Rome in October is one of most beautiful times of the year. The weather is mostly warm during the day, and comfortably cool at night. We get some rain but usually not too much. The light still casts warming shadows on all the ochre-colored buildings.
With summer over and the holidays around the corner, October is one of the liveliest times of the year to be in Rome.
Watch my video all about visiting Rome in October
Here's what you need to know about visiting Rome this time of year:
The weather in Rome in October can vary a lot from the beginning of the month to the end.
The beginning of October is still close to the very summery month of September. Days can be really warm, even warm enough to go to the beach.
During the day it's usually sunny and in the low 80'°F/high 20's °C, and in the evenings it can still be muggy and warm, in the mid 60's °F/high teens °C.
Towards the end of October, we get close to the end of Daylight Saving Time. And closer to real fall weather. Closer but not quite there yet.
Just about every end of October, I find myself really ready for fall. I keep saying, when can I wear my boots? And it seems, I never really can in October.
No matter which part of October you visit Rome, be prepared to be flexible in your dress. These are my personal recommendations for what to pack for your visit to Rome in October:
At least one pair of jeans or cotton pants. I'd leave the shorts at home unless you are here in early October and also visiting the coast.
If you come to Rome at the beginning of October, perhaps a light cotton or denim jacket. If you are coming at the end of October, a heavier jacket.
A pull-over or pull-over light fleece is a good idea, and easy to pack and carry around for layering.
You may wish to bring a light travel umbrella, although you could also ask your hotel if they have one you can borrow. Also, whenever it rains, umbrella sellers appear on every corner.
It's not super rainy in Rome in October, but a light jacket or rain jacket can be a good idea. It's versatile easy to pack and carry around.
Here's a men's light rain jacket. You don't need a heavy jacket in October. Lightweight, and water-resistant or waterproof is best.
You do not need to bring gloves (although you can if you want to, as they don't weigh much.) You can also buy some beautiful gloves here, for yourself or as gifts.
See also my page about What to Pack for Rome, with downloadable packing list.
October is a fall month, and in Rome it's just beautiful. We don't usually get too much rain but some years we can, so you should come prepared.
Check the weather before you head out each day, but it's almost always a good idea to carry a light jacket, or pullover, and a scarf. This is true especially for mornings and evenings. It can be really warm and sunny during the day, but the temps drop a lot when the sun is gone, so layering, and being prepared are always a good idea.
You could wear shorts but it's just not that hot, and you'll probably be more comfortable in light cotton pants or jeans, or a comfortable medium-length skirt or dress.
I say this on just about every page where I talk about what to wear in Rome, but the most important thing, and I cannot stress this enough, is to wear comfortable shoes.
You will do more walking than you think. Don't let painful feet slow you down!
If you come to Rome in October, you will find lovely weather, not too hot, not too cold.
And this means, you will find Rome packed.
Yes, October is high season in Rome.
Everyone always seems shocked when I tell them this, but it's just the way it is.
Many schools in Europe have a break around the third week of October. Halloween and All Saints Day (November 1) are now celebrated together, making the these dates in October a fun, yet busy time here, particularly if they fall on or near a weekend.
Fall is harvest season in Italy. It's a lively time of year with a lot of food and wine festivals all around Italy.
October is a warm fall month, nowhere near winter, and the sun is still out until fairly late in the day. Perfect! So is it any surprise everyone wants to come to Rome in October?
One of the great things about Rome in October is that everything is happening. All the restaurants are in full swing, fully off their slow September comeback after summer holidays. It's a great time to visit the outdoor sites, because it's pleasant and comfortable, weather-wise, to walk around them. Many sites are open later than usual.
You can still eat outside at most restaurants that have outdoor seating. There are a lot of art and music events starting and happening in October. And, you can combine a visit to Rome with a visit to another Italian city or area, and get great weather there too.
I always suggest to reserve certain popular Rome things in advance. This is especially true during high season in October.
Restaurants, especially the ones on all the foodies' blogs and top-ten lists, will be booked out for days (yes, lunch and dinner.) The Galleria Borghese will be impossible if you don't book at least a week in advance. And the Vatican will always be crowded.
So if you know what you want to to in Rome, and you can book it ahead, do so.
