Beyond Holy Week and Easter, from middle of March until April or spring is an excellent time to explore Rome. The heat of the sun is just right. The marble-made monuments stand out amidst the rays. There are less tourists and the temperature is warm. Another option is to go towards the end of September until start of November. The summer heat has dissipated and temperature is favorable.
Start booking rooms with a minimum of 4 months prior to your trip. The top hotels in Rome are filled up easily.
Travel Seasons in Rome
Summer is the peak season. It starts in May and lasts until the middle of September. Expect high temperature amidst the plenty of walking and long queues. Only few covered areas are available. Drink a lot of water and regularly apply sunblock. Its perk is you have more time to explore the city while you savor your gelato. However, take note of “mini-high season” or the other large events and important holidays. These include Christmas and the weeks before and after leading to New Year, Holy Week and Easter Sunday.
The shoulder season starts in spring (middle of March until start of May) and towards the end of autumn (middle of October until November). Expect that there will be less people but keep in mind that there will always be a number of tourists in Rome as it is one of Europe’s famous cities. These months offer lovely weather suited for visiting the attractions. There are people who actually prefer to visit during the shoulder season but this is also the time that discounts in hotels are rare.
Winter is low season. It starts towards the end of November until the middle of December and middle of January to start of March except during the “mini-high season”. Low season is the most ideal time to enjoy Rome with the least number of visitors. Plane tickets and hotels are cheaper. Despite the high chance of raining and cool temperature, freezing point is rare. You can actually experience some cozy sunny afternoons.
Best Time For Sightseeing
It is good opportunity to walk the Appian Way or roam around the Villa Borghese Park. August is the peak of the summer heat and the foreign crowd. It is the least among the months to roam around. Whenever is your Roman holiday, go for sightseeing during the weekdays of Tuesday until Friday as the weekends welcome the most number of visitors. During Monday, most of the museums in Rome are closed.
Best Time To Visit The Vatican
You can avoid a lot of crowd if you go during winter instead. The Vatican Museums have fewer visitors during mornings of Wednesday. This is also the same day that the Pope faces the public. Take note that the museums are off to the public every Sunday. The only Sunday that the Vatican Museums are open is during each month’s last Sunday. Admission is free on this Sunday so expect the very long lines.
The Best Time To Avoid Crowds
The season with the least number of visitors is winter. Except for the Valentine’s Day, starting January’s second week until February, the crowd is considerably less. You even have a chance to have Trevi Fountainon your own. The Sistine Chapelis spacious around this time. The other tourist spots are also not that crowded. Always remember that do not tour on a weekend. Visit the major attractions between Tuesday and Friday instead. Come in the morning, near the opening hours.
the Best Time To Go Shopping
Beyond the holidays until the middle of February, you will get the best deals in shopping. From shopping malls to outlets to small stores, there is a winter sale which Italians maximize. Apparels get large discounts. Italian shoes also have great deals. Sundays in Mercatino del Borghetto Flaminio are dedicated to shopping spree of pre-loved items from affluent Romans. Mornings of Monday are the time that plenty of shops close. Italians have their holidays in August. Most stores in the city center still do business but there are some districts that look like they have been abandoned.
Month By Month Weather in Rome
Ave. Maximum Temperature- 13°C
Ave. Precipitation– 83mm
January is the peak of winter. Temperature ranges from 8°C until 13°C during the day. Per day, sunshine lasts up to 6 hours. There are shorter days. Early January, sunset is at 5pm while by the end of January it is 5:30 pm. For 2 weeks, the rainfall reaches up to 83 mm. You have to be ready with your raincoat when you go out.
Ave. Maximum Temperature-14°C
Ave. Precipitation- 76mm
Expect a cool temperature with a touch of warmness during February. There is an additional degree by the end of the month. Still keep your rain coat handy as there are still a number of storms and rain. Sunset is at 6pm towards February’s end.
Ave. Maximum Temperature-17°C.
