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.
On the other hand, July is a month for summer travel for families and anyone travelling based on the school calendar. So, yes, you will find Rome crowded in July, in particular the main tourist attractions like the Colosseum, Pantheon and Vatican.
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.
July is the time to be outside. There is a lot to do in Rome that's free, outside, and at night. So let's start with what's free (some of which also happens to be outdoors):
On the first Sunday of every month, state-run museums and archeological sites are free for everyone.
On Sunday July 1 2018, the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine are free but will be packed. I'd recommend visiting some lesser-visited sites, like Caracalla Baths or Palazzo Altemps. For a complete list of free sites/monuments, visit the Rome Tourist Board.
On the last Sunday of the month, the Vatican Museums are open and free. Hours are 9am - 2pm, with last entry at 12:30. No reservations are possible and tours don't generally go this day. If you don't show up long before 9am, you risk waiting more than an hour, even two, in line, and not getting in.
If you are on a tight schedule and this is the only day you can go, or 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.
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.
From early June through mid September, everyone is welcome to Gay Village, one of Rome's largest LGBT festivals of the year. The festival is held in the huge Città dell'altra Economia in Testaccio.
Open nightly, there will be dance, music, nightclub, sports and other live outdoor events. Sunday - Wednesday, from 6pm. Thursday - Saturday, from 7pm.
Restaurants and cocktail bars are also on-site. Tickets required.
Click the photo at left for events schedule, directions and tickets. Only in Italian. Hashtag #GV18
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.
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.
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.
Now through end of October (except in August), you can visit the Vatican Museums on Friday nights. (St. Peter's basilica will be closed. This night visit is only for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.)
7-11pm Friday nights only, with last entry at 9:30pm.
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, and is also free on the free Sunday (first Sunday of every month.)
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.
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:
TURNER - Works from Tate - at the beautiful Chiostro del Bramante, from March 22 - August 26, 2018.
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.
At Palazzo Braschi (right on Piazza Navona) - Don't miss the wonderul exhibit of Canaletto works, to mark the 250th anniversary of this Venetian artist's death. The pieces are magnificent, and the setting is lovely, especially the views of Piazza Navona below.
Now through August 19 2018. Closed Mondays.
Tue - Sun 10am - 7pm. 11€. Discounts available with Roma Pass.
At the Scuderie al Quirinale - Hiroshige, Visions of Japan. From March 1 - July 2018.
Sun - Thu 10am – 8pm, Fri - Sat 10am – 10:30pm; last admission one hour before closing time. 12€ adults.
See their website for reduced rates, and pre-booking options.
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.
Watch and listen to chamber music and string quartets in a stunning setting the cloister of Borromini's church, St. Ivo alla Sapienza.
In summer, concerts and operas are held in the Caracalla Baths. These ancient ruins are beautifully lit, and make for an amazing setting for these shows.
Shows in Rome in July 2018 include La Traviata by Verdi, Carmen by Bizet, and the ballet Romeo e Giulietta (Romeo and Juliet).
For the complete schedule and to purchase tickets, visit TicketOne.
Don't miss this unique opera + aperitivo on one of Rome's most amazing rooftops, the Borromini Terrace. Combine beautiful music, with the stunning baroque setting on Piazza Navona, and a special aperitivo, to make for a fabulous evening in Rome.
There's a maximum 30 people (including an art historian guide), to keep this experience exclusive and special.
Enjoy listening to famous opera songs in the stunning and exclusive Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.
The show includes drinks and dinner.
See the "Three Tenors" in a beautiful church setting.
You will be treated to three of Rome's most famous tenors singing some of the best-known and loved songs of Italian opera.
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.
Listen to Baroque music in the perfect setting - the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone on Piazza Navona.
You'll be treated to a tour of the church, and have the chance to listen to a wonderful Baroque concert in the sacristy, with superb acoustics.
I've listed some of what I think are the most fascinating events in Rome in June, and most central. For a complete list of events in Rome in June, 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:
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.
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.
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!
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