prepare yourself for early morning wake-up calls. This way you’ll be able to make better use of your time instead of returning home and feeling exhausted from your Roman holiday.
Fall is the perfect time to visit Rome
If you’re after a break from the heat and smaller crowds, Rome in the fall might be just the ticket. The temperatures start to drop, but the days still remain quite warm during September. With a slow return from the summer break and a reprieve from the rush of summer tourists, museums tend to offer new shows in September. October just might be the most magical time to be in Rome, as the temperatures cool, and outdoor sites stay open later.
October in Rome could also be called the best time for foodies. Popular fruits and vegetables like white truffles, funghi (mushrooms), cachi (persimmons) are in season. Aside from eating, be on the lookout for outdoor concerts and festivals, as well as arts, crafts and antique fairs. While you might run into rain towards November, the local events make a visit to Rome during the fall well worth the risk. In fact, there are years where November feels positively spring-like. To be prepared, make sure to carry an umbrella and a light jacket. And if you do encounter some showers, just think about all the time you’ll be saving by facing fewer crowds.
Pro Tip: Many museums offer free entrance on certain days (often Sundays). Do your research beforehand and you could save yourself some money, though be prepared to be fighting bigger crowds looking to save a buck.
A Winter Visit in Rome
Rome in December isn’t a winter wonderland, but does start to feel wonderfully festive as the holidays approach. There are a few major holidays starting December 8. You’ll find that some businesses close for the entire week between Christmas and New Years. However that shouldn’t chase you away. By December the summer crowds are long gone, and with the exception of Christmas, room rates are considerably lower. For those looking for a truly magical Christmas, Rome positively comes alive with lights strung up through the historic centre and nativity scenes on display.
Through the winter months the temperatures dip, with average temperatures hovering around 8 °C or 46 °F, and the lines for tourist attractions and historic sites are gone. Rome in January starts with two major holidays, New Years Eve (the biggest celebration is in Piazza del Popolo), and the Epiphany on January 6, which marks the twelfth day of Christmas. By February the holiday season is over, the prices are likely the lowest you’ll find, and Rome is practically devoid of tourists. Take advantage of the quiet and enjoy having some of Rome’s historic treasures all to yourself.
Pro Tip: The winter months are when some of Italy’s food treasures can be found. Enjoy rich stews and pasta dishes that are only served in cold weather, as well as true roman artichokes (carciofo romanesco) that can be found starting in February.