Best Time To Visit Rome

It might sound clichéd, but Rome has something for everyone, in every season.

The best time to visit Rome will depend on your tolerance for crowds, how you handle the local weather, and knowing beforehand what attractions might be closed during your visit.

Planning can help you make the most of your Roman holiday.

Rome has a mediterranian climate, so it never gets cold like the east coast of the United States or Scotland in winter.

Snow? Yes, it did snow in Rome in Feb 2012. That was after a gap of 30 years… an extremely rare affair. And if it did snow, it’s a sight you wouldn’t want to miss.

            Snow in Rome (Picture courtesy Stefano Avolio)

Most of the famous sites like the Colosseum, the Vatican Museum, The Forum, and the Piazza remain open throughout the year except for a few Christian and State holidays.

The “tourist season” starts in June and lasts till September of every year. This time of the year the weather in Rome is relatively warmer and sometimes muggy. Schools are out in most parts of Europe and you can expect a lot of tourists in all of the famous places.

It’ doesn’t matter what time of the year you’re visiting  Rome, it has unique things to offer every month. Find out what Rome has in store the month you are planning to visit.

Rome in January

Avg Temperature: High 55 F (13C) and Low 36 F(2C)
Sunshine Hours/ Daylight Hours: 3.9hrs / 9.5 hrs (the sun is out for a limited time)
Holidays: 1st and 6th January
Avg Rainy Days: 7
Sunrise Times in Jan 2019: 7:51 am to 7:35 am (earlier sunrise as the month progresses)
Sunset Times in Jan 2019: 15:21 pm to 15:46 pm

You can expect crowds who are in Rome to celebrate New Year’s to remain till the first week of January. The tourists start thinning after the 6th of January when Epiphany and Befana celebrations take place. In the Vatican city, this affair is celebrated with a procession of people dressed like medieval times. There’s also an annual sale that happens on that weekend.

Most famous spots in Rome will not have long queues after the 6th of  January. If you’re lucky you could also have the Trevi Fountain all to yourself during this time.

Although it’s cold, it’s not freezing.

Most attractions housed inside stone monuments can get cold, so dress appropriately. Dressing in layers makes the most sense for Rome, almost all around the year.

Also, the sun is not out for a very long time in January; if you are a photo buff, make sure you carry good low light photo gear.

What to Carry

Broken-in shoes, Scarf, Coat, Gloves, Warm Socks, Turtlenecks, Long Sleeves, Thin Sweaters, Windcheater/ Umbrella (for the rain), Waterproof Shoes, Lip Balm/ Chapsticks/ Moisturizers.

Rome in February

Avg Temperature: High 57 F (14C) and Low 37 F(3C)
Sunshine Hours/ Daylight Hours: 4.7hrs / 10.6 hrs
Holidays: Vatican museum is closed on 11th February (Vatican foundation day)
Avg Rainy Days: 8
Sunrise Times in Jan 2019: 7:34 am to 6:57 am
Sunset Times in Jan 2019: 15:46 to 16:24 pm

February in Rome isn’t very different from January, weatherwise. You’ll get about an hour of daylight more than January.

The crowd is minimal. 14th February is Valentine’s day and if you’re here with your partner, it makes for a wonderful romantic getaway.

Carnival or Carnivale is celebrated at the end of February(25th Feb 2020) or the beginning of March. The celebrations start 10 days before, with people dressing up in masks and participating in parades near Piazza Navona and Via del Corso. There are concerts, horse parades, and fireworks during this time.

The most important thing to pack no matter what season you come to Rome is a good pair of broken-in walking shoes because there’s a lot of walking that you’ve got to do while in Rome.

The essential packing list remains the same as January. Dress in layers and carry your extras in a very small backpack/ tote.

November to February are the least crowded months in Rome.

What to Carry

Scarf, Coat, Gloves, Warm Socks, Turtlenecks, Long Sleeves, Thin Sweaters, Windcheater/ Umbrella (for the rain), Waterproof Shoes, broken-in shoes & Lip Balm/ Chapsticks/ Moisturizers.

Backpack policy in most monuments:

Officially backpacks aren’t allowed. But you might see people carrying small backpacks which are scanned during security checks, implying the rule isn’t set in stone.

 Pantheon in Rome

Rome in March

Avg Temperature: High 62 F (17C) and Low 40 F(4C)
Sunshine Hours/ Daylight Hours: 5.4hrs / 12 hrs
Holidays: Vatican museum is closed on 19th March (St Joesph’s Day)
Avg Rainy Days: 7
Sunrise Times in Jan 2019: 6:55 am to 7:03 am
Sunset Times in Jan 2019: 16:25 to 18:26 pm

The weather in February through March is a hit and miss. Some days are sunny and on some days it might rain. But the crowds are lower than peak season.

It remains cold and could rain on and off. Dress in layers and carry your extras in a very small backpack/ tote.

A good pair of broken-in walking shoes, a scarf, and some rain gear are essential.

The hop-on-hop-off buses generally start operating in the second half of March. This is the cue that Rome has tourists coming in.

If you plan to come, you can book your tour tickets online, especially for the Colosseum and Vatican Museum.

Daylight savings in Europe starts on the last Sunday of March. Adjust your clocks accordingly if you have plans on Monday.

What to Carry

Scarf, Coat, Warm Socks(optional), Long Sleeves, Thin Sweaters, Windcheater/ Umbrella (for the rain), broken-in shoes & Lip Balm/ Chapsticks/ Moisturizers(optional).

Rome in April

Avg Temperature: High 66 F (19C) and Low 44 F(7C)
Average Sunshine Hours/ Average Daylight Hours: 6.7 hrs / 13.4 hrs
Holidays: 12th,13th, and 25th. Vatican museum is closed on 13th April (Easter Monday)
Avg Rainy Days: 9
Sunrise Times in Jan 2019: 7:02 am to 6:18 am
Sunset Times in Jan 2019: 16:29 to 19:42 pm

In April it is generally warm during the day although you might get a cloudy/rainy day in between. And if it does rain it could get chilly.

Sometimes the morning and evenings are chilly but the day remains warm, even hot at midday if the sun is shining.

A light jacket or a buttoned sweater/cardigan should be enough. As I mentioned before, it’s better to wear layers that you can put on or remove depending on the weather. You’ll need a daypack to carry around the extra stuff.

10th April is Good Friday, although businesses are not closed its a solemn affair.

Easter Sunday and Monday are on April 12th & 13th when most business establishments, shops and restaurants are closed. During this period there are generally a good number of religious visitors in Rome.

Because the Vatican museums are closed on Easter Sunday and Monday, the rush of visitors might fall before or after the holidays. It’s ideal if you book your tickets in advance if you’re visiting Rome and want to visit the Vatican museum around this time.

If you plan to visit St Peter’s Basilica, you should check whether there’s a papal mass on the day you are planning a visit, so that you don’t end up there when the Basilica is closed.

25th April is liberation day; Italy celebrates its liberation from German occupation. It’s a public holiday and most schools, offices, and shops remain closed.

The beginning of April is less warm. The stream of visitors starts increasing steadily, as the peak season approaches.

If you like to see the not so famous sites, you could visit the smaller, less-visited museums or sites.
A few recommendations would be the Baths of Caracalla and Ostia Antica even on a free Sunday. You could also visit Palazzo Venezia and Crypta Balbi.

If you don’t want to miss the Roman Forum you could try it on the first free Sunday, but you’ve got to get there early. Colosseum isn’t a good idea on free Sundays.

During and after lunch hours are generally less crowded at the most famous spots.

This is a repetition: A good pair of broken-in walking shoes, a scarf, and some rain gear are essential.

What to Carry

Jacket/ Cardigan, Long Sleeves, Thin Sweaters, Windcheater/ Umbrella (for the rain), broken-in shoes.

