Rome in July is hot hot hot!
This is the time of year for shorts, sandals and lots of water.
The warm, breezy nights are ideal for a summer stroll, and there are plenty of outdoor night events.
And with long, sunny, blue-sky days, and very little rain, Rome shows off her summer glow and is breathtakingly beautiful.
Here's what you need to know:
The weather in Rome in July is hot and humid.
During the day it's in the mid 30's C / mid 90's F, and in the evenings, it's in the low 20's C / low 70's F.
Even nights are muggy and steamy, although sometimes it can rain and we get a little cool-down.
The days are very long, which means it's a good time to enjoy the city early in the day, and then again later in the afternoon, with an indoor lunch or nap break in the middle of the day.
These are my personal recommendations for what to pack for your visit to Rome in July:
With the warm weather, a lot of people want to walk around Rome in shorts. While Romans won't dress this way, you can, of course, if you want to. But if you are visiting any church (that includes the Vatican and Vatican Museums), or other Christian site, you cannot have bare knees. These hiking pants with removable leg are perfect for a quick change.
A good sun hat with UPF is key in summer months. It will help keep you cool and protect you from the sun's harmful rays. I love my Wallaroo hat: it's got great sunblock, it's foldable, lightweight and comfortable.
Men, women and children should wear hats. Something lightweight, with sunblock, that you can easily fold up and carry, and that's washable, is ideal!
A maxi skirt is another good way to be cool and comfortable while sight-seeing, but also appropriate for visiting any Christian sites like churches and catacombs.
Lightweight linen pants are also great for comfort and sightseeing, and going out to dinner in the evenings.
Trust me I am not crazy when I tell you to bring a scarf with you to Rome. For July, this means a very lightweight all-cotton/linen scarf. Why? First, you can wear it on the plane or anywhere chilly. Second, it's perfect for carrying around with you, so you can cover up those bare shoulders to visit a church. This goes for men and women. And third, well of course you will be fashionable, just like a Roman!
I've seen more and more people walking around in the sun with an umbrella. While I personally wear a hat, I do see the appeal of carrying an umbrella, as a parasol, to keep cool and in the shade. This super-lightweight, UV-protection travel umbrella is a great idea since it's useful for other seasons too!
For more ideas about what to pack for Rome, and a packing list, visit my page all about this.
For sight-seeing in July in Rome, here is the ideal way to dress:
At this point in the season, I see many people walking around Rome wearing tank-tops. Depending on your sensitivity to sun, you may want to consider wearing a t-short or other light short-sleeved top that covers your shoulders.
And, as with shorts, if you plan to visit any churches or other Christian site, you will not be allowed in with bare knees or bare shoulders. Especially if you are going to the Vatican, you will need to dress appropriately.
And if you are just out sight-seeing, make sure to at least bring a scarf to cover your shoulders if you decide last minute to pop into a church (one way to keep cool by the way!)
In July, you can expect Rome to be very hot and muggy, especially during the day.
The days are really long, so it's great to get up early and sight-see before the mid-day heat and sun kick in.
There are a lot of outdoor nighttime things to do and it's wonderful to be outside in the late afternoon and evening, and soak up the warm air and beautiful light.
And so do other visitors.
On the other hand, July is a month for summer travel for families and anyone travelling based on the school calendar.
July is a fantastic time to eat all those delicious summer fruits like peaches, apricots, plums and melons. Tomatoes are at their summer best so you will find many varieties in all shapes, sizes and even colors.
Summer is also a great time to eat vegetables like spinach, zucchini, eggplant and peppers. You may find eggplant parmesan (melanzana alla parmigiana) all year long in Rome, but believe me, it is so much more delicious in summer, when all the ingredients are in season.
Fennel is another popular vegetable in Italy, and it's in season in summer.
One of my favorite summer salads you can easily find in Rome is made with super thinly sliced fennel, meaty black olives, and juicy orange pieces. It's tasty, refreshing, and healthy.
July is the time for not only sight-seeing in Rome, but also for enjoying the city outdoors.
It's a time for outdoor opera, rock concerts, and nighttime cultural events among the ruins of Ancient Rome.
It also means that starting in July, the new fall fashions will begin to appear in stores.
I personally have a hard time trying on pants, sweaters and jackets in the summer, but it's the time to buy if you want to stock up with any new fall wardrobe items.
In July, 2020, most of Rome's most popular sites, like the Colosseum, Ostia Antica, Castel Sant'Angelo, do not have any free dates.
CANCELLED 2020 DUE TO COVID From early June through early September, enjoy the annual outdoor festival, Roma Estate Lungotevere, along the banks of the Tiber River. Entry is free, but you can also eat, drink, listen to music, watch movies and shop. Prices vary. On both sides of the Tiber, between Ponte Garibaldi and Ponte Sublicio (entries near Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere.) Click the link to the left for a full program including cinema showings.
From June 1 - August 1, enjoy free movies under the stars, in the lovely Piazza San Cosimato in Trastevere.
Put on by I ragazzi del Cinema America, you can see a movie every night starting at 9:15pm. Movies range from Disney/Pixar, to Italian Comedy, to Scorsese to documentaries. Most are in Italian with English subtitles. The link at left is in Italian only but will show you the entire program.
The below nighttime things to do in summer are mostly outdoor things to do in Rome (except for visiting the Vatican Museums on Fridays.) They are not free and should be booked in advance.
