Rome in July is hot hot hot!
This is the time of year for shorts, sandals and lots of water.
The warm, breezy nights are ideal for a summer stroll, and there are plenty of outdoor night events.
And with long, sunny, blue-sky days, and very little rain, Rome shows off her summer glow and is breathtakingly beautiful.
Here's what you need to know:
The weather in Rome in July is hot and humid.
Even nights are muggy and steamy, although sometimes it can rain and we get a little cool-down.
The days are very long, which means it's a good time to enjoy the city early in the day, and then again later in the afternoon, with an indoor lunch or nap break in the middle of the day.
During the day it's in the mid 30's C / mid 90's F, and in the evenings, it's in the low 20's C / low 70's F.
These are my personal recommendations for what to pack for your visit to Rome in July:
With the warm weather, a lot of people want to walk around Rome in shorts. While Romans won't dress this way, you can, of course, if you want to. But if you are visiting any church (that includes the Vatican and Vatican Museums), or other Christian site, you cannot have bare knees. These hiking pants with removable leg are perfect for a quick change.
A good sun hat with UPF is key in summer months. It will help keep you cool and protect you from the sun's harmful rays. I love my Wallaroo hat: it's got great sunblock, it's foldable, lightweight and comfortable.
Men, women and children should wear hats. Something lightweight, with sunblock, that you can easily fold up and carry, and that's washable, is ideal!
A maxi skirt is another good way to be cool and comfortable while sight-seeing, but also appropriate for visiting any Christian sites like churches and catacombs.
Lightweight linen pants are also great for comfort and sightseeing, and going out to dinner in the evenings.
Trust me I am not crazy when I tell you to bring a scarf with you to Rome. For July, this means a very lightweight all-cotton/linen scarf. Why? First, you can wear it on the plane or anywhere chilly. Second, it's perfect for carrying around with you, so you can cover up those bare shoulders to visit a church. This goes for men and women. And third, well of course you will be fashionable, just like a Roman!
I've seen more and more people walking around in the sun with an umbrella. While I personally wear a hat, I do see the appeal of carrying an umbrella, as a parasol, to keep cool and in the shade. This super-lightweight, UV-protection travel umbrella is a great idea since it's useful for other seasons too!
For more ideas about what to pack for Rome, and a packing list, visit my page all about this.
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For sight-seeing in July in Rome, here is the ideal way to dress:
At this point in the season, I see many people walking around Rome wearing tank-tops. Depending on your sensitivity to sun, you may want to consider wearing a t-short or other light short-sleeved top that covers your shoulders.
And, as with shorts, if you plan to visit any churches or other Christian site, you will not be allowed in with bare knees or bare shoulders. Especially if you are going to the Vatican, you will need to dress appropriately. And if you are just out sight-seeing, make sure to at least bring a scarf to cover your shoulders if you decide last minute to pop into a church (one way to keep cool by the way!)
In July, you can expect Rome to be very hot and muggy, especially during the day. The days are really long, so it's great to get up early and sight-see before the mid-day heat and sun kick in.
There are a lot of outdoor nighttime things to do and it's wonderful to be outside in the late afternoon and evening, and soak up the warm air and beautiful light.
In some ways, July is not high season in Rome: many Italians who travel this month prefer the beaches. And so do other visitors. So hotel rates drop a little from June.
On the other hand, July is a month for summer travel for families and anyone travelling based on the school calendar. So, yes, you will find Rome crowded in July, in particular the main tourist attractions like the Colosseum, Pantheon and Vatican.
July is a fantastic time to eat all those delicious summer fruits like peaches, apricots, plums and melons. Tomatoes are at their summer best so you will find many varieties in all shapes, sizes and even colors.
Summer is also a great time to eat vegetables like spinach, zucchini, eggplant and peppers. You may find eggplant parmesan (melanzana alla parmigiana) all year long in Rome, but believe me, it is so much more delicious in summer, when all the ingredients are in season.
Fennel is another very popular vegetable in Italy, and it's in season in summer. One of my favorite summer salads you can easily find in Rome is made with super thinly sliced fennel, meaty black olives, and juicy orange pieces. It's very tasty, refreshing, and healthy.
July is the time for not only sight-seeing in Rome, but also for enjoying the city outdoors. It's a time for outdoor opera, rock concerts, and nighttime cultural events among the ruins of Ancient Rome.
In Italy, we have sales twice a year: once in winter and once in summer. In summer, they usually they begin on the first Saturday of July. In 2016, summer sales start Saturday July 2.
It also means that starting in July, the new fall fashions will begin to appear in stores. I personally have a hard time trying on pants, sweaters and jackets in the summer, but it's the time to buy if you want to stock up with any new fall wardrobe items.
July is the time to be outside. There is a lot to do in Rome that's free, outside, and at night. So let's start with what's free (some of which also happens to be outdoors):
On the first Sunday of every month, state-run museums and archeological sites are free for everyone.