The site where Julius Cesar was assassinated

Rome in May

Avg Temperature: High 75 F (24 C) and Low 51 F(11C)
Average Sunshine Hours/ Average Daylight Hours: 8.5 hrs / 14.6 hrs
Holidays: 1st
Avg Rainy Days: 6
Sunrise Times in Jan 2019: 6:17 am to 5:51 am
Sunset Times in Jan 2019: 19:48 to 20:21 pm

May is when the sun is out for almost 10 to 12 hours on average. The day is long so you’ll have plenty of time to take in the sights. It starts out warm at the beginning of May and gets hotter by the end.

Showers aren’t unheard of in May.

In warmer weather, you can get comfortable in your skirts, shorts, and sleeveless tops. But if you’re going to a church you’ll require appropriate clothing. You’ll need to keep your shoulders and knees covered, which means no shorts for men. And even if women wear sleeveless, you should carry a scarf of some kind to cover your shoulders, when inside a church.

Don’t wear flip-flops. As comfortable as they might be, they are difficult to walk on cobblestone roads.

It can get humid and muggy in the latter part of the month, so wear light colored, cotton clothes if possible.

Don’t forget your sunglasses, sunscreen, and sun hats.

1st May is Labor Day, a national holiday and most attractions remain closed. Depending on what part of town you are in, you might find shops and restaurants open, although schools, banks, and offices will remain closed.

What to Carry

Windcheater/ Umbrella (for the rain), broken-in shoes, sunglasses, sunhat, sunscreen.

 

vatican museum The Vatican Museum

Rome in June

Avg Temperature: High 83 F (28 C) and Low 58 F(14 C)
Average Sunshine Hours/ Average Daylight Hours: 9.5 hrs / 15.2 hrs
Holidays: 2nd and 29th
Avg Rainy Days: 4
Sunrise Times in Jan 2019: 5:51 am to 5:52 am
Sunset Times in Jan 2019: 20:23 to 20:42 pm

The tourist season in Rome starts in June.

Summer break in Schools all over Europe starts from the 1st/2nd week of June which lasts until September. Summer break in the United States starts in May and schools don’t reopen until August, so there will be a fair amount of school students and families that you will find in Rome during this period.

Republic Day or Festa della Repubblica, is celebrated on 2nd June. It’s equivalent to the 4th of July celebrations in the United States. There are military parades as well as flyby by the national acrobatic teams.

Shops, museums, tourist sites, and restaurants are either closed or have reduced hours on 2nd June.

29th June is celebrated as a remembrance to the martyrdom of the patron saints of Rome, St Peter, and St Paul. It’s a public holiday, only in Rome.

There are solemn celebrations at the Vatican. Volunteers build a flower carpet outside the Vatican that runs towards the Tiber river. Fireworks light up the whole Rome sky in the evening.

June is usually hot. If you are visiting the Vatican Museums only some rooms are no air conditioning. With many visitors, it could get stuffy at times. You could carry a hand fan in case you feel uncomfortable.

Book tickets for the Colosseum, Forum & Vatican museum, online and early.

What to Carry:

Broken in shoes, sunglasses, sunhat, sunscreen.

Rome in July

Avg Temperature: High 89 F (32 C) and Low 62 F(17 C)
Average Sunshine Hours/ Average Daylight Hours: 10.7 hrs / 14.9 hrs
Holidays: None
Avg Rainy Days: 2
Sunrise Times in Jan 2019: 5:38 am to 6:02 am
Sunset Times in Jan 2019: 20:49 to 20:29 pm

Rome gets the highest temperatures of the year in July. Temperatures touch the 90’s(F) or 32C. There’s almost no rain or breeze.

The humidity starts increasing from mid of June and it could become considerably muggy in July. July also gets the longest sunshine hours.

If you are in Rome in July it’s best to start your day early, before the midday sun is out. Do all the visiting you can do, take a little rest at noon and then start again in the evening.

There are no official holidays in July, but most schools in North America and Europe have summer breaks during this time.

If you have already seen the popular tourist attractions in Rome, and want to venture out to the not so popular places you could take half-day trips to San Paolo, Parioli or Prati.

Book tickets for the Colosseum, Forum, Vatican museum, online and early. The Colosseum can handle only 3000 people at one time, and this time can get very busy.