WAITING FOR UPDATES FOR JULY 2020
Now through fall, you can visit the Colosseum at night! This is a very special thing to do as you see the colosseum from a very different point of view. In July, it's open every night except the 31st. Time slots from 8pm to midnight. 20€ and not to be combined with the Roman Forum. Not part of Roma Pass.
Click the photo to go to the official website and online ticket office, or, if you'd like a more complete night tour, click here.
NB - They don't usually open this on Coopculture until right before the event so if you don't see availability for when you want to go, check back.
Now through end of October 2020, you can visit the Vatican Museums on Friday nights. And extraordinarily, this year, you can also visit Saturday night.
In July 2020, the Vatican museums are open Friday and Saturday from 10am - 10pm. Last entry is 8pm. Happy hours are at either 6pm or 7:30pm.
Visit my page about this for more details.
One of the best night shows in Rome, I highly recommend this wonderful laser/hologram/light show in the Forum of Augustus (along the Via dei Fori Imperiali, leading to the Colosseum), that brings the whole place to life. Combine it with the light show of Julius Caesar's Forum and you will really have a sense of Ancient Rome. Amazing and special thing to do in Rome!
Various 40-minute shows from about 8pm. 15€ for one show, or 25€ for combined ticket of both shows.
Visit Castel Sant'Angelo by night, and see parts normally closed to the public, including the famous passetto di borgo, a secret passageway used by the popes to escape the Vatican to hide in the Castle when Rome was getting sacked in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
From July through September 9, you can book entry from 8pm - 11pm Thursdays - Sundays. You can book a free tour in English at 8:30pm (the link takes you to the official booking page for Castel Sant-Angelo, but it is in Italian. You can select English from the top right menu on the page.)
Night-time entry is eligible for the Roma Pass.
When in Rome . . . why not attend a gladiator battle? This fantastic show is produced by the Gruppo Storico Romano, with professional re-enactors, and real weapons and armor.
Take your seat in the re-constructed arena, not far from the Colosseum, and enjoy realistic gladiator fights, and other shows including ancient dances, rites of the Vesta, and more.
At the end of the show, you'll be treated to a small aperitif consisting of food and drink made with recipes from Ancient Rome.
Journeys through ancient Rome
Conceived by Piero Angela and Paco Lanciano
Tue - Sun 10am - 7pm. 11€. Discounts available with Roma Pass.
In summer, there are fewer indoor museum shows and art exhibits than the rest of the year. But there are a few open throughout summer:
Until 14 July you can see The golden chariot by Johann Paul Schor.
Now through 22 September you can see an extraordinary acquisition of the Roma Capitale collections, Photographers in Rome.
The pieces are always great, and the setting is lovely, especially the views of Piazza Navona below.
Tue - Sun 10am - 7pm. 11€. Discounts available with Roma Pass.
Conceived by Piero Angela and Paco Lanciano
Now through 8 November 2020.
Raffaello - A monographic exhibition, with over two hundred masterpieces of paintings, drawings and comparative works, dedicated to Raphael on the 500th anniversary of his death.
Now through August 30, 2020.
Scuderie del Quirinale, Via XXIV Maggio 16.
Open: sun - Thu 8am - 11pm; Fri - Sat 8am – 1:00am.
Full € 15.00; Reduced (ages 18-25) € 13.00.
Free admission up to 6 years, and anyone disabled and their care-giver, with written medical proof.
Click the photo to visit the official site.
The museum of the Ara Pacis (Augustus' Altar to Peace) is worth visiting all by itself.
Check out the great exhibition at the Ara Pacis Once upon a time there was Sergio Leone, with which Rome celebrates, 30 years after his death and 90 since his birth.
Now through August 30. Exhibition only Tickets from € 11.00.
You can also visit the museum on weekend nights, and check out "L'Ara Com'Era", which means, the Altar as it Was. Using special Virtual Reality visors, you can see this amazingly intact ancient monument to Augustus, with the original colors and designs, as they probably looked 2000 years ago. Visit the website for exact hours for this exhibit as they change throughout the year.
The museum is open daily from 9:30am - 7:30pm. 10,50€ for the museum, or 12€ for the weekend/night visit "L'Ara Com'Era." See the website about eligibility for discounts.
Watch and listen to chamber music and string quartets in a stunning setting the cloister of Borromini's church, St. Ivo alla Sapienza. Sadly, this summer 2020, they are unable to hold concerts due to urgent renovation needs. Check back for summer 2021!
In summer, concerts and operas are held in the Caracalla Baths. But this year the open-air performances won’t be held at the Terme di Caracalla, instead, they will take place at the Circus Maximus, from 16 July to 13 August.
Shows in Rome in July 2020 include Verdi’s Rigoletto, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, and many more.
For the complete schedule and to purchase tickets, visit TicketOne.
Attend an open-air concert under the stars, in the beautiful secluded Filarmonica Gardens, just past Piazza del Popolo.
Enjoy live music by a symphony orchestra, accompanied by a soprano. You'll hear some of the best-known theme songs from blockbuster movies, such as the theme from Doctor Zhivago, Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, and many more.
Enjoy a opera singing by Orchestra I Virtuosi dell’opera di Roma inside a scenic and suggestive setting in central Rome (locations vary).
These wonderful opera singers put on a mini-production of various operas in full costume.
I've listed some of what I think are the most fascinating events in Rome in July, and most central. For a complete list of events in Rome in July, visit the website of the Rome Tourist Board.
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 in July. Here are some ideas for your visit: