The Best Time to Visit Rome - Plan Your Perfect Trip

When is the best time to visit Rome?

colosseum at sunsetCan you believe this sunset at the Colosseum is in winter?

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.

Best time to visit Rome - how to decide

On this page you will find:

Best time to visit Rome - things to consider

If you have a choice of when to visit Rome, you may want to consider these factors.

  • The weather. The weather in Rome is relatively mild so no matter what time of year you visit, as long as you come prepared, the weather should not stop you from enjoying your trip.
  • The crowds. The second thing to consider when deciding the best time to visit Rome is how crowded it might be.
  • Cost. If you are looking to visit Rome on a budget, your best bet is to come in the very short moments of the year that it's low season in Rome (winter.) You'll save on airfare and hotels at the very least.

As I said, this is all if you can choose when to visit Rome.

I know that many people have dedicated vacation dates and if that's the case for you, you may want to visit my dedicated month by month guides to Rome. (You can access this from the menu at the top.)

So considering that weather and crowds are the biggest factors, is there a magical moment of the year when the weather is lovely and Rome is not really crowded?

(To find out, jump to the bottom of the page.)

The perfect 3-day itinerary in Rome

Trying to figure out how to organize your visit to Rome? I've got the perfect 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors (or those who have not been here in a while.) It works for a 2.5 day visit as well.

In my 3-day itinerary, you'll see all the major must-see Rome attractions like the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant'Angelo, and much more.

And if you have more time, or want suggestions for extra/other things to do, you'll find that there too.

Visit my page with the best 3-day itinerary in Rome for first-timers.

Best time to visit Rome for a mini-break

If you are flexible, i.e. coming for a short visit to Rome from another European city, or deciding between visiting Rome at the beginning or at the end of your Italian vacation, you may want to try not coming on a weekend if you can manage it.

Consider the following:

  • Many Rome restaurants close one day a week and often it’s a Sunday. Monday is the next most common closing day for restaurants in Rome. The most popular restaurants are also at their busiest on weekends. (Of course there are still plenty to choose from.)
  • Standard shopping schedules, especially for smaller stores and boutiques, mean shops close on Saturday at 1pm and re-open on Monday at 3pm. (However, in the historic center of Rome, which is the main shopping zone in Rome, there are many exceptions to this.)
  • The Vatican museums (where the Sistine Chapel is) are closed on Sundays (except for the last Sunday of each month, during which a visit to the museums can be extremely chaotic and crowded.) Saturday is the busiest day of the week to visit the Vatican Museums.

Granted, in Rome peak season (most of spring - summer - fall), it may not make a difference if you visit Rome mid-week or on the weekend.

But there is always a small chance so if you can swing it, give it a try!

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Busiest times in Rome


Due to the advent of so many low cost airlines that popped up around Europe in the last 20 years, 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 and Holy 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.

vatican at easterSaint Peter's Square is filled with beautiful spring flowers at Easter.

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.

Christmas and New Years

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.

It's just as crowded in Rome the week after New Years as it is the week leading up to New Years.

First of all, New Year's Day is still very busy from everyone who spent New Year's Eve in Rome.

Second, the 6th of January (the Epiphany) is a major holiday in Italy.

Third, winter sales begin the first week after New Years.

Finally, school is still out for many Italians and other Europeans, so Christmas vacations go through the Epiphany.

April 25 and May 1

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 near major sights like the Trevi Fountain 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.

Rome events throughout the year

I have month by month guides for visiting Rome (see the menu at the top of this page.)

If you want to check what's happening when you plan to visit Rome, don't miss my dedicated Rome events pages by month:

Less busy times to visit Rome

If you want to be in Rome when it's devoid of tourists, the winter months are the quietest. 

trevi fountain in januaryThe Trevi Fountain in January - no tourists!

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 crowdsincluding at the Vatican, believe it or not. 

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.

If you come in very high season, you may not even notice there are benches in there.

Visit my dedicated pages for all the winter months in Rome

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:

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Rome shoulder season

In the travel industry, "shoulder season" means the time between low and high season.

Presumably this is when you could find smaller crowds in Rome.

So is there a shoulder season in Rome and if so, when is it?

From working in the hotel business in Rome for so many years, I can tell you that Rome barely has a true shoulder season.

Most of winter can be considered low season and it often seems that we zoom from low to high season really quickly.

But you could consider the following to be shoulder seasons in Rome:

  • Mid-February - mid-March
  • The first week of September
  • Mid-November - the 3rd week of December

Worst time to visit Rome

A true Rome-lover would tell you there is no bad time to visit Rome.

But if you're doing some trip-planning and wondering when is the "worst" time to visit Rome, you are probably wondering about the crowds and the weather.

For many people, weather is a huge factor in deciding when and where to travel, and Rome is no exception.

In the height of summer, it can be brutally hot and humid.

In the dead of winter, it can be dreary, with rain, maybe some snow, and grey skies.

Personally, I love Rome in August, especially because many Italians leave the city and Rome becomes quieter and languid, particularly around Ferragosto. I also just love the light in Rome in summer.

And as much as I love to be warm, winter is my secret favorite time of year in Rome. I love the quiet, and I even love the grey skies, although there are plenty of crisp clue-sky days in Rome in winter!

Clearly the two best times to visit Rome weather-wise are spring and autumn. And those are the times when it is the most crowded in Rome.

Considering that many people share my love of quiet Rome in winter, I think if I had to pinpoint a "worst time to visit Rome", it might be in June/July, when the city is super hot and muggy and also very crowded.

But if that's the only time you can travel, do not let that stop you! I've got pages about how to keep cool in Rome and how to escape the crowds.

And as a Rome-lover, I agree, there is no bad time to visit Rome.

Best Time to Visit Rome - Two key moments of the year

Given everything I've written on this page up to now, you may be wondering, well is there any moment AT ALL when Rome has beautiful weather and is NOT TOO 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.

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 two best times to visit Rome:

Late August

pincio in rome in summer - no crowdsLate August at the Pincio in Rome - no crowds!

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. 

Check out my top tips for how to Keep Cool in Rome in summer

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!

Mid- to Late-November

trastevere street in novemberA quiet street in Trastevere in November. Still some sunshine and a lot fewer crowds!

October and 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!

No matter what season you visit Rome, here are 4 things never to leave at home:

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