What to Carry

Broken in shoes, sunglasses, sunhat, sunscreen, comfortable cotton clothes.

Rome in August

Avg Temperature: High 86 F (30 C) and Low 64 F(18 C)
Average Sunshine Hours/ Average Daylight Hours: 9.6 hrs / 13.8 hrs
Holidays: 15th. Vatican City is closed on the 14th and 15th of August.
Avg Rainy Days: 3
Sunrise Times in Jan 2019: 6:03 am to 6:34 am
Sunset Times in Jan 2019: 20:28 to 19:45 pm

The temperatures are a little lower than July but still hot and humid. It does get muggy and sticky in August in Rome. The Roman Forum, the Colosseum or Vatican City, not the museum, don’t offer any shade, so be sure to bring your sun hats and sunglasses.

If you are not used to humid environments you might get tired by midday, so it’s best to break up the day into two parts. Similar to July.

If you can, plan to be inside the museums or galleries during the day. Even though it’s hot most churches will require you to cover your knees and shoulders, bear that in mind.

15th August is the Feast of Assumption: it’s believed on this day Virgin Mary ascended to heaven.

Most people go out of town to the beach or the mountains. You’ll find considerably fewer people in town that day and won’t get a lot of local crowd at the museum or the famous spots. August is generally not as crowded as June and July. Even locals tend to take family vacations during this time.

What to Carry

Broken in shoes, sunglasses, sunhat, sunscreen, comfortable cotton clothes.

spanish stepsThe Spanish Steps, Rome

Rome in September

Avg Temperature: High 82 F (28 C) and Low 58 F(14 C)
Average Sunshine Hours/ Average Daylight Hours: 7.9 hrs / 12.5 hrs
Holidays: None
Avg Rainy Days: 6
Sunrise Times in Jan 2019: 6:35 am to 7:05 am
Sunset Times in Jan 2019: 19:44 to 18:54 pm

The temperatures start to fall in September, but not drastically. Though it’s still official high season the crowds start to decrease as most schools reopen around Europe.

Humidity starts decreasing in the second half of September, and it’s more comfortable than July or August.

A word of caution, the nights can get cold in September. Especially in hotels that are in stone buildings. You might want to pack a couple of pairs of socks and a pair of pajamas.

You should book your tickets early if you are traveling to Rome during the tourist season that is June through September.

What to Carry

Broken in shoes, sunglasses, sunhat, sunscreen, comfortable cotton clothes, socks, pajamas.

Rome in October

Avg Temperature: High 72 F (22 C) and Low 51 F(11 C)
Average Sunshine Hours/ Average Daylight Hours: 6.3 hrs / 11.1 hrs
Holidays: None
Avg Rainy Days: 8
Sunrise Times in Jan 2019: 7:06 am to 6:40 am
Sunset Times in Jan 2019: 18:52 to 17:06 pm

October is a good time to visit Rome. It’s warm yet comfortable during the day, even though it could get muggy on somedays, but way better than July or August.

At night the weather is cool, it might rain on some days but it doesn’t usually pour. You might get some rain so it’s good to carry an umbrella or poncho. Even if you don’t have one there will be enough people selling them for a couple of euro’s outside most tourist attractions

The later part of October is usually cooler than the first part.

The last Sunday of October is the end of Daylight savings time. You’ll need to roll your clock back an hour. If you are traveling the following Monday, it’s important to remember this.

What to Carry

Broken in shoes, sunglasses (optional), comfortable cotton clothes, socks, pajamas, umbrella/ windcheater.

Rome in November

Avg Temperature: High 62 F (17 C) and Low 42 F(6 C)
Average Sunshine Hours/ Average Daylight Hours: 4.3 hrs / 9.8 hrs
Holidays: 1st
Avg Rainy Days: 10
Sunrise Times in Jan 2019: 6:41 am to 7:16 am
Sunset Times in Jan 2019: 17:04 to 16:40 pm

In November the weather is mild, but it does rain.

November has the maximum number of rainy days in the year. It could be a little humid at the beginning of the month but tends to become comfortable by the end.

