Rome, the Eternal City, is a great destination at any time of year—with a huge variety of cultural and historic riches to explore, it matters little whether the sun is shining or there's snow on the ground. However, being a very popular destination, there are some times of year that are more crowded with tourists than others, and prices also vary depending on the season. Here are some tips for choosing the best time of year to visit Rome.

Seasonal Planning for Rome Travel

Located about halfway down Italy's western coast, Rome is well-situated as a jumping-off point to explore other regions of Italy. Plus, there's so much to see and do in and around the city that you can easily spend a week without running out of compelling sights. If you're arriving in or leaving from Rome and heading to other parts of Italy as well, then factor in the different climates and busy seasons around the country. If Rome is your prime destination, you'll have a different set of issues to consider.

Weather, religious holidays, peak tourism seasons, and budgetary concerns should play a large part in helping you decide when to visit Rome. If you're on a lower budget, you should try to visit in the low or shoulder seasons. If you want to experience the buzz of a major religious holiday like Easter or Christmas (or any number of other local festivals) then you'll likely have to visit during a busy time.

If you want to walk amid the ruins and piazzas, you will want to choose a time when the weather is pleasant but not scorching. Or, if indoor art galleries and museums are more your thing (and there are plenty of them in Rome), perhaps the weather isn't such an important factor. 

Season Average High °F/C Average Low °F/C Rainfall
Summer (June-August) 86/30 64/18 2.5 days
Fall (September-November) 71/22 52/11 7 days
Winter (December-February) 57/14 40/4.5 7 days
Spring (March-May) 68/20 48/9 6 days

Summer

Piazza Navona

Summer is very busy in Rome, and not necessarily the best time to visit. Roman summers are hot and humid; add crowds of tourists to the mix and conditions aren't always the most pleasant. While you may need to travel in the summer to fit in with your own vacation times, we would recommend aiming for earlier or later in the season to experience more pleasant weather.

Much of Europe, including Italy and Rome, takes summer holidays in August. Many people in Rome take two weeks off from mid-August, coinciding with the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th, although some people take off the entire month. Rome can be very quiet in August, and this comes with both pros and cons. The main advantage is that you'll get to experience the city without crowds. The disadvantage is the weather- Rome will be at its hottest, not ideal for strolling around open-air attractions, and many hotels, restaurants, and shops will be shut. Larger chain hotels and businesses are likely to remain open, but family-run operations tend to take a break and head to the mountains or beaches. You also will get less of a feel for local life in the city.

Summer Events in Rome

Festa della Republica, June 2. This national holiday celebrates the founding of the Italian Republic. Expect to see parades and fireworks displays in many places.

Ferragosto (Feast of the Assumption), August 15. Many Italians close their businesses or take time off for a couple of weeks around this festival.

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Fall

The Trevi Fountain in fall

Italian families return from their summer vacations and the kids go back to school in September. Fewer tourists come to Rome in the fall than in late spring and summer, so you may also be able to get some good deals on accommodation (especially later in the season). Be aware that some places shut for a few weeks in fall for annual maintenance or renovations but, in a big city like Rome, there will be plenty of options.

Early fall is, naturally, warmer than later in the season. Fall tends to be the wettest time of the year in Rome, which can hinder plans to enjoy the outdoor plazas and ruins. However, there are also plenty of indoor attractions to enjoy, like churches and galleries, so a bit of rain shouldn't ruin your stay. 

Autumn Events in Rome

Festival of the Grape, September. In a country with such a prominent wine industry, this festival held at the Basilica of Constantine in the Forum is a big deal.

Rome Jazz Festival, October. A great reason to head outside on a cool autumnal evening.

Winter

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City

Rome's winter weather tends to be chilly but not bitterly so, although cold snaps bringing snow do happen. It's also quite wet, so plan to spend time at indoor attractions, and bring a good jacket.

Most of winter (with some exceptions, mentioned below) is off-season in Rome. This means you'll be able to find cheaper accommodation prices, possibly some good airfare deals, and there will be fewer fellow tourists.

Rome draws a lot of visitors around Christmas for the Pope's Christmas Eve Mass. Italians also celebrate a number of other religious holidays during this period, including the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, Santa Lucia Day, Saint Stephen's Day, Epiphany, and other saints' days. Even if you aren't in town for Christmas itself, you can enjoy the festive atmosphere in the lead-up, including sparkling lights and nativity scenes around the place.

Winter Events in Rome

Christmas, December 25. While Christmas tends to be a family affair in Italy, travelers can attend Christmas Mass at many churches and cathedrals around the city. Midnight masses are held in many places.

New Year's Eve, December 31. Rome knows how to party, and if you happen to be in town for NYE you'll find great places to eat and drink. The Piazza del Popolo is the heart of the city's festivities, where you'll find entertainment and fireworks. 

Epiphany, January 6. As well as Christmas, Italians celebrate Epiphany in early January, which commemorates the arrival of the Three Kings after baby Jesus' birth. 

Carnevale, February/March. The exact timing depends on the date of Easter in any given year. The festival is celebrated with parades and processions of clowns and masked figures. 

Spring

St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City

Weather-wise, spring is a great time to come to Rome. It's generally warm without being too hot, making it easy and comfortable to get out and about. However, spring, especially later in the season and during Easter, is a very popular time to travel to Rome. You'll probably have to line up at most popular attractions for quite some time (we recommend that you purchase skip-the-line tickets in advance), and you'll struggle to get that perfect shot of the Trevi Fountain without dozens of heads in your way. Still, the good weather will perhaps make up for that.

As a predominantly Catholic country, Easter is a big deal in Italy, and Rome is very busy at this time. Vatican City during the Easter weekend is either unbearably crowded or spiritually charged, depending on your perspective. Hotels also tend to charge their highest prices of the year around the Easter period.

Spring Events in Rome

Festa della Donna/Women's Day, March 8. This international day is a big deal in Rome, and the state-run museums have been known to offer free entry to women on this day.

Rome Marathon, March. Whether you want to participate or just watch, the Rome Marathon is an exciting time to be in the city.

International Workers' Day, May 1. This nationwide holiday is observed with parades and a large free concert in Rome.

Further Reading for Planning Your Trip to Rome