Ave. Precipitation- 68mm
March starts at 9°C and ends at 12°C. This is the prelude to spring. Sunshine increases as within 13 days, rainfall decreases to 68 mm. Longer days mean later sunsets like 7:35 pm at the last day of March. The weather varies from rainy to cold to sunny so better have a layered clothing.
Ave. Maximum Temperature-20°C
Ave. Precipitation- 68mm
April is complete spring time. The weather is mostly warm and sunny. There are less rainy and cool days. Sunshine can last up to 10 hours per day. Sunset is at 8pm on the last day of April. You will definitely enjoy the flowers in bloom. Clothing should be a light rain coat as well as short and long-sleeves shirts.
Ave. Maximum Temperature-24°C
Ave. Precipitation- 48mm
The sun shines more and you begin to feel the heat. The rainfall is 48 mm within 10 days. Your rain coat will be rarely used. But always bring your sunglasses. Heat and humidity set late through the month. There are cooler afternoons though. Sunset is at 8:30 pm on the last day of the month. A wrap or a light jacket will keep you warm during the night.
Ave. Maximum Temperature-29°C
Ave. Precipitation- : 41mm
The weather is ideal during the start of June. Rain becomes uncommon (41mm for 8 days) and temperature gets hotter towards the end of the month. The days are longer. The year’s longest day is June 21 with a 9pm sunset. Ladies should have a big-brimmed hat as well as light and loose clothing such as capris pants, dresses and skirts. Men should have lengthy Bermuda shorts or linen pants.
Ave. Maximum Temperature-32°C
Ave. Precipitation- 23mm
The month with the warmest temperature is July. Commonly there is minimal to no gentle wind, minimal rain, burning temperatures and a lot of sunshine. Residents of Rome, have their vacation travel to the mountains or the coast to escape the summer heat. On July 31, the sun will set at 8:30pm. The nights are sufficiently warm for you to enjoy the sunset and open-door restaurants. For both genders, light clothing is advisable.
Ave. Maximum Temperature-30°C
Ave. Precipitation- 36mm
Temperature in August is as high as 27°C then gets low at 25°C at the month’s end. As the temperature starts to cool, possibility of rain raises as well. Within 6 days, rainfall is around 36 mm. But you can still feel the heat and escape to the sea or take shelter in building with air-conditioning. The Romans have their holidays around this time, leaving the tourists in the scorching noontime heat of the city. At the end of August, there is the 7:45 sunset. Summer party is a great idea.
Ave. Maximum Temperature-27°C
Ave. Precipitation- 75mm
The weather is still lovely and warm but temperature start to decrease. At the beginning, temperature can get as high as 24°C and goes down to 19°C by the end of the month. Within 9 days, rainfall is at 68 mm. Carry a light rain coat with you.
Ave. Maximum Temperature-23°C
Ave. Precipitation- 94mm
As the leaves transform into red, the weather changes as well. The day is commonly warm and the night is relaxingly cool. The highest temperature is at 19°C. You can still check out the beach with this temperature. But as October ends, temperature drops to 15°C. Sunshine is close to 60% but within 12 days, rainfall is at 94mm. Late October signals shorter days and earlier sunsets (5pm) by 31stof October. Italy also shifts to Standard Time.
Ave. Maximum Temperature-18°C
Ave. Precipitation- 120mm
Ave. Maximum Temperature-15°C
Ave. Precipitation- 96mm
Rome can be moist and cold in December. Temperature starts at 10°C then just before New Year, it drops to 7°C. Expect a small storm or a number of rainfalls. The days are shorter until the middle of the month, with sunsets at 4:39 pm. Expect that days will be wet and the nights are cold.
Most Popular Events in Rome
La Befana or Epiphany: It is holiday celebrated nationwide every 6thof January. This signals the last day of Christmas. Parades and celebrations are all over Italy. Shoes of children are filled with toys and candies the night before that they will see in the morning. The Pope receives meaningful presents from medieval-clothed people that are part of the procession that ends in Vatican.
