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Rome in February

Coming to Rome in February? Yes, it's cold, but there is a lot that's great about visiting Rome this time of year! The best part is no crowds. But there's more . . .

piazza barberini in the snowFebruary 2012 - Snow blanketed Rome. This is Piazza Barberini in the wee hours of the morning, right after the storm

 Rome in February - At a Glance

Here's what you need to know:

Weather in Rome Italy in February

For some reason people seem to think it snows in Rome in February.

Could it be because of the unusual snowstorm we had in February 2012? That was a doozie! It lay down several feet of snow, and paralyzed the city for days. Even the Colosseum was closed for about a week.

But really, it only snows in Rome about every 20-30 years, so don't worry too much about this.

It will be cold, and it will likely rain some days while you are here. But there are sometimes some gorgeous bright sunny days too! Find out why winter is a great time to be in Rome!

What to pack for Rome in February

Packing for Rome in February is all about staying warm, as February is the coldest month of the year in Rome. Be sure to pack a heavy coat or jacket, along with warm jumpers and heavy cotton pants or jeans. Don't forget to bring a scarf also!

It's likely to rain at some point during your trip to Rome in February so a rain-jacket or other waterproof coat is essential, as well as comfortable, waterproof shoes.

Visit my page all about what to pack for Rome in February for specific recommendations, suggestions on what to wear in Rome in February and more!

For more ideas, visit my page about What to Pack for Rome, with downloadable packing list.

Visit my Amazon page for all my shopping recommendations!

What to wear in Rome in February

The key for what to wear in Rome in February is layering. When it gets sunny during the middle of the day, you may want to shed a layer or two, but in the evening it will feel very chilly.

Jeans, or heavy cotton or wool trousers, are perfect for everyone, and a waterproof coat or jacket with removable layers is ideal to protect you if it rains during your visit.

how to dress in rome in februaryHow people dress in Rome in February (If you are wondering why there are crowds in February, it's because this fountain was vandalized in February 2015 which is when I took this. So it made big news.)

Whether you're visiting Rome in February or any other time of year, I cannot stress highly enough how important it is to wear comfortable shoes and socks - you would be surprised how much walking you will do even in a short visit!

For more about what to wear and how to dress when you visit Rome in February, visit my page here.

February in Rome - What to Expect

Check hotel rates for Rome in February

If you want to visit Rome on a budget, you will find great deals on accommodations in February.

Is it crowded in February in Rome?

February is low season in Rome, and you can expect to have a lot of the top sites to yourself. 

jewish ghetto turtle fountain romeThe turtle fountain in the Jewish Ghetto is usually surrounded by people wanting to take pictures of it. In winter, you can have it (almost) all to yourself.

This is without a doubt the best reason to visit Rome in February!

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What's Happening in Rome in February

But there is also a lot going on during this month, so either join in the fun, or be aware of it in case you want to avoid the crowds. 

  • February 11, 2020 - This is a national holiday INSIDE Vatican City, as it's the Anniversary of the foundation of Vatican City. The Vatican Museums are closed this day.
  • February 14, 2020 - St. Valentine's Day
  • February 22, 2020 - Six Nations Rugby Italy v Scotland at Stadio Olimpico, Rome 15:15
  • February 25, 2020 - Everyone loves Carnival, so expect to see kids dressed up and coriandoli (coloured confetti) thrown. The main parade usually kicks off on Saturday in the Piazza del Popolo and follows through in the Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Navona.
carnevale in romeIn Rome, Carnevale seems to be mostly about kids dressing up, and throwing confetti around in the streets and piazzas

Carnival, which is during the week before Lent, mostly seems to be about children dressing up and throwing confetti in the streets. In Rome, I mean! In Venice it is a whole other thing, and if you really want to experience Carnival at its fullest, then I suggest you combine a visit to Venice with your Rome visit. 

I did not even know about Six Nations rugby before I moved to Rome, let alone that Italy has a team! But it's kind of a big deal, and when the games are here, the weekend becomes pretty busy in Rome.

And while Valentine's Day is not technically a holiday, it does tend to bring people to Rome for a romantic getaway. And if it's on a weekend, and particularly if coinciding with a Six Nations match, it may be busier than usual that weekend in Rome.

Vatican Events in February

On Sunday, February 2, 2020, there will be a Papal Mass for the "Feast of the Presentation of the Lord - Holy Mass".

Mass is at 17:30 inside St. Peter's Basilica.

For the rest of February when the Pope is in town, you can attend the Wednesday Papal Audience, or watch the pope give the Angelus in St. Peter's Square on Sunday.