1st November is All Saints Day, it’s a public holiday so public offices are closed. Most museums and shops remain open, but the Vatican museum is closed on this day. Prayers are offered at the Vatican at noon when St Peter’s Basilica is closed. You can visit the Basilica before and after the prayers.

As 1st November is a holiday you can expect longer than usual queues at the Colosseum, Forum, and the usual tourist spots.

In the first week of November, many schools in Europe have Autumn Break and Rome can be a popular destination during this time. So if you can, plan your trip after the 6th of November.

You can get the best bargains on hotels, this time of the year.

What to Carry

Broken in shoes preferably waterproof, scarf, gloves (optional), comfortable socks, pajamas, umbrella/ windcheater.

chirstmas in romeChristmas in Rome

Rome in December

Avg Temperature: High 56 F (13 C) and Low 38 F(3 C)
Average Sunshine Hours/ Average Daylight Hours: 3.6 hrs / 9.2 hrs
Holidays: 8th, 25th, and 26th
Avg Rainy Days: 9
Sunrise Times in Jan 2019: 7:17 am to 7:37 am
Sunset Times in Jan 2019: 16:39 to 16:48 pm

The days are shortest in December and the weather is cold but not like the English Midlands. It rarely dips below 30F. Some days could be a little windy too.

Rome gets a lot of visitors during December, so if you’re traveling make reservations early.

Accommodations get expensive during this month, especially from Christmas to New Year up until the 6th of January.

8th December is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Vatican museums remain closed.

The pope visits the Piazza Mignaneli, where he offers a wreath to Madonna. The firemen then replace the older wreath with the new one on the arm of the statue of Madonna. Most businesses remain open, but some streets might be closed to traffic.

Almost everything remains closed on the 25th. Transportation is limited on Christmas days and stops early on Christmas eve. The Vatican museums remain closed on the 25th and 26th of December.
If you are planning to visit the museums or galleries, do check their hours individually.
Christmas decorations start about 10 days before.

The streets of Rome transform into a magical place during December. There’s a big Christmas tree set up in front of the Colosseum by the city. A holiday market comes up in Piazza Navona. Christmas decorations and little lights adorn most piazzas. It’s pretty to look at night when the booths are all lit up.

The nativity scenes are built by the Vatican in the St Peter’s square and unveiled on Christmas eve. You’ll also see these scenes built in small shops, local houses, and churches.

26th December is celebrated as St Stephen’s day, it’s a holiday and banks, shops and most offices will remain closed. The Vatican museum remains closed on the 25th and 26th of December. Many consider this time of the year as the best time to visit Rome.

Buono Feste is how you wish happy holidays in Italian. Spread some cheer with people you meet during the holiday season.

From Christmas till New Year’s eve there are several open-air concerts, outdoor parties, and acrobats at one of the piazzas or monuments. There are also special sightings and opening hours of museums which you’ll have to check individually.

What to Carry

Broken in shoes preferably waterproof, jacket, socks, pajamas, umbrella/ windcheater.

Online Tickets

Colosseum: https://www.coopculture.it/en/colosseo-e-shop.cfm

Tickets are priced at €16 + €2 (online reservation fee) for adults. These are ordinary entrance tickets.

If you require an audio tour/ guided tour or want to visit the underground or visit Colosseum at night the ticket prices vary from €20 – €24.

Forum & Palatine Hill: The combined tickets for Colosseum is good for visiting the Forum and Palatine hill. You’ll have to use the ticket at the Colosseum first and visit the Forum & Panentine within the next 24 hours.

Vatican Museum: https://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/do?action=booking

Tickets are priced at €17 + €4 (online reservation fee) for adults for visiting the Vatican museum and the Sistine chapel.

Other options range from guided tours, visiting the Vatican gardens an included breakfast and/or lunch at the Vatican, night tours and the hidden Vatican tours. You can check them all at the ticketing link provided above.

 

We wish that this helped you make up your mind. Leave a comment and tell us what according to you is the best time to visit Rome and why.

Show Comments

No Responses Yet

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.