Feat of Saint Anthony- Less grand compared to La Befana, this is a holiday celebrated every 17thof January in Italy. Saint Anthony Abate is the animals’ patron saint. The feast is conducted on his church at Esquiline Hill. Pet-lovers bring their animals to receive a blessing.
Shopping Sales Post-Holiday– Mandated by the state, this sale runs from 6 to 8 weeks beginning January. There is no exact date but it starts after the Epiphany. Stores display signs bearing the word SALDI, the word “sales” in Italian. Great deals and discounts are available.
Carnevale or Carnival- May begin at February 3 or the start of Lent. In 2009, Rome celebrated again Carnevale (celebrations prior to Lenten season) together with the religious processions. This starts Ash Wednesday. The custom is observed in both the Vatican City and Rome. The center of action is Piazza del Popolo. Performances consist of costumed performers, dances, races and horse shows. The Piazza offers horse rides to children for free. There are also puppet shows and merry-go-round. Surrounding Castel Sant’ Angelo are a temporary ice rink and places that play upbeat music.
Festa di San Valentino or Valentine’s Day: The Italian way of celebration is pretty much like that of the Americans. It is common to eat candle-lit dinners and exchange love letters, chocolates and hearts. Locking padlocks on lamp posts, railing, and bridges is getting popular as influenced by Ho voglio di te, Federico Moccio’s best-selling book. The title means “I want you”. It has been made into a famous movie. A particular scene from the story is set in Ponte Milvio. The young couple put a chain in a lamp post at the northern edge of Milvian Bridge. They sealed it with a padlock after writing their names on the lock. The characters threw the keys to the river of Tiber wishing their long lasting love. In Rome and other parts of Italy, there are bridges and some random places that bear padlocks. Archaeological sites and government-managed museums offer buy 1 take 1 ticket for couples for Valentine’s Day.
Sales: The post-holiday sales are at their lowest to clear out the left-over items.
Festa della Donna: Celebrated each year every March 8 is the International Women’s Day. Italians call it Festa della Donna or Festival of Women. Rome is full of mimosas. Women receive a bouquet of mimosa flowers in yellow. Men pamper women. Theycook dinner and complete the household chores for their wives. They do a calming foot massage to their wives to cap off the day. They also go on a date in the clubs or in restaurants.
Caesar’s Death Anniversary: Every 15thof March or the Ides of March, the Roman Forumbecomes the venue of several cultural events. His death is remembered by role playing his murder in the archeological site of Torre Argentina. The audience comes in costume to imbibe the story.
Maratona di Roma: It is also known as the Rome Marathon held annually every third Sunday of March. It is an international event with participant all over the world. The Roman Forum is the starting point, the participant pass through Rome’s main attractions as well as the Vatican. The Colosseum is their end point.
Easter Week: Begins on Palm Sunday, but either a week of March or April. In Vatican, the Pope leads an exclusive mass in St. Peter’s Square. The Holy Mass starts at 9:30 in the morning with the Blessing of the Palms. By Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday, there is also a papal mass the same time but with the audience is fewer. St. Peter’s Basilica has a 5pm Papal mass for Good Friday. By 9:15 pm, Via Crucis or the Stations of the Cross follow. A meditation is read by the Pope in different language. The entire big cross is lighted creating a solemn experience for everyone. For Sunday, there is a 10:15 am Easter Mass presided by the Pope. When noon strikes, the Pope will appear publicly to do Urbi et Orbi or the blessing “to the City and to the World”. This takes place in the Basilica’s central loggia.
Settimana della Cultura: Commonly celebrated in the middle of April, the Week of Culture is the period when entry to archeological sites and national museums is free. Some of which are the Capitoline Museums and the National Roman Museum. The attractions not commonly open to tourists are also available for a limited time.