Both are free.

For the Papal Audience, you need tickets. For the Angelus, you don't.

As noted above, February 11, 2020 is a national holiday in Vatican City, so the Vatican Museums are closed this day.

This does not affect the opening hours of St. Peter's Basilica, or Vatican Square, which are both open and free.

Depending on when Easter falls, February can have a few Vatican-related events, such as Ash Wednesday.

In 2020, Ash Wednesday falls on February 26. You may attend this Papal Mass. It's free but you need a ticket.

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.

Foods in Season in Rome in February

If you read my site, you know that I love eating foods in season in Italy, which is how most Italians eat them as well.

Of course winter fruits and vegetables are in season now. This includes apples, pears, oranges, pomegranates, cauliflower, broccoli and squash. Again, if you've been reading my site, you know I am a big fan of these two winter foods: artichokes and puntarelle (chicory salad with anchovy garlic dressing.)

rome fried artichokeEating artichokes in season is one of my favorite things about Rome in February. This one, alla giudia (fried) is perfectly made every time at Flavio al Velavevodetto.

Rome in February also means it's time for Carnevale treats: castagnole and frappe.

They are fried and they are sugary, which goes oh so well with the cold brisk February air in Rome!

castagnole in romeCastagnole
frappe in romeFrappe

Both castagnole and frappe are fried dough with sugar, but in different ways.

Castagnole are puffy and soft, coated with granulated sugar. Frappe are crunchy, topped with powdered sugar. You will find these in almost any pasticceria (pastry shop) in Rome in February.

Castagnole are not to be confused with Zeppole, or Bigné di San Giuseppe, which are for Father's Day in March, and which look like Castagnole sort of, but are larger, and filled with custard, jam or cream.

If you want a real in-depth view of foods in season in Rome in February, head over to my friends' website at Casa Mia.

If you are really into food (aren't we all?), why not take a food tour in Rome? You will learn a lot and get to eat yummy stuff along the way!

Some of my favorite seasonal things to eat in Rome in winter include broccoletti (like broccoli rabe), puntarelle (chicory salad you will find only in Rome), artichokes, clementines, and Sicilian blood oranges.

Want to know more about Rome cuisine? Click here.

Rome in February - things to do

Free Things to do in Rome in February

You can count on two dates for major sites to be open in Rome for free. Just remember, crowds will be considerably bigger on these dates!

bernini's david in the galleria borghese

On the first Sunday of February, state sites and museums are free for everyone. This includes archeological sites like the Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill, Baths of Caracalla and Ostia Antica; and museums like the Galleria Borghese and Palazzo Barberini.

On Sunday, February 2, 2020, you can visit these sites for free.

Even though February is low season, you must still book in advance for Galleria Borghese.

Saint Peter's Square

On the last Sunday of every month, the Vatican Museums are open from 9am - 2pm (normally closed Sundays.) 

If you are on a tight schedule and this is the only day you can go, or if you are on 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. 

In 2020, the Vatican Museums will be free and open on Sunday February 23Expect large crowds on this day, even in February.

St. Peter's Basilica and Square are free and open daily.

Things to do Indoors in February in Rome

The whole city is alive and hopping in February, so you can enjoy all the best museums and indoor sites to your heart's content. Here are some special things happening in Rome in February 2020:


Bacon, Freud and the school of London Works from TATE

At the beautiful Chiostro del Bramante, now through February 23, 2020.

The Chiostro del Bramante is behind Piazza Navona, on Via Arco della Pace, 5. T. +39 06 915 19 41

Click the picture to visit the museum's official site.

Open Mon - Fri 10am - 8pm; Sat - Sun 10am - 9pm.

Full tickets from 15€ includes audioguide. No advance booking required.

On the 1st and 2nd February 2020, the Galleria Borghese will host a special exhibit - "Luigi Valadier: Splendor in Eighteenth Century Rome".

During the exhibit, standard ticket prices are 20 Euros.

Canova. Eternal beauty.

At the Museum of Rome – Palazzo Braschi you can visit an exhibition-event focused on the link between Antonio Canova and the city of Rome, with over 170 works and prestigious loans from important museums and Italian and foreign collections.

Now through March 2020, Palazzo Braschi 10,Piazza di San Pantaleo.

Open daily, from 9.30am to 7pm. Last admission 1 hour before closing time.

Tickets from € 11.00 (reduced).

The first major exhibition entirely dedicated to the history and civilization of one of the most powerful and fascinating cities in the ancient world, Carthage. The immortal myth.

Now through March 29, 2020 in the monumental spaces of the Colosseum and the Roman Foruminside the temple of Romulus and the Imperial Ramp.

This is part of a standard Colosseum/Roman Forum entry ticket. There is no additional cost. Click here to buy tickets to the Colosseum.

Open daily 8:30am - 4:30pm.

Colors of the Etruscans

An extraordinary selection of figured wall plates and polychrome terracotta molded architectural decorations.

Centrale Montemartini, Via Ostiense, 106, February 1st and 2nd, 2020. Tuesday-Sunday 9:00am - 7pm.

Tickets from € 9.00.

CONCERTS IN ROME IN february 2020

Enjoy listening to famous opera songs in the stunning and exclusive Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.

The show includes drinks and dinner.

The Santa Cecilia hall, designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, at the Rome Auditorium, is the perfect place to attend a concert. The complex is stunning, and for music lovers, the acoustics are just outstanding.

Click here for a schedule of concerts, and to buy tickets.

Take in an opera or ballet.

In February 2020, the Rome Opera House will show Vincenzo Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues)tribute to a ballet master in Serata Jerome Robbins with his Glass Pieces, with a host of stars, including Rebecca Bianchi and Eleonora Abbagnato, and Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.

Click here for tickets and further details.

Enjoy a opera singing by Orchestra I Virtuosi dell’opera di Roma inside the church of St. Paul's within the Walls.

These wonderful opera singers put on a mini-production of "La Traviata", in full costume.

Listen to classic arias and duets by Italian opera greats Verdi, Puccini, and Rossini, in the gorgeous Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.

A special private tour of the Princess' apartment is included.

Tuesday evenings.

Visit the extraordinary Capuchin Crypt, then head into the recently restored church to listen to sacred music in a gorgeous setting.

Wednesday afternoons.

Check out this Romantic St Valentine's Day Concert with wonderful love duets, from the romantic Puccini to the extraordinary Verdi.

February 14, 2020

Buy tickets here.

More ideas for things to do in February

Maybe it's your 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) time in Rome. Or you have more than 3 days here. Or you just want to see and do lots of fun things.

Besides the obvious must-see tourist attractions, there are lots of great things to see and do in Rome! Here are some ideas for your visit:

Take a cooking class.

There are so many great options for taking cooking classes in Rome! From pizza-making to learning to make fresh pasta, to going shopping with the chef and making a home-cooked meal at his/her house!

Click here to view cooking class options in US$, and here to view Rome cooking class options in other currencies.

Take a day trip!

We are close to so many things, like Pompeii, Ostia Antica, Tivoli, Florence and much more!

Take a bicycle tour.

You can go out onto the Appia Antica, a lovely area to tour by bike. You can also try one of Rome's newest tours, by electric bike! What a great way to see the sites, get some exercise but not get too over-exerted!

Click here to view Rome bike tours options in US$, and here to view Rome bike tours in other currencies.

Take an art class.

This is all the rage now. You want to learn to fresco? sketch? make mosaics? How about pottery? Want to include a little wine-sipping with your art? Rome inspires! Get creative!

Click here to view Rome art activities in US$, and here to view Rome art activities in other currencies.

Museums to visit in Rome in February

It's always a good idea to visit one of Rome's wonderful museums. And in winter, what a great way to stay warm!

Of course there are the Vatican Museums, where you will see the Sistine Chapel.

February is a great time to visit the Galleria Borghese, with its amazing Bernini sculptures and Caravaggio paintings.

You should be able to book even on the same day you want to visit (but book ahead just in case.)

One of my favorite museums in Rome is the Capitoline Museums. These museums comprise some of the most extensive and comprehensive displays of painting, sculpture, artefacts and architecture in the world.

The museums are vast and they can easily take up an entire day. So if it's cold and rainy out, this is a great place to be. There is also a cafe on the roof, with spectacular views towards St. Peter's basilica, the synagogue and the Pantheon. And from the tabularium, you have amazing views of the Roman Forum...which, when it's icky out, can be beautiful if you are seeing it from the inside!

Open daily from 9:30am - 7:30pm. 15€. No need to book in advance.

This is the time of year I'd visit St. Peter's tomb under the Vatican. Why? Because I went in August one year thinking it would be "cool", and instead I was roasting. They seal you into every room you go into, so it's quite hot.

So in cold February, this is not only a great thing to see, but a great way to be warm in an awesome place!

I've listed some of what I think are the most fascinating events, and most central in Rome. For a complete list of events in Rome in February, visit the website of the Rome Tourist Board.

pin rome in february

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