I’m often asked when to go to Rome, the best time to visit Rome, the Eternal City. It depends, of course, for reasons I go into below. But read on until the end to learn which two months I consider the best time to visit Rome.
Along with Paris and London, Rome is one of the most frequently visited capitals in Western Europe. Few other cities on earth can boast an influence as enduring as la bella Roma. Whether you’re an art lover, history buff, or foodie, you won’t have a difficult time finding things to keep you occupied while in the Italian capital. Without a doubt, the memories you’ll make on a trip to La Città Eterna will linger in your mind for a lifetime.
Weather-wise, what’s the best time to visit Rome?
Rome enjoys a comfortable Mediterranean climate year-round — albeit one that’s growing much hotter — with hot and dry summers and cool, but not bone-chilling winters.
In spring season (March through May) the temperatures usually range between lows of 40°F and highs of 70°F. Summer temperatures in June, July, and August average around 85°F, however it’s usually not humid and the nights are very comfortable. From September to November average highs slowly fall from the mid-70s to the 60s and rainy days become more common. Lastly, expect temps between 35°F and 50°F in the winter months.
Festivals to keep in mind when visiting Rome
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the two most important days in the Catholic faith (i.e. Christmas and Easter) are some of the busiest times in Rome and the Vatican City. If you don’t mind crowds and want to experience the holiday season in Rome, then by all means consider visiting during these Christian holidays.
Interestingly, many tourism experts now claim that the weeks before and after Easter are more popular than Easter itself. Perhaps foreign tourists figure they’ll “miss the crowds” so long as they avoid Easter Sunday. Whatever the reason, keep this tidbit in mind when planning an Easter retreat to Roma.
Although religious festivities are central to Rome’s identity, there are many secular events foreigners could take part in. For instance, any runners reading this article should book their trip during Rome’s annual marathon that takes place every April.
Travelers into classical music, on the other hand, will appreciate visiting Rome during the Opera at Caracalla in the summertime. As the name suggests, this music festival takes place outside at the Terme di Caracalla and features some of the world’s finest operatic performers.
Finally, for party-seekers, consider visiting Rome during Carnival season before Ash Wednesday. While it might not get as much press as Venice, Rome’s Carnival season in late February and early April is just as thrilling. If you’re in Rome during these festive days, be sure to watch the opening parade on the Via del Corso, eat tasty treats like fried castagnole, and take in all the comedic street performances in various piazzas.
What are the highs and lows of Roman tourism?
The busiest times in Rome are the summer months, especially July and August. Interestingly, while there are more tourists in Rome during July and August, many Romans leave their beloved city during these months for their own holidays. Don’t be surprised to find many closed local restaurants and shops if you’re traveling around Rome during these sweltering months.
Late autumn and most of the winter (excluding Christmas) tend to be the slowest times for visitors to Rome. While you will have to wear a jacket and long pants during these months, you’ll also experience less tourism traffic and reduced rates on hotel rooms.
While springtime rates on hotels usually aren’t as cheap as in the winter, the heat is nowhere near as oppressive as the summer and there won’t be hordes of tourists (except for Holy Week and Easter).
So, what’s the best time to visit Rome?
Honestly, as long as you avoid the height of the summer season (July & August), you should enjoy la dolce vita in a comfortable and less crowded Rome. Early June and September through October are exceptional times to visit Rome due to their mild temperatures and reduced crowds. Also, you’ll have more of a selection of hotels and restaurants at reduced rates if you plan your Roman sojourn during these months.
For travelers who want to visit Rome during a major holiday, I’d recommend visiting during Easter. As mentioned above, recent tourism trends suggest that most travelers to Rome during the Easter season actually book their rooms one week ahead or after Easter weekend. While you’ll still experience crowds during the Easter season, it won’t be as hectic (or chilly!) as during Christmas.