Much of winter is low season in Rome. This is the way to see the sights!
St Peters Basilica in January - stormy skies and just not that many people! Look how beautiful!
Everyone loves coming to Rome when it’s warm and sunny and glowing, and you can sit in a piazza sipping prosecco and people-watch.
While that’s all lovely, Rome in winter is a real treat for those of us who live here, and for anyone visiting then. You can decide to visit things at the last minute and not worry about not getting in.
You can even go sit down on one of the benches lining the walls. Yes, there are benches inside the Sistine Chapel, something you would not even notice in high season when you are in a swarm of other tourists.
In winter, you can either book the same day or try going without a reservation (although I never recommend this because you just never know. I’d say to go ahead and pay the 2€ reservation fee and be sure even when it’s low season.)
If you are here in the first part of winter in Rome, you will get to experience all the holiday fun - pretty Christmas lights going up . . .
One of my favorite things about winter in Rome is how festive it looks around the holidays.
. . . the big mystery of whether there will be a tree on the Spanish Steps or in front of the Colosseum, and what kind of tree we will get in Piazza Venezia (one year it was nearly dead, and the Romans nicknamed it "Spelacchio", or baldy).
Maybe it's not fair of me to post the picture of the saddest tree we ever had at Piazza Venezia, but I did come to love "spelacchio", or baldy. Regardless, it's always a treat to see what kind of trees we will get around Rome each year for the holidays!
You might get to see the tree and nativity scene in Vatican Square, and maybe the menorah at Piazza Barberini.
The Christmas tree and nativity scene in Vatican Square are different every year, and always a big draw.They usually go up sometime around the 8th of December.
New Years Eve is a popular time to be in Rome, so if you are coming for that, you will definitely get to enjoy some holiday fun.
The Christmas holidays are over on January 6, but you will still see some lights up through around mid-January.
So if you are coming to Rome in winter from mid-January on, you might miss some of the holiday lights and decorations.
In fact, it’s a joy to eat inside, stuffing oneself with all the Roman delicacies while surrounded by a jovial warm atmosphere. Armando al Pantheon, Trattoria Monti, Da Danilo and Arcangelo are just a few such places.
There is a very convivial atmosphere inside trattoria Da Danilo
For a really special treat Rome in winter, head to Babington's Tea Rooms next to the Spanish Steps. Spending the afternoon enjoying a Victorian Tea in this warm and welcoming setting will make you forget all about the cold outside.
Enjoying a Victorian Tea at Babington's is one of the special things you can do to treat yourself in Rome in winter!
Then there are the uber-cozy Rome cafe’s like Caffe Greco and Caffe Doria, not to mention one of my secret spots inside the Chiostro Del Bramante.
Always a treat to have something hot in the warm and welcoming Café Doria in Rome
And how about dimly-lit wine bars like i Colori del Vino, il Goccetto and Da Achille?
Warm and inviting wine-tasting rooms at Da Achille al Parlamento, near the Pantheon
Another place I really love in Rome in winter is the lounge inside the Hotel Locarno.
And while the outdoor patio of the Stravinsky Bar at the Hotel de Russie is a real treat in warm weather, the indoor lounge is sumptuous as well. And in case you just have to be outside like one of my friends who smokes, they have heat lamps.
Even in winter, you can enjoy the elegant courtyard of the Hotel de Russie, heat lamps and all!
Winter is an excellent time to enjoy some of Rome's best indoor spas (and a couple of outdoor spas too!)
Why not treat yourself to a luxuriating soak and steam? There are some wonderful spas around Rome to choose from. My favorites are:
Hotel de Russie
While you can splurge and indulge in some sumptuous treatments like a facial or massage, you can also simply book yourself a morning or afternoon at the spa (45€), and bask in the hot indoor pool, super steamy Turkish bath, and cedar sauna.
Pamper yourself with a relaxing morning or afternoon enjoying the pool, steam room, and sauna at the Hotel de Russie.
Details - Via del Babuino 9. Tel: +39 06 32 88 88 20. Piazza del Popolo, Metro A stop Flaminio.
Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria
Enjoy the most relaxing day at the one and only Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria. This unique 5-star luxury hotel on a hilltop overlooking Rome is the perfect place to warm up on a chilly winter's day.
Kick back at the heated indoor pool at the luxurious Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria in Rome.
If you are not staying at this sumptuous hotel, you can still come pamper yourself with a facial, massage, or other treatment. Once you book, you can enjoy access to the Cavalieri's exclusive spa facilities.
, and enjoy steamy luxurious jacuzzi and steam bath experiences.
What better way to warm up on a chilly day in Rome in winter than by plunging into this steamy spa at the Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria.
Rates for treatments start at 125€.
Details: Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101; Tel: +39 06 3509 2950
I have news for you. The light in Rome in winter is magical! We get this burst of warm light in the afternoon, and then long, low shadows across the monuments and Rome sites, which can be gorgeous all on its own.
The beautiful long shadows cast in Rome in winter can make for some dramatic photographs.
And here's the bonus: There are some sites that close at 6 or 7pm. So from spring to fall, that means they close before sundown.
But in winter, it means the sun will set while you are at that site. What do I mean? Well, how about this view from the top of St. Peter's Dome:
Only in winter can you get a sunset or night view of Saint Peter's Square from the the dome of the basilica.
In winter, you get this gorgeous sunset light on the monuments, and it can be stunning to visit a site and find yourself enveloped in this beautiful light.
In winter, you can see the night sky through the oculus of the Pantheon, and enjoy the twinkly lights in the piazza outside, when looking out from the inside. It's a whole new way to enjoy the Pantheon.
In winter, you can see the night sky through the oculus of the pantheon.
The pantheon is so beautiful in Rome in winter, and it's stunning to see it with nighttime outside.
10. No Bugs
Seriously one of the things I love about Winter in Rome - No mosquitoes! Enough said.
Bottom line - winter is a great time to visit Rome! So get on the plane! What are you waiting for??
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