Coming to Rome in September? You are in luck! September is one of the most beautiful months of the year here.
The city is coming back to life after the sleepy August holidays, and there is a touch of fall crispness in the evening air that makes it a wonderful time to enjoy Rome to its fullest, day and night.
Here's what you need to know about visiting Rome in September:
September is literally mostly a summer month. (Fall starts on the 23rd of September.)
It's strange but I find that nearly every year, from just about the first of September, the weather does in fact change: The days are still blue-sky, summer-hot but the nights are enjoyable and no longer uncomfortably hot and sticky.
This lasts about 2-3 weeks into September.
From the middle of September, or right around the beginning of fall, the weather in Rome is still lovely: warm/hot but comfortable during the day, and crisp evenings with that hint of fall just around the corner.
No matter which part of September you visit Rome, always be prepared to be flexible in your dress. These are my personal recommendations for what to pack for your visit to Rome in September:
Since most of September is a summer month, you may want to walk around Rome in shorts. 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.
Cotton, short-sleeved tops are easy to pack and easy to dress down for sight-seeing or up for going out in the evening!
T-shirts are the perfect thing to pack for Rome in September, since they are short-sleeved for warm weather, but still covering your shoulders.
A light cardigan is a must for travel to Rome in mid-September, and perfect for going from hot sunny days to cool evenings.
A cotton pullover is another way to be comfortable, flexible in changing temps during the day, and appropriately dressed for sightseeing in Rome.
Definitely, bring (or buy!) a light scarf and carry it with you. This can make a big difference when sitting outside on a piazza as the sun goes down and you feel the chill setting in.
Romans love to wear scarves to protect their necks from cold so if you whip out your scarf and twirl it around your neck as the evening air turns brisk, you will be living the Roman life indeed!
It doesn't rain a lot in September but it can. You may want to bring an umbrella although you can easily buy cheap umbrellas here.
Speaking of which, a light jacket or rain jacket is a great idea for visiting Rome in September. 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 September, but light, and water-resistant or waterproof is best.
You will probably want to have at least one pair of open-toed shoes/sandals (make sure they are super comfy for walking!)
Come check out my Amazon shop for all my Italy-related picks!
Visit my page about What to Pack for Rome for more ideas and a packing list.
At the beginning of September, it will feel like August still, with pretty hot sticky days.
But the nights and mornings are cooler. To sight-see in Rome in September, it's a good idea to wear light clothing, with the possibility to layer just a little bit.
Cotton pants, knee-length skirts/dresses, leggings are all comfortable and appropriate for visiting sites including the Vatican. In the first half of September it may be too hot for jeans unless they are very light, but by the end of September, you can wear jeans in Rome.
The most important things to wear in Rome in September are comfortable shoes, light, cotton clothing, and a cardigan and a scarf.
In September in Rome, you can expect beautiful weather, not too hot and not too cool, very little rain and fairly long summery days.
You will be able to enjoy the sights without sweltering from the heat, lots of things are open late and you can still enjoy a lot of outdoor and nighttime things.
And, you may be surprised to find Rome in September is packed to the gills.
The first time I came to Rome in September (which is when I met my now husband), I remember travelling with a friend, making our way down from Venice...and finding all the hotels in Florence, Siena and Rome fully booked! I could not understand it. I thought, but summer is over, everyone should be gone by now!
Well yes. The summer tourists were indeed gone.
Making it a beautiful time of year for the kind of visitor to Italy who craves a quieter, slower-paced experience here. These are the people whose vacations are not based on a school-year vacation schedule. And they come in droves. To avoid the summer crowds. And this makes September high season in Rome.
This being said, the very beginning of September is not quite high season yet. For about the first 5-6 days, you can expect mid-season rates on hotels, crowds that are not yet at their peak, and a nice sense of a town re-awakening.
Most of the restaurants have reopened from their August closure or are just reopening, and the city has the air of something about to happen.
A lot of delicious summer fruits and vegetables are still in season in September, so you are pretty spoiled for choice.
What's coming into season in September? September is the height of fig season in Rome. Expect to find fig gelato, and a very popular panino, fresh figs with prosciutto on pizza bianca.
Grapes have already been available but are also really coming into season in September. Remember, harvest time is just around the corner!
September is already a great time to sight-see in Rome. Like visit the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps etc. Everything is back open again, from the non-Catholic cemetery to the farmer's market at San Teodoro/Circus Maximus.
It's easy to be outside walking around, since it's not too hot or too cold, and it stays light until pretty late. But it also happens to still be summer, which means that you can enjoy some of the special summer things to do in Rome as well.
For me, one of the best things about September is that all my favourite Rome restaurants are open again!
Not that I didn't have a good time trying some of my many other faves that stayed open for part or all of August ... or even getting to try some new ones.
But those really old-fashioned Roman restaurants, like Armando, Trattoria Monti, Da Gino, Trattoria Stampa, Roberto e Loretta that close for the entire month of August all reopen "around the beginning of September". And I am ready for them!
Enjoy a real foodies' food-fair at Taste of Roma.
This 3-day event happens around the third week of September each year. In 2019 it's 19-22 September. Meet some of Rome's top chefs, try their food and in some cases, even cook with them! The Taste of Roma is at the Rome Auditorium, which is easily accessible by tram from piazza del Popolo. For tickets, book here.
