“When is the best time to travel to Rome?” I have been asked this question so many times, and my answer is always the same. It depends on what you’re looking for, and in particular, what kind of person you are. My favorite time of the year in Rome is spring (it’s no surprise I was born in April!). By the time the end of March/beginning of April comes around I am so sick and tired of the cold, the wind and the rain, that I find an immense amount of joy in storing away the winter coats and boots, and bringing out the blue jeans and leather jackets!
Rome in spring is spectacular! Why? Because the delicate spring sun brings everything to life. The way the soft light reflects off some of the most beautiful Roman monuments entirely made of white marble (the Trevi Fountain, the Wedding Cake and the gorgeous Ponte Flaminio, to name a few) is breathtaking. You’ll have to see it to believe it!
The Roman parks in the spring are also fabulous. My friends and I start the season every year with a good old picnic in the park; blankets laid out, volleyballs flying back and forth, and heaps of yummy food. After all, it wouldn’t be spring if we didn’t head over to Villa Borghese or Villa Ada to soak up some well-deserved rays. The temperatures are just right, so that you can leave the house in layers, and slowly shed them as the sun rises in the sky. By the time you get to the park at lunchtime, the sunglasses are out, shoes and socks are off, and arms and legs are bare, ready to finally get some color! Maybe even dip your toes in the ponds…
And let’s not forget what else comes out in the spring besides the sun…the most juicy and delicious fresh fruits and vegetables (shout out for strawberries!!), and an explosion of colorful flowers left and right. I still get excited at the sight of the first daisies popping up in my garden!!
But that’s just my side of the story! Everyone has his or her favorite season. So, personal preferences aside, here’s a little guide on when to travel to Rome. And when you decide, we’ll also help you find some of the best deals and offers out there.
With it’s beautiful weather and the blooming of trees and flowers, Spring, brings about the birds and the bees, but also millions of tourists. You will notice a particularly intense flow of visitors toward the Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica area, during the period of Lent and Easter. Prepare yourself for the long lines, but don’t be discouraged. The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel are worth the wait!
During the Summer months, you will find the greatest number of tourists roaming around the city. Even though temperatures are high (some days even too hot!) it is the best time to travel to Rome if you dream of sitting in one of the many piazzas eating gelato, day and night, avoiding any rain, and getting a fantastic tan wile walking around the Roman ruins. But beware of the long lines under the sun at the most popular tourist attractions!
Beware of the ferragosto period. Around August 15th, most of the city shuts down as Italians finally take their summer holidays and move to their seaside residences. Make sure to check for any limited schedules beforehand. If transport is poor year-round, in August you better leave the house wearing comfortable shoes!
At Christmas time, Rome can get quite rigid and cold, by Roman standards. It is, however, still a beautiful and popular time to visit the city. The Christmas lights make Rome even more magical than usual. The Christmas markets, particularly the most famous one in Piazza Navona, are simply fairylike. The cotton candy and candied apple stands, the merry-go-round and the stands filled with Christmas decorations of all kinds. A full-blown fun fair right in the center of Rome!
The periods between April and June, and September to October, are known as the shoulder season. Many tourists wait until this period to visit Rome, as you can often find reduced prices for flights, hotels and tours. However, tourists are wise and often choose to visit during these months precisely for this reason, so if you choose to visit during the shoulder season, make sure you book your flights and hotels well in advance.
November and February are considered the low season and you are likely to find the least amount of tourists wandering around Rome. November has the greatest number of rainy days, and February can be quite cold and unpleasant. However, if you are looking for very low hotel rates, less crowded museums, and a real local experience, maybe this is precisely when you should visit!