There’s no getting around it. Summer visitors to Rome will sweat. From June to August, daytime highs routinely hit the lower 90s°F and even 100°F. On top of the sun and humidity, you also have to factor in the aggravation of tourist hordes getting in your way. Summer is, after all, the height of Rome’s tourism season.
The worst time to be walking outside is between noon and 3PM when the sun is at its highest. Once you feel that Mediterranean heat for yourself, you’ll understand why so many Romans take a siesta after lunch. Consider taking a break of your own mid-day so you’ll feel refreshed for an evening stroll (aka “passeggiata”) when temps fall. Please ensure whatever hotel you’re staying at has a good AC system before booking your room.
What to Wear
Choosing your clothes carefully can help you feel refreshed even on the warmest of Roman days. Opt for lightweight and breathable clothing, especially linen. A few cool fashion accessories you should include in your wardrobe include a shady hat and protective sunglasses. Also, don’t forget to apply plenty of sunscreen every day to avoid sunburn. For those who are really feeling the heat, purchase a handy hand fan at one of the many Roman tourist boutiques.
Chill in Catacombs & Churches
Definitely don’t schedule the Spanish Steps for mid-afternoon! If you want to continue sightseeing in the heat of the day, find some way to get out of the sun. Thankfully, Rome’s many churches and catacombs offer a welcome respite from the searing sunlight.
Some of Rome’s best catacombs include the Catacombs of Priscilla, Catacombs of San Sebastiano and the Catacombs of Callixtus. For churches, there’s always St. Peter’s Basilica or the Pantheon. Want to beat the crowds and the heat? Try visiting lesser-known churches like the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva and the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli. Of course, if you plan on visiting churches, please be sure to dress modestly (that means cover your shoulders, ladies!).
Water & Gelato: A Winning Combo
The Ancient Romans were master engineers, especially when it came to aqueducts. Thirsty tourists and locals still enjoy the water from Rome’s many historic fountains. Avoid the ridiculous prices for bottled water by carrying an empty container and filling it up with clean Roman fountain water.
In addition to staying hydrated, there’s no more Roman way to cool off than by eating a cup (or two) of your favorite gelato. Don’t worry about counting calories. When in Rome, eat plenty of gelato!