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 October in Rome 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 Friday October 4, 2019, 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 27 2019, 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 go this day. 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.
Updating for 2019
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 2018, the Roseto Comunale is open from October 6-21. Enjoy!
The Galleria Borghese is free for the time slots 1-3pm, 3-5pm, and 5-7pm on October 6 and 9, 2019. 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 6 and 13, 2019 .
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 2019.
Both sites are free on Monday October 7, 2019.
One of my favorite art museums in Rome, Palazzo Barberini, will be free on October 6, 2019 (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.
October is just 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:
Through the end of October, Monday - Saturday, you can visit the Colosseum from 8pm until midnight,
20€ and not to be combined with the Roman Forum. Not part of Roma Pass.
On Friday nights, through the end of October, the Vatican Museums are open from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm (last entrance at 9:30 pm). This is of course in addition to their daily opening times.
You must book in advance.
One last thing you can still do at night in Rome, through the end of October, 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. Advance booking is strongly suggested.
If you are a movie buff, enjoy the movie-stars and new releases at the Rome Film Festival, held in Rome from October 17 - 27 2019.
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."
Updating for 2019
From October 19-28, 2018, experience some of Rome's most iconic buildings and monuments like you've never seen them before. The new "videomapping" project, a free, open-air, modern-art initiative of Francesco Rutelli, will be showing around Rome nightly, coinciding with and helping to promote, the Rome Film Festival (above).
Bacon, Freud and the school of London - Works from TATE
At the beautiful Chiostro del Bramante, now through February 2020.
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.
Updating for 2019
Pollock and the school of New York at the Complesso del Vittoriano. From October 10, 2018. 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.
Enjoy beautiful exhibitions on Palazzo delle Esposizioni, on via Nazionale. October 4, 2019 - January 6, 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€
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.
Pompeii and Santorini - Oct 17 2019 - January 2020
Scuderie del Quirinale, in Via XXIV Maggio number 16.
Museum hrs: Sunday - Thursday 10am - 8pm; Friday and Saturday 10am – 10:30pm.
15€ full price (click the photo to visit this site).
Updating for 2019
Monet to Cézanne - multimedia immersion experience. From October 5 2018. Check out this multimedia exhibition showcasing the French Impressionists. Allow yourself to be transported 19th Century Paris, and enjoy works by these artists as you've never seen them (there are no original works here, just large-scale reproductions.) Palazzo degli Esami, Via Girolamo Induno, 4 (Trastevere) 15€ full entry fee. Buy tickets here . Mon - Thu 10am - 8pm; Fri - Sat 10am - 11pm; Sun 10am - 9pm.
There is lots of wonderful opera in Rome in October, right in Rome's beautiful Teatro dell'Opera (Opera House.)
Shows include Mozart's Don Giovanni (October 1 - October 6), and Don Quixote by Minkus (October 15 - October 20). Click here to find tickets at Teatro dell'Opera.
Updating for 2019
Saturday October 13, 2018, is the official "First Day of the Rome Catacombs", sponsored by the Vatican. All of Rome's catacombs and some other sacred sites will be open all day long on Saturday. Admission is FREE.
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.
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.
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.
Immerse yourself in the art and inventions of one of history's most famous inventors and artists of all time, Leonardo da Vinci.
While you tour, you'll hear music from da Vinci's time, played on historically accurate instruments. At the end, you will be treated to a live concert.
Listen to classic arias and duets by Italian opera greats Verdi, Puccini, and Rossini, in the gorgeous Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.
A special private tour of the Princess' apartment is included.
Visit the extraordinary Capuchin Crypt, then head into the recently restored church to listen to sacred music in a gorgeous setting.Wednesday afternoons.
Fans of the Baroque will love this beautiful concert inside Borromini's stunning basilica on Piazza Navona.
You'll be treated first to a short guided tour of this masterpiece, followed by a concert of Baroque music.
Experience romance with love songs and music by Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, Bellini on the most exclusive terrace of Piazza Navona.
"Sounds and Visions of Caravaggio"
Experience Baroque and Renaissance chamber music in the gorgeous setting of Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.
Your ticket includes a guided tour of the palazzo before the show.
Saturday late mornings.
Enjoy beautiful Vivaldi music in the lovely setting of the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.
Tour the private apartments of the Princess Doria Pamphilj.
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.
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.
Will you be in Rome for Halloween? This is really 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.)
However, there are not really that many Halloween-themed activities . . . unless you'd like to take a Rome Ghost Tour! (If you are interested in Rome ghost tours in currencies other than US$, click here.)
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