As you might be able to tell from reading some of the other pages on my site, I love talking about food in Rome (I love eating food in Rome).
And October is definitely a great month for foodies (except artichokes are still not in season).
Caveat - it seems that now you can pretty much find artichokes year-round in Rome. Just know they are not in season in October, so they won't be Roman artichokes. And the very traditional Roman trattorias will not serve them out of season (October).
October is a great month for lovers of fall fruits and vegetables. And in Rome, where we (try to) eat seasonally, you will find these fantastic foods starting to appear in the markets and at restaurants in October:
Many other fall fruits and vegetables are available as well of course, such as apples, pears, grapes, plums, figs, carrots, potatoes, beans etc.
Want to know more about Rome cuisine? Click here.
Domenica al Museo - This means "Sunday at the Museum", and in this case, it means many of Rome's state-run important monuments, archeological sites and museums are free on the first Sunday of the October.
Also, on Sunday October 4, 2020, which is the Day of peace of fraternity and dialogue between members of different cultures and religions and Saint Francis and Saint Catherine, patron saints of Italy , you can visit, for free, the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill; the Borghese Gallery (booking required); Ostia Antica, the Caracalla Baths, Palazzo Barberini, Castel Sant'Angelo, and many more museums and sites. For a complete list, visit the official page for Rome Tourism.
On the Sunday October 25 2020, the last Sunday of the month, the Vatican Museums are open and free. Hours are 9am - 2pm, with last entry at 12:30. The only way to book in advance is if you book a tour through the Vatican Museums website. Otherwise, plan to get there very early to wait in line.
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.
On October 12, 2019, visit Rome's catacombs for free. The second annual " Day of the Catacombs " is being promoted by the Vatican and offers visitors the chance to visit, and tour, some of the miles and miles of catacombs around Rome. See their website for the itinerary, most of which, unfortunately, is in Italian only.
The Galleria Borghese is free for the time slots 1-3pm, 3-5pm, and 5-7pm on October 4 and 14, 2020. From April - September when there is not the Free Sunday, the Galleria Borghese are choosing to offer free entry on the last entry times of the 2nd Wednesday of each month.
You still need to reserve. If tickets are not available on the website try emailing or calling them.
The four museums that make up the Rome National Museums, Palazzo Altemps, Diocletian Baths, Palazzo Massimo, and Crypta Balbi, will all be free on October 4 and 11, 2020.
Another wonderful day trip from Rome is to visit Tivoli and see the Villa D'Este and Hadrian's Villa.
They are offering free entry on the first Monday of each month from May - December 2020.
Both sites are free on Monday October 5, 2020.
One of my favorite art museums in Rome, Palazzo Barberini, will be free on October 4, 2020 (first Sunday of the month).
They share the same management, and same schedule with Galleria Corsini (Trastevere), so you can visit that museum as well.
Rome's special Roseto Comunale Rose Garden, on the Aventine Hill overlooking the Circus Maximus and Palatine Hill, is normally only open briefly in spring. Since 2016, they are opening this lovely garden again in October, as the roses are in their second bloom. In 2019, the Roseto Comunale will be open (and free) from October 12-27. You can visit daily from 8:30 - 6pm.
In October, the ADSI (Associazione Dimore Storiche Antiche) holds its annual "Open Courtyards" event. This means you may visit courtyards of historic palazzos and private residences not normally open to the public. This great event will take place on Sunday October 4, 2020.
It's actually not easy to find out which historic buildings will be open this day, but you can follow up on their website.
The immersive visit of the Circus Maximus in augmented and virtual reality, returns from 1st to 24th October .
Extraordinary opening every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm, with last admission at 5.40 pm.
Full ticket: € 12.00
3rd Day of the Catacombs Digital Edition.
October 10, 2020.
Caracalla Sunset, now through October 20, 2020.
Full ticket - € 20.
The exhibition “The Torlonia Marbles-Collecting Masterpieces” opens to the public on 14 October 2020.
Ninety-six marbles from the Torlonia collection will be on view to the public at a major show in Rome.
Capitoline Museums, New venue at Palazzo Caffarelli.
Open daily, from 9.30 to 19.30, 14 October 2020 to 29 June 2021.
