Woman photographing St Peter's Basilica in Rome
Stuart Bak

Best Time to Visit Rome for Weather

When planning a visit to Rome, there are a few things you should consider *besides* all those bucket-list Roman relics you want to tick off. That’s right: we’re talking about the weather. Rome’s location in west-central Italy means a generally warm climate with all the usual peaks and troughs of temperature you’d expect from a Mediterranean country in southern Europe. So what’s the best time to visit Rome for weather? Read on for our guide to all the seasonal pros and cons.

Planning to spend a few days in town? The Omnia Vatican & Rome Pass can save you money when on attractions, activities and tours, including the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, and the Circo Maximo Experience.

Best Time to Visit Rome: Spring

The Colosseum in Rome

No point beating about the bush: Rome’s spring season is hands-down the most pleasant time of year to visit. In terms of weather, average highs in March start in the low 60s, rising to the balmy mid-70s by late May, and rainfall is relatively low, so you won’t have to carry an umbrella everywhere you go. Perfect conditions, in other words, for city sightseeing: cool enough for pounding the pavements for several hours and being exposed to the midday sun at open-air bucket-listers like the Colosseum and Roman Forum, but warm enough (most definitely warm enough) to justify that daily gelato.

Rome's Trevi Fountain in spring

As the city shakes off the relative chill of winter, so the streets begin to fill with a thousand colorful blooms, presenting yet another fine reason to visit in spring. Stroll the streets for Insta-tastic snaps of pink cherry blossoms, purple wisteria and clouds of yellow mimosa, and don’t miss the pink azaleas that line the Spanish Steps in April and May. This is also when the sprawling Vatican Gardens are at their blooming best. And those clear spring skies don’t half make a great backdrop for souvenir snaps of the dome of St Peter’s either.

Best Time to Visit Rome: Summer

Friends cycling in Rome

Sightseeing masochists may well relish the searing temperatures, madding crowds and infuriating attraction queues during the height of Rome’s summer season, but it can feel a little unpleasant to most normal people. June through August is peak season in the Eternal City, when average temperatures sit in the upper 70s/lower 80s, but have been known to top out as high as 108°F, not exactly the most comfortable conditions for stomping up Capitoline Hill or the Spanish Steps (all 135 of them, each more sweaty than the last).

Friends eating ice cream

Having said all that, summer can be a great time to enjoy Rome’s great expanses of green space without the risk of a surprise downpour to ruin your picnic. We’re talking the wooded glades, leafy lanes and tranquil pools of historic Villa Borghese and the beautiful botanical gardens in Trastevere, among others. Then of course there are all those excellent rooftop bars, perfect for summer sunsets and Campari cocktails. Not to mention the people-watching opportunities afforded by the crowds that pour through Piazza Navona and Piazza di Spagna, with a dripping gelato in hand, natch. Don’t miss the chance to catch the historic Teatro dell’Opera in its temporary summer home: the ancient Roman Baths of Caracalla. It’s quite the atmospheric location for performances of La Traviata, Aida and the rest.

Best Time to Visit Rome: Fall

Sleeping cat at Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome

The temperature in Rome drops fairly rapidly in the fall, but not unpleasantly so. You can still reasonably expect September and October averages in the mid-to-high 60s, dropping down to the mid-to-high 50s by November. But what we’re really talking about is warm, comfortable days with slightly cooler evenings and an increased chance of rain: three out of four of Rome’s wettest months are in fall (the wettest, by some margin, follows in December). With peak season done and dusted and kids back in school, there are also plenty of hotel and flight bargains to be had at this time of year, and you won’t have to worry quite as much about booking all your tours months in advance nor queuing outside attractions like the Pantheon, Colosseum and St Peter’s Basilica for hours at a time.

The Appian Way in Rome

The fall’s pleasant climate makes it a great time for exploring the Appian Way. Pack a picnic of market cheeses, cured meats and fresh bread (and a light raincoat, just in case) and strike out along this ancient road, which remains largely unchanged since Julius Caesar marched his armies up it a couple millennia ago. A rented bicycle will give you the freedom to cover way more of this fine cobbled avenue than you could manage on foot in one day, allowing plenty of time to explore the numerous ancient monuments that lie beyond the lofty pines.

Best Time to Visit Rome: Winter

Snow on Rome's rooftops in winter

It will come as little surprise to European weather watchers that Rome’s winter season, from December to February, is its coldest and wettest. So yeah, you can forget balmy afternoons in Villa Borghese and sun-soaked selfies on the Spanish Steps for now; this is not the best time to visit Rome if fine weather is top of your wish list. If, on the other hand, you thrill to the promise of long afternoons gorging on hot chocolate and panettone in atmospheric cafes like the landmark Antico Caffè Greco on Via dei Condotti, or Caffè Sant’Eustachio between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, your luck’s in.

Friends at a Christmas market in Rome

December is also, of course, Christmas market season, and boy does Rome go to town on its yuletide festivities. A Christmas tree festooned with hundreds of fairy lights towers over Piazza Navona throughout the season, as the city’s biggest and best Christmas market gets underway. Wander from this artisan craft stall to that roasted chestnut hawker, drinking in the joyful atmosphere, riding the old-fashioned carousel, joining the carol singers in full festive song, and sipping warming mugs of mulled wine, a drink that was in fact invented by the ancient Romans. Magical.

Save on attractions in Rome

Save on admission to Rome attractions with the Vatican and Rome Omnia Pass. Check out @omniavaticanrome on Instagram for the latest top tips and attraction info.

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