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.
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 Savings Time. And closer to real fall weather. Closer but not quite there yet.
In fact, 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 just 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.
As I said it doesn't rain a lot in October, but 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, but light, 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.)
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 get too much rain but 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.
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:
On Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, through the 28th of October, 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.
Visit my page about Visiting the Vatican at Night for tips and how to book.
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. Click here for their website and booking instructions.
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 month.
On Sunday October 7, 2018, 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 28 2018, 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.
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. We don't have word yet about October 1-5 2018. Watch this space.
If you are a movie buff, enjoy the movie-stars and new releases at the Rome Film Festival, held in Rome from October 18 - 28 2018.
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."
Andy Warhol at the Complesso del Vittoriano. From October 3, 2018.
Mon - Thu 9:30am - 7:30pm
Fri - Sat 9:30am - 10pm
Sun 9:30 am - 8:30 pm
Tickets are 13€. Advance booking highly recommended for this popular exhibit. Click the image at left to visit the official site.
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.
Dream - Art Meets Dreams - at the beautiful Chiostro del Bramante, now through May 2019.
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.
Pixar: 30 years of animation - "over 400 drawings, sculptures, sketches, collages and storyboards and a huge selection of video material."
Palazzo delle Esposizioni, on via Nazionale. October 9, 2018 - January 20, 2019
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€
There is lots of wonderful opera in Rome in October, right in Rome's beautiful Teatro dell'Opera (Opera House.)
Shows include Mozart's The Magic Flute, Piccini's Tosca, . Click here to find tickets at Teatro dell'Opera.
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.
Updating for 2018...
Scuderie del Quirinale, Via XXIV Maggio.
Museum hrs: Sunday - Thursday 10am - 8pm; Friday and Saturday 10am – 10:30pm. 12€ full price
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.
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!
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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