The beginning of September is an interesting time to shop in Rome.
First of all, the sales are (officially) over. But lots of stores have stuff on sale inside. You just have to go look for it, usually in the back. Yes, it's the last bits, but so what. You never know what bargains you could find.
Second of all, all the new fall and winter fashions are out. So if you feel like being ahead of the curve back home, there's no better time than now to get the hot new stuff before it's gone. (They don't tend to replenish stock in shops in Italy, they just get new things in.)
The first Sunday of every month, state museums and archeological sites USED TO BE free (see above).
In September 2019, we do NOT have the Free Sunday. This means you have to pay, as you normally would, but it also means you can reserve a spot, skip the line, visit the S.U.P.E.R. sites, and book tours.
On the other hand, the Colosseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill will have free entry on Monday, September 23, 2019, due to Dies natalis Augusti (the birthday of Rome's first Emperor, Octavian Augustus.)
On the last Sunday of the month, (September 29 2019), the Vatican Museums are open and free. Hours are 9am - 2pm, with last entry at 12:30. If you don't show up long before 9am, you risk waiting more than an hour, even two, in line, and not getting in. You can book a tour through the official Vatican museums website for the Free Sunday. It's the only way to skip the line on this day.
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.
The Galleria Borghese is free for the time slots 1-3pm, 3-5pm, and 5-7pm on September 11, 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 September 1, 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 September 2, 2019.
One of my favorite art museums in Rome, Palazzo Barberini, will be free on September 5, 2019 (first Thursday of the month).
They share the same management, and same schedule with Galleria Corsini (Trastevere), so you can visit that museum as well.
World Tourism Day is commemorated each year on 27 September. On this day, you can visit the Vatican Museums for free. You cannot book in advance, or book a tour.
If the 27th falls on a Friday, you will be able to book, and pay for, the regularly scheduled Friday-night visits to the Vatican Museums.
September is a great blend of summer and approaching fall. If you are here in the beginning of September, you can still do some summery things like:
Go for a bike-ride in a park, along the Tiber river, or even in parts of the historic center of Rome.
September is excellent bike-ride weather: not too hot and not too cool. Why not take a bike-tour in Rome?
Spend some quality time relaxing in one of Rome's many beautiful parks, like the Borghese, Celimontana, villa Ada or even the wild and vast Caffarella park.
Enjoy the special summer-time-only nightlife along the Tiber.
Lungotevere Roma Estate is a really fun way to spend an evening, strolling from bar to restaurant to shop to gelateria, as the lights sparkle and the night turns cooler.
Open through mid September (tbd.)
For much of the summer, a lot of Rome's must-see monuments and museums offer night-visits. Crowds tend to be smaller, it can be a bit cooler, and the best part, Rome is just gorgeous when all lit up at night. And when better to see this than when you can enjoy it outside on a breezy summer's evening?
Most of these summer night-events go on through part or all of September. I'd definitely plan on at least one of these if you are coming to Rome this time of year!
Now through part of November, 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. Open nightly 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. You can also easily purchase digital tickets through Tiqets. If you'd like a more complete night tour, click here (in US$.) For this tour in another currency, click here.
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.
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, 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.
Listen to beautiful chamber music or symphony music at Rome's Teatro Marcello This stunning monument was built under the reign of Augustus, around 13 BCE, around 100 years before the Colosseum was built.
Today, you can attend nightly concerts in summer. Visit their website here for the schedule, and to purchase tickets. (The site is badly designed and only in Italian.)
Night visits to Rome's Baths of Caracalla
From 23 August - 29 September every Friday and Sunday, from 8 PM - 9:30 PM, there is a guided tour at ancient Baths of Caracalla. Visit their website here for the schedule, and to purchase tickets.
On Saturday and Sunday, 21 and 22 September, 2019, some Rome museums and archeological sites will participate in European Heritage Day.
A lot of sites and museums will be open Saturday September 21 until midnight, either for free or at a reduced rate.
In particular, open until midnight: The Pantheon (free), Palazzo Altemps, Galleria Spada.
You may also be interested in visiting Palazzo Farnese, which is usually difficult to book.
Sometime in early September, they will release information about which sites are open late and participating. You can follow the event on social with hashtags: # museitaliani, #EHDs, # GEP2019, #UnduetreArte.
You may also wish to visit the official website of the Beni Culturali, which shows the many appointments for special tours that day in Rome (Italian only.)
Bacon, Freud and the school of London - Works from TATE
At the beautiful Chiostro del Bramante, from September 26 2019 - 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.
There is lots of wonderful opera in Rome in September, right in Rome's beautiful Teatro dell'Opera (Opera House.)
Shows include Mozart's Don Giovanni (September 27 - October 06). Click here to find tickets at Teatro dell'Opera.
La Conserva della Neve is opening their Secret Garden in the Villa Borghese.
September 20, 21, 22 2019 inclusive, in the Parco dei Daini, from 9am to 7:00pm each day, you can visit the secret cultivated gardens normally closed to the public. There will be plenty of events as well, including lots of things to do for children, and biological food and drink available throughout. Visit the site for more.
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.
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.
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 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.
I've listed some of what I think are the most fascinating events in Rome in September, and most central. For a complete list of events in Rome in September, 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 June. Here are some ideas for your visit: