When is the best time to visit Rome?
I get asked this a lot. I think when people ask me this question, they want to know when it's the nicest weather and the least crowded.
Finding that magical moment to visit Rome when the weather is lovely and when there are also not a lot of people is indeed hard to come by.
But of course I can tell you when that is. Click here to jump to the bottom of the page and find out!
If you are flexible, i.e. coming for a short break to Rome from another European city, or deciding between visiting Rome at the beginning of your Italian vacation or at the end, you may want to try not coming on a weekend if you can manage it. Consider the following:
Due to the advent of so many low cost airlines popping up around Europe, Rome, like other European cities, gets filled up during weekends throughout the year.
This does not mean it’s a bad time to come to Rome, especially if you don’t have a choice. However, if you do have a choice, and considering what I pointed out above, the best time to visit Rome would be mid-week: a tad less crowded (depending on the season), and shops, restaurants and museums tend to be open during mid-week.
Easter (including the week prior, Holy Week) can be one of the busiest times in Rome, although, in recent years I have noticed that the week just prior to Holy Week is even busier than Easter week.
This might be due to school vacation schedules. Or maybe people read online that Easter is a busy time in Rome, so they come the week before.
In any case, expect crowds in Rome around Easter. Read more about Easter in Rome.
TO NOTE: In Italy, Easter Monday is also a holiday and many things are closed on both Sunday and Monday.
Like most European cities, Rome fills up right after Christmas, for New Year’s.
It's actually a lovely time to be in Rome. The city is lit up, Romans are all out enjoying their post-Christmas strolls, and there is a very festive atmosphere. For New Year's Eve, there are fireworks and some concerts in the plazas around Rome.
April 25 is the celebration of Italy’s liberation in 1945. It is a national holiday, and if it falls near a weekend, most Italians will take a ponte, or “bridge” and travel during the long weekend.
May 1 is a European holiday, called May Day. As above, if it falls near a weekend, hotel rooms might be harder to come by.
Many Italians take the entire week between April 25 and May 1, and turn that into a vacation. This means they become tourists in Italy, causing Rome, and hotels, to fill up.
If you want to be in Rome when it's devoid of tourists, the winter months are the quietest. Here are the exceptions to this (particularly if they fall on or near a weekend):
Even despite the above, winter might be the best time to visit Rome if you like to avoid the crowds (including at the Vatican! My sister visited in December one year and told me how nice it was to sit on the benches along the sides of the Sistine Chapel and contemplate the ceiling. I said, "There are benches inside the Sistine Chapel?" Apparently there are. And you can actually see them if you go in December.)
Of course, it's cold and there is less daylight, and usually more rain, than in the spring, summer and fall. So winter may not be the best time to visit Rome if having great weather is important to you.
However, there are some benefits to coming in these months:
Artichokes are in season!
Winter sales begin the first week in January (there are sales only twice a year in Italy!)
There are almost no crowds at all the sites and museums (on a recent rainy day in January, I literally had Trevi Fountain all to myself...see above. I was cold but it was beautiful!)
So here's the secret: If you want to come when it's "nice" weather but there are not as many people, these are the best times to visit Rome:
Late August is a great time to visit Rome. The summer crowds are dissipating but many Italians are still away on their summer break. Most shops and restaurants that close during August, will have reopened by the last week of that month, so the city is starting to come back to life but it's not quite as crowded as September (high season begins in early-mid September.)
Late August might be the best time to visit Rome if you don't mind a bit of heat and humidity.
Personally I love it here then, the streets are quieter but things are stirring back to life and all the new fall fashions are out!
Early November is still pretty busy in Rome, because the weather is still nice. But by mid- to late November, it slows down a lot, as people gear up for Christmas/New Years holidays.
The weather in mid- and late November can be iffy (it's our rainiest month), but it's still fairly mild temperature-wise, and there is still pretty good light during the day. So if you don't mind a bit of chill in the air, late November, could be the best time to visit Rome for you!