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Rome in February
To be Updated for 2020

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 . . .

st peters square in februarySaint Peter's Square in February, it's cold but it's beautiful!

 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.

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

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!

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What to pack for Rome in February

This is what I wear when I walk around Rome, and I walk around Rome a lot, in all seasons and in all kinds of weather. These are my personal recommendations for your visit to Rome in February:

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Aside from the usual packing stuff you should bring for Rome, don't forget to pack:

My husband inspired me to get a rain hat. He was always wearing one for walking around Rome, and I got one for myself too! I love this one because it's quilted perfect for cold winter rain (or snow!)

This waterproof rain boonie hat is similar to what my husband wears. When it's raining in Rome, he doesn't leave home without it!

I own these e-tip gloves and just love them. They are perfect for cold weather, and I can keep them on while I use my phone to make calls or take pix.

I've washed them more than once, and they look brand new. 

A scarf is a must at any time of year in Rome. In winter, I love having a large pashmina which I find more versatile than just an oblong scarf. And I like a blend of cashmere and silk because it's not overly hot, and it doesn't make me itch.

Bonus - these are great for the plane ride too!

In Italy, men wear scarves year-round. It's partly for the fashion and mostly because Italians have a firm belief in always keeping your neck warm.

Unless you have a need for anything fancier, the best jacket you can wear when sight-seeing in Rome in February is a water-proof hiking jacket, with removable lining.

I have several for when I hike, and I wear them in Rome in winter. They are perfect! Mine are Colombia (like the one pictured) and North Face but there are a lot of great brands.

Here is a men's version of the same kind of jacket: waterproof, sporty, and with removable lining. It's actually 3 jackets in one!

It doesn't hurt to travel in Rome (or anywhere) with a good travel umbrella. You can always buy one here, even off a street vendor.

I love mine, that has features like wind-resistant ribs, and a cool open AND close button.

Heavy cotton pants or comfortable jeans are an excellent idea for men, women, and children alike.

warm cardigan, pullover, or turtleneck is a good idea.

Even when you take off your jacket, you will still be warm and cozy.

half-zip or full-zip fleece is another way to be warm and comfortable while sight-seeing in Rome.

It's also easy to pack in your luggage, and to ball up and carry around in a small backpack.

For Rome in February, don't forget to include the following items in your packing list:

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

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What to wear in Rome in February

The key is to be comfortable. I cannot stress highly enough how important it is to wear comfortable shoes. So make sure you bring good, comfortable socks, too. I suggest sturdy hiking shoes or similar. And if they are waterproof or water-resistant, even better.

The other key is layering. When it gets sunny during the middle of the day, you may want to shed a layer or two. 

Jeans, or heavy cotton or wool trousers, are perfect for everyone.

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.)

It's really chilly in the early morning and at night (can be freezing), so wear a sweater, jacket, hat, scarves and gloves. During the day, when sight-seeing, you might want to use a large bag or backpack you can pop your scarf/gloves/hat into if it's sunny out.

I'd suggest carrying a small umbrella in case of rain (or snow), but even if you don't, you can always buy one on the street if you need to.

Did I mention to wear comfortable shoes? And socks? It merits repeating!

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February in Rome - What to Expect

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!

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 9 2019 - Six Nations Rugby Italy v Wales at Stadio Olimpico, Rome 17:45
  • February 11, 2019 - 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, 2019 - St. Valentine's Day
  • February 24, 2019 - Six Nations Rugby Italy v Ireland at Stadio Olimpico, Rome 16:00
  • March 1, 2019 - Carnival, ok technically this is in March this year, but  everyone loves Carnival, so expect to see kids dressed up and confetti thrown about even before March 1.
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.

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Vatican Events in February

On Sunday, February 2, 2019, 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, 2019 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 2019, there are no Easter-related Vatican events.

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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, 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.

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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 3, 2019, you can visit these sites for free.

Even though February is low season, you should 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 2019, the Vatican Museums will be free and open on Sunday February 24Expect 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 2019:


Pollock and the school of New York at the Complesso del VittorianoNow through February 24th, 2019.

Mon - Thu 9:30am - 7:30pm
Fri - Sat 9:30am - 10pm
Sun 9:30 am - 8:30 pm

Tickets are 15€. Advance booking highly recommended for this popular exhibit. Click the image at left to visit the official site.

In February 2019, catch the opera in Rome, including Bizet's Carmen and Donizetti's Anna Bolena.

Some shows are in Rome's beautiful Teatro dell'Opera (Opera House), and others are at their other official venues around Rome.

Click here to find tickets at Teatro dell'Opera.

Dream - Art Meets Dreams - at the beautiful Chiostro del Bramante, now through May 2019.

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

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

13€ includes audioguide. You can purchase tickets in advance or buy them on site. Click the picture to visit the museum's official page.

CONCERTS IN ROME IN february 2019

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 2019, the Rome Opera House will show Verdi's I Masnadieri through February 4, Verdi's La Traviata February 24 - March 4, Bellini's Sonnambula February 18 - March 3, and others. 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.

Dave Kikoski Trio in Salone Margherita

Gregory's Jazz Night with dinner option - enjoy jazz in a gorgeous theater in the center of Rome.

General admission 25€, additional options for dinner from 55€.

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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.

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Rome in February - What the weather's like, what to pack, and things to do. By Romewise.
Rome in February - What the weather's like, what to pack, and things to do. By Romewise.

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