The beauty and timeless grandeur of Rome are bound to connect with your soul no matter what time of year you visit, but if you want to come when the weather is warm without being sizzling hot and the crowds are manageable, visit in April (outside of Easter week), May or September. In the summer, temperatures can reach the high 90s, making sightseeing a bit miserable. Many feel the very worst time to go to Rome is in August when it will be uncomfortably hot and the locals will be on holiday, which means the city will be jam-packed with tourists. Winter comes minus the stress and sweat of the high season, with the weather cool and crisp. It can be a good time to avoid the crowds with street life in swing in every season. There will be heaters set up around outdoor restaurant tables although the shops and some attractions may have shorter hours.
Sightseeing in Rome is best enjoyed without the thick crowds or the sweltering heat of summer. While it can never be guaranteed the best time to visit Rome for sightseeing is generally from around mid-March to May (other than Easter week) and again from late September through early November. While you probably won’t find discounted room rates, temperatures tend to be quite pleasant during these periods and the tourist crowds won’t be at their peak. The winding streets with their timeless elegance, luxury boutiques and unmissable landmarks like the Pantheon, will be enjoyable to stroll. You won’t need more than a sweater in the evening while soaking up the atmosphere after dark. If you visit in the spring, you can take advantage of the soft light that reflects off the white marble Roman monuments. Autumn visitors will be able to enjoy the changing colors with a walk on Appian Way or a stroll through Villa Borghese Park.
The best accommodation in Rome should be booked well in advance. Italy is one of the world’s top travel destinations and its most popular cities, including Rome, sees millions of tourists every year. The Eternal City is one of the most visited places in all of Italy, drawing 10.5 million in 2022. North American travelers who are dreaming of a trip here, need to plan ahead to avoid disappointment, otherwise, those who are savvy will get the best rooms. If you’re looking for a room in the historic center, perhaps one with a magnificent view that’s within walking distance to major attractions, to ensure availability you need to reserve months ahead. The sweet spot for booking Rome hotels between April and October is five to 10 months in advance. If you’re planning to visit between November and March (outside of Christmas and New Year’s holidays), four months ahead is usually sufficient.
The Vatican is the most popular tourist destination in Rome, attracting visitors during every season and from across the globe. This isn’t a place where you’ll be able to avoid the masses, but it is possible to explore when there are fewer visitors. Winter (outside of the Christmas holidays) is generally your best bet, but no matter when you go, it’s best to avoid weekends and Wednesdays if you’re on a tight schedule as the city is usually busier during those times. Surprisingly, early mornings tend to be the worst, with many under the impression that it would be less crowded, resulting in quieter afternoons. While the Vatican museums are closed on most Sundays, they are open and free on the last Sunday of every month. This is the worst time to visit of all, as you’ll have to wait in line for at least three hours.
Explore Vatican City on our 7-Night Rome & Amalfi Escape Tour.
Rome is a great place to shop, with streets filled with everything from wallet-friendly boutiques to upscale fashion houses. The best time for bargain shopping in Rome is just after the end of the holiday season through around mid-February. This is when you can save a significant amount on clothing, especially on larger Italian sizes. The winter sales attract Italians from around the country to take advantage of discounts at shopping malls, outlets and mom-and-pop shops. Many of the smaller, family-owned stores shut down during the month of August when most Italians enjoy their month-long vacations, as well as Monday mornings. Most of the shops in the central area of the city will be open, however. If you want to enjoy some of the best fashionista bargains, plan to visit Mercatino del Borghetto Flaminio on a Sunday. There will be some 200 exhibitors selling the wardrobes of their rich friends.
Spend some free time exploring Rome’s shops on our 8-Night Highlights of Italy Tour.
Rome doesn’t have a low season, with tourists visiting year-round. Still, accommodation rates will be at their lowest between November and March, outside of Christmas and New Year, which is also an indication of thinner crowds. Arguably, the very best time to visit Rome for thinner crowds is the second half of January and perhaps early February, before things pick up again around Valentine’s Day. If you can come during this time, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy sights like the Trevi Fountain with only a handful of others around. Your odds are better if you can visit the major sites on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday early in the morning. The winter months see the smallest crowds in the Vatican as well, so if you can visit in January or February, you’ll enjoy a more relaxed experience that allows you to take in the museums and more at a slower pace.
Discover more of what Rome has to offer on our 11-Night Luxury Italy Tour.
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