On Sunday July 3 2016, the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine are free but will be packed. I'd recommend visiting some lesser-visited sites, like Caracalla Baths or Palazzo Altemps. For a complete list of free sites/monuments, visit the Rome Tourist Board (the site is most complete in Italian.)
On the last Sunday of the month, the Vatican Museums are open and free. Hours are 9am - 2pm, with last entry at 12:30. No reservations are possible and tours don't generally go this day. If you don't show up long before 9am, you risk waiting more than an hour, even two, in line, and not getting in.
If you are on a tight schedule and this is the only day you can go, or a tight budget, then this is a great opportunity. But otherwise it is usually better to book your visit ahead of time and pay to go another day.
From June 10 through early September, enjoy the annual outdoor festival, Roma Estate Lungotevere, along the banks of the Tiber River.
Entry is free, but you can also eat, drink, listen to music, watch movies and shop. Prices vary. On both sides of the Tiber, between Ponte Garibaldi and Ponte Sublicio (entries near Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere.) Click the link to the left for a full program including cinema showings.
From June 1 - August 1, enjoy free movies under the stars, in the lovely Piazza San Cosimato in Trastevere.
Put on by I ragazzi del Cinema America, you can see a movie every night starting at 9:15pm. Movies range from Disney/Pixar, to Italian Comedy, to Scorsese to documentaries. Most are in Italian with English subtitles. The link at left is in Italian only but will show you the entire program.
Bruce Springsteen is coming to Rome! On July 16, he'll be playing at Circus Maximus, a huge field just below the Palatine Hill. That allows for a lot of fans to come watch, and a gorgeous setting!
Get tickets to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in Rome on July 16 at Circus Maximus.
In summer, concerts and operas are held in the Caracalla Baths. These ancient ruins are beautifully lit, and make for an amazing setting for these shows.
Shows in Rome in July 2016 include concerts by Neil Young, Lionel Richie, and 2Cellos. Operas include Nabucco, The Barber of Seville and Madame Butterfly.
For the complete schedule and to purchase tickets, visit TicketOne.
The below nighttime things to do in summer are mostly outdoor things to do in Rome (except for visiting the Vatican Museums on Fridays.) They are not free and should be booked in advance.
Now through fall, you can visit the Colosseum at night! This is a very special thing to do as you see the colosseum from a very different point of view. Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday nights from 8pm to midnight. 20€ and not to be combined with the Roman Forum. Not part of Roma Pass.
Click the photo to go to the official website and online ticket office, or, if you'd like a more complete night tour, click here.
Now through fall, you can visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill at night! This is a new thing being offered and it should be just amazing! Open Fridays only from 8:15 - 10:45pm. 15€ and not to be combined with the Colosseum. Not part of Roma Pass.
Click the photo to go to the official online website and ticket office.
One of the best night shows in Rome for the third year running, I highly recommend this wonderful laser/hologram/light show in the Forum of Augustus (along the Via dei Fori Imperiali, leading to the Colosseum), that brings the whole place to life. Combine it with the light show of Julius Caesar's Forum and you will really have a sense of Ancient Rome. Amazing and special thing to do in Rome!
Various 40-minute shows from about 8pm. 15€ for one show, or 25€ for combined ticket of both shows.
Click the photo to go to the official website of "Viaggio Nei Fori." Advance booking is strongly suggested.
Now through end of October (except in August), you can visit the Vatican Museums on Friday nights. (St. Peter's basilica will be closed. This night visit is only for the museums and Sistine Chapel.)
7-11pm Friday nights only, with last entry at 9:30pm.
Click the photo to visit the Vatican website for more details and booking options. Or, to book a more complete guided tour, click here.
In summer, there are fewer indoor museum shows and art exhibits than the rest of the year. But there are a few open throughout summer:
I Macchiaioli, Chiostro del Bramante, behind piazza Navona. Until September 4 2016. 13€ (includes audio-guide).
Museums hrs: Monday - Friday 10am - 8pm. Saturday - Sunday 10am - 9pm. They will be open on Easter Sunday, 10am - 9pm.
Alphonse Mucha was one of the most prominent Art Nouveau artists at the turn of the century. Through September, there is an exhibit of his works at the Complesso Vittoriano (on the via dei Fori Imperiali). Click the picture to visit the museum's official site in English.
Monday - Thursday 9:30am - 7:30pm; Friday - Saturday 9:30am - 10pm; Sunday 9:30 - 8:30pm. 13€
Recently there has been an extraordinary effort to fix up at least a part of the Tiber River bank. South African artist William Kentridge has turned this piece of the river into an open-air art show of murals called "Triumphs and Laments." (If you want to read more about it, see this New York Times article.)
So you can go down to the Tiber and check it out. But you can also visit one of Rome's modern art museums, Macro, to see more. Now through October 2016.
Via Nizza 138. Open Tuesday - Sunday 10:30am - 7:30pm. Closed Mondays. 11€
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