How do you escape the crowds in Rome?
Sometimes it seems impossible, but even in high season, you can do it!
Rome is one of the most visited-cities in the world.
And because we are blessed with fairly mild weather, we have tourists here year-round.
But there are tricks!
Here are our best tips for how you can find enjoy a less-crowded Rome:
Are you shocked at how crowded Rome is?
Yep, it is.
The days are long and comfortable. The nights are cool and great for strolling and eating outside.
And that's why it's high season.
One way to avoid the crowds in Rome is to come in low season, which is only from mid-November - early February, not including holiday dates.
Let's say you are here during a busy period, i.e. pretty much any time from mid-March - November.
They are on your list of must-see Rome attractions just like they are on everyone's list. And of course you should see them!
But there are also some stunning museums, churches, piazzas and fountains you can see in Rome with smaller crowds, just a bit off the beaten path:
Of course you want to visit Saint Peter's Basilica.
But if you're looking for a quieter experience, visit these amazing churches:
Yes, they are worth a visit.
In Rome, we have many ancient Roman ruins besides the Colosseum and Roman Forum, and they are also worth checking out.
And, as wonderful as they are, you are unlikely to find many people there.
If you want to visit amazing Ancient Roman ruins without the crowds, or at least with smaller crowds, add these to your list:
The Caracalla Baths, built by the emperor Caracalla in 216 CE, were some of the largest baths in Roman history, and are some of the best preserved today.
This is without a doubt one of the best sites you can visit in Rome to really get a sense of the scale the Romans were capable of building.
You'll also see gorgeous mosaics that lined these pools and baths.
And you will definitely not find yourself in a crowd.
Ostia Antica was once the most important port city in Ancient Roman.
The ruins are fairly intact, and easy to navigate.
I went here once in late spring and there was almost nobody there.
You can stroll through the ruins, under tall pine trees, and really get a sense of the city that once thrived here.
And, if you like, you can take the train one more stop and have lunch at the beach at Ostia.
A visit to the Appian Way (Appia Antica) and the Catacombs is a wonderful way to get away from the crowds in Rome, and still be IN Rome.
It's easy to get here, and you have a wealth of things to see and do:
Details: To get to the Appian Way, you can 1) take the Metro line A to San Giovanni, then take the 218 bus to the catacombs; 2) take the Metro line B to Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo) and then take the 118 bus to the catacombs. Catacombs have varying hours, but there is at least one open every day. See above links for details.
But if you want a quieter, less crowded art experience, visit these museums:
And for archeological museums, you are spoiled for choice. Try these:
Several sites and museums are open late on weekends especially between April - October.
As for visiting the Colosseum early morning, if you visit at 9 AM when they open, it will be crowded in mid and high season, although perhaps a little less so than in the middle of the day.
From spring - fall, you can visit the Colosseum at night and it is really amazing and uncrowded.
The Vatican Museums open at 9 AM but there are tours that go earlier than this. Some tour companies have the ability to enter at 8 AM.
The way it works is you go in early, then you pretty much race to the Sistine Chapel (usually the end of a Vatican museums visit), and you get to see it before the general public starts streaming in. Then you go back to the beginning of the museums and see them with your guide at a more leisurely pace.
There is an even more exclusive early morning tour in which you go around with the Vatican Museums key master and open the doors and turn on the lights of the museums.
It is a truly special and unique experience and I highly recommend it if you can manage a super early wake-up!
From April - October, the Vatican Museums are open late on Friday and Saturday nights. The later you go on these days, the less crowded it is.
My trick is to go at about 8 PM, taking my time first in the paintings galleries (pinacoteca).
I enter the Pinecone courtyard at about 9 PM, the octagonal courtyard at around 9:10 PM, the maps galleries at around 9:20 PM and I leave the Raphael rooms at about 9:40 PM.
The museums close at 10:30 PM but they need everyone out of the Sistine Chapel by 10 PM. Trust me, at this hour, hardly anyone is in there!
Most places you can go to on a day trip from Rome are less crowded than Rome itself.
Exceptions are Naples and Florence, both of which will be crowded whenever Rome is.
One of the best ways to get away from the crush of people in Rome is to get off the main piazzas and streets.
All around the historic center of Rome, you can find small, charming, less-traveled narrow streets, often dotted with cafés, shops, and small fountains.
For example, the piazza of Campo dei Fiori is a bustling hive of activity pretty much from morning to night, but it is surrounded by a real Roman neighborhood with plenty of ambiance and quiet.
Just branch off and start exploring!
There are a few places you can go in Rome that have wonderful views and that will definitely put you in a less-crowded atmosphere.
Try these places above the fray to get away from the crowds and off the beaten path in Rome:
Rome is full of things to see underground.
And because space is usually restricted, the number of visitors is also restricted.
Some excellent sites you can visit underground to avoid the crowds above ground include:
Rome is blessed with a number of parks and green space which are perfect places for getting off the beaten path.
They are all around Rome and very accessible, even by foot.
Some beautiful gardens and parks that are free include:
If you can't manage any of the above suggestions, or you otherwise need to visit the major tourist attractions in Rome in high season during the day, follow these tips to ensure the least stress possible:
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