Birthday of Rome- Romulus established Rome in the 21stof April, 753 BC. Most of the festivities happen as April 21 nears. Entry to several archaeological sites, museums and monuments are free. The city has events simultaneously going on. Piazza del Campidoglio holds concerts. Circus Maximus has historical role-playing as this is the place where racing by chariot done here once. The river of Tiber is also the landscape of the grand fireworks.
Liberation Day: It is a nationwide holiday. It is the day that Partisans revolted and dismissed Mussolini. This is also the end of the German occupation and of World War II in 1945. Rome facilitates events such as “Historical Path of Liberation” reenacted in the square of Persian-Nuccitelli with the participation of historians and actors. In other towns, political rallies, parades and concerts are on-going.
International Workers’ Day: Labour Day is held every May 1. It is holiday nationwide. Rome sponsors a rock concert in Piazza San Giovanni for free. This is called the 1stof May Concert or Concerto del Primo Maggio. Popular songwriters and bands perform lasting through midnight starting from early afternoon.
Open House Roma: There are guided tours of Rome’s architecture studios and buildings that are free every May’s first weekend. You need to reserve your slot though ahead of time.
The Internazionali BNL d’Italia: The Italian Open Tennis Tournament also known as Italian Open takes place in the tennis courts of Stadio Olimpico from early May until the middle of May every year. To prepare for the French Open, tennis sports celebrities participate in the Italian Open that lasts for 9 days.
Festa della Repubblica: Annually every June 2, Republic Day takes place nationwide. It is Italy’s Independence Day. When the Second World War finished, by 1946 Italy became a Republic. Via dei Fori Imperiali holds a massive parade. Quirinale Gardens has the music after.
Festa di San Giovanni: Every June 24, The Feast of Saint John or San Giovanni takes place. Laterano’s Basilicadi San Giovanniholds festivities to celebrate Saint John the Baptist’s birthday. The neighborhood of San Giovanni is full of people enjoying food served from the stalls outside the basilica. Dishes include local cuisine such as herbed roasted pork or porchetta and snails. At night, torches light the piazza with fireworks and concerts.
Saints Peter and Paul Day: Takes place every June 29, the religious holiday is a day dedicated to the two most significant saints of the Catholic Church. San Paolo Fuori Le Mura and Saint Peter’s Basilica have exclusive masses.
Gay Village Festival: A popular festival in Rome, it consists of a movie fest, theatrical performances, dance parties and lively music for a span of 6 weeks.
Expo Tevere: This large arts and crafts fair happens until Ponte Cavour from Ponte Sant’Angelo, passing through the Tiber River. It runs starting early July until the middle of July. You can find in the stall a wide range of souvenirs, from unusual items to wines, to vinegars to olive oils.
Alto Roma Fashion Week: The fashion week takes place biannually. It is celebrated every start of July until the middle of July every year. It is a wonderful opportunity to see new designers, appreciate the art shows, get a glimpse of the next haute couture for winter, and witness live the famous catwalk.
Festa dei Noantri: Also known as the “Festival for the Rest of Us”. It is dedicated to the plebeian origins of Trastevere as well as that of Madonna of Mount Carmel or Santa Maria del Carmine. The Trastevere’s festival consists of sending a fine-clothed Santa Maria statue from one church to another as she is guarded by religious pilgrims and musicians. Dancing, food and wine are aplenty. The day ends with a fantastic showcase of fireworks.
Festival di Caracalla: Takes place in the Baths of Caracalla, Evenings at the Opera Under the Stars run until August’s first week from late July. The venue is Ancient Rome’s bustling social and cultural center. At present, the ruins are turned into a makeshift outdoor stage. Every summer, thousands of locals and tourists flock here.
