The legendary city of Rome is one that should top every world traveler’s destination list, and with its’ mild Mediterranean climate, millions flock to “The Eternal City” all throughout the year. The summers are quite hot and mostly dry for eager tourists, while the winter months remain chilly to mild with a rarity of snowfall.
Summer is one of the hottest times for tourism in Italy’s capital city (literally), and the camera-clicking masses can stroll the ancient streets as long as they can stand the sometimes overwhelming dry heat, and can dodge the occasional summer storms in August. Most locals flee the city in summer to the mountains or the sea, so tourists can enjoy a slightly emptied Rome. The average precipitation in the summer season is approximately three days per month, but unexpected showers do come up quite suddenly.
The average mean temperature of Roman summers is an overnight low of 17C rising to a toasty daytime high of 28.5C
As Roman citizens disappear from the city during the relaxing summer months, visitors have a unique opportunity to enjoy the city in a calmer and less crowded setting. Some parts of the city, including locally owned nightclubs, restaurants, and shops may shut down for parts of the summer, but the city is still very much alive and welcoming for visitors. Many summer visitors like to remain close to air conditioning under the blazing summer sun, so museums are a seasonal favorite. The Vatican Museums are the most notable in the city, and while there, explore the majesty and history of St. Peters Basilica, the seat of global power for the Catholic Church. The Sistine Chapel, painted by Michaelangelo, is attached to the Vatican Museums and the Basilica, and its’ ceiling is considered one of the single, greatest treasures of art history. After your indoor amazement at the wonders of art history, take a trip to the Trevi Fountain, one of the most elaborate, beautiful, and famous watery holes in the world.
Besides the architectural and artistic offerings of the Roman summer, there are many summer festivals that are popular options for tourists, including the annual series of events run by the Estate Romana (Roman Summer) organization. Scattered throughout the city in various villas, baