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.
February 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.
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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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.
A warm cardigan, pullover, or turtleneck is a good idea.
Even when you take off your jacket, you will still be warm and cozy.
A 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:
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 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!
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.
In 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.
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.
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.)
Eating 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!
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.
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!
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.
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 24. Expect large crowds on this day, even in February.
I attended the opening of this show and it's incredible! A unique mix of immersion theater, with live actors, ballet, modern dance, original music by Sting, and more. I cannot recommend this enough, especially if you are as big a fan of Michelangelo as I am.
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.
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 ticketsand further details.
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!
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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