Festa della Madonna della Neve: Takes place every 5thof August to commemorate the snowfall that took place in the summer of 352 BC. Pope Liberio dreamt of the Madonna asking him to construct a chair on exactly on the spot where the snow will fall the next day. Romans witnessed the snow fall on as what Madonna said. Basilica di Santa Maria was then constructed on the same spot. From the roof of the basilica, white petals are thrown with special lights and sounds to re-enact the scene.
Ferragosto: The official beginning of the summer vacation for the Italians is the Assumption Holiday. The main attraction sites and museums will remain open including the downtown stores. The rest will close. If the residents will not be going to the mountains or coasts, they need to participate in music and dance festivals such as Gran Ballo di Ferragosto. The squares of Rome are full of various dance shows.
Sagra dell’Uva: It is the harvest festival that happens at the start of September in the Forum’s Basilica of Constantine. The tourists have an opportunity to pay respect to the fruit grapes. Aside from plenty of folk performance and music, you can also sample grapes as well as wine and food at very affordable prices.
Notte Bianca Festival: Held in the middle of September, the White Night Festival consists of various arts, theatrical performances, dances and concerts. There are also several art galleries, museums, and shops available the whole night. Almost all types of music are played. There are also performances from the circus and magicians. You can also buy random souvenirs from the stalls.
Arts and Antique Fairs: September is the month for arts and crafts fairs. You can find a great selection of Italian crafts, antiques and art. Via Margutta’s art begins in the middle of September lasting through rest of September. Around the same time, Via dei Coronari’s antique fair kicks off. Close to Piazaa Navona, Via dell’Orso’s crafts fair happens towards the end of September.
Roma Europa Festival: Festival of Modernity happens every autumn. It is Rome’s most prominent festival for the arts and music. It lasts until November beginning from October. The Auditorium holds various musical concerts. There are also performances in the major Roman squares and theatres.
International Film Festival of Rome: It is held at Auditorium Parco della Musica every October or November’s second half. It premiers international documentaries and films as well as it stages world-class concerts and live performances. A-listers such as Martin Scorcese, Susan Sarandon, and Monica Belluci have graced the film festival’s red carpet.
Halloween: Young adults have grown fond of this foreign occasion. Party-goers wear costume for Halloween as they fill the nightclubs in Rome and dance through the night.
All Saints Day: The public holiday of November 1stis the time for Italians to pay their respect to their departed loved one. They go to the church and there are families who go to the catacombs. Many visit their loved ones’ graves in the cemeteries.
The Roma Jazz Festival: Auditorium Parco della Musica hosts local and international jazz musicians during November’s second half.
Feast of Saint Cecilia: Saint Cecilia is the musician’s patron saint. November 22 is her feast day. It is a full-day of delicious food and amazing music that takes place in the Catacombs of San Calliston and Basilica Santa Cecilia (Trastevere).
Christmas Markets: At the start of December, Christmas Markets open that last until 6thof January. The market of Piazza Navona is the top choice. Yummy Italian delicacies, religious items, kid’s toys and handcrafted presents are sold here.
Feast of the Immaculate Virgin: It is celebrated every 8thof December as a devotion to the Immaculate Conception. The Pope leads procession to Piazza di Spagna from the Vatican. He then places a garland on the Spanish Step’s statue of the Virgin Mary. He goes to Santa Maria Maggiore church for the mass.
Santa Lucia Day: Every 13thof December is the feast day of Santa Lucia. The procession ends in Saint Peter’s Square and starts at Castel Sant’Angelo.
Christmas Eve to Christmas: Christmas Eve is family time. Together you witness the placing of baby Jesus to complete the nativity in St. Peter’s Square. St. Peter’s Basilica has a midnight mass lead by the Pope, attended by several people and televised around the world. It is here that the Pope says his Christmas sermon to the Catholics.
Festa di San Silvestro or New Year’s Eve: The 31stof December is a night of several festivities across Rome. The ancient piazzas and impressive churches are fantastically decorated. The biggest public festivities are at Piazza del Popolo. While waiting for the New Year, plenty of dancing, music and of course fireworks are displayed.