Tickets from €15,00.
October is a wonderful time to be in Rome.
It's cool enough to really enjoy walking around the city, and of course sight-seeing.
And because it's still nice out, there are some left-over summer events that you can still do in October in Rome at night:
One last thing you can still do at night in Rome, through the end of October/beginning of November, is Viaggio Nei Fori, which means a Trip through the Forums.
This is a fantastic thing to do if you are interested in Ancient Rome. There are two shows: one is theater-like, where you sit on bleachers and listen to the show and watch it unfold in the Forum of Augustus. The other is itinerant, and you literally walk through Julius Caesar's Forum while listening to the production on a headset (language of your choice.) It's really well done, and fascinating. We did this in late October and at night it was pretty chilly, so bring a coat and scarf if you go then.
If you are a movie buff, enjoy the movie-stars and new releases at the Rome Film Festival, held in Rome from October 15 - 25 2020.
The entire complex of the Rome Auditorium Parco della Musica (which was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano) will be dedicated to the film festival, leading to this event being called "one of the largest red carpets in the world."
Click the picture to visit the official site.
Banksy - A Visual protest - Over 100 works, in a rigorous exhibition itinerary, tell the world of Banksy. Inside the sixteenth-century architecture of the Chiostro del Bramante, in Rome, there is space for the “unknown” artist who has conquered the world thanks to works steeped in irony, denunciation, politics, intelligence, protest.
At the beautiful Chiostro del Bramante, now through April 11 2021.
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.
13€ includes audioguide. No advance booking required.
Enjoy beautiful exhibitions at Palazzo delle Esposizioni, on via Nazionale. Now through October 24, 2020.
Click the picture to visit the museum's official site.
Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun: 10am - 8pm; Fri-Sat: 10am - 10:30 pm; Closed Mondays. 8€
Raphael beyond the exhibition
Scuderie del Quirinale, in Via XXIV Maggio number 16. Museum hrs: Sunday - Thursday 10am - 8pm; Friday and Saturday 10am – 10:30pm. Click the picture to visit the museum's official site. 15€ full price.
There is lots of wonderful opera in Rome in October, right in Rome's beautiful Teatro dell'Opera (Opera House.)
Shows include Mozart's Zaide (October 18 - October 27).
From October 30, 2019 - February 2, 2020, the Galleria Borghese will dedicate the great monographic exhibition of the autumn to Luigi Valadier. During the exhibit, standard ticket prices are 20 Euros.
Visit the extraordinary Capuchin Crypt, then head into the recently restored church to listen to sacred music in a gorgeous setting.Wednesday afternoons.
An exciting Opera concert, with the protagonists of the Operas by Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, Bellini, awaits you on the Rooftop “La Grande Bellezza”.
An aperitif will be served, which will consist of a drink of white or red wines or non-alcoholic drinks. You will also be able to choose from a rich selection of Italian cheese, cold meats, and sparkling wine for a final toast with the artists.
Enjoy 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.
Experience romance with love songs and music by Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, Bellini on the most exclusive terrace of Piazza Navona.
Enjoy "The Most Beautiful Opera Arias" Concert in the intimate setting of a small but cosy concert hall at Palazzo Albertoni Spinola in the heart of Rome.
Enjoy private access to one of Rome's most exclusive rooftops right on Piazza Navona, while sipping your aperitivo and listening to Italian opera classics from Verdi, Rossini, and Puccini.
Sunday early evenings.
Will you be in Rome for Halloween?
This is not an Italian holiday at all.
Originally a Celtic celebration, it later became a Christian holiday, but was never really turned into a big holiday in Italy until recently.
If you are in Rome for Halloween, you will see some decorations about, especially in shop windows trying to get into the "spirit" (no pun intended but it works.)
If you are Canadian and happen to be in Rome in October and you are looking for a place to celebrate Thanksgiving, check out one of our favorite places to eat in Trastevere, Alle Fratte di Trastevere.
There are many many things going on all the time in Rome: concerts, art exhibits, music events, etc.
On this page I just highlighted what I think are the some of most interesting things to do in Rome in October.
For a complete list of events and exhibits, visit the official website of the Rome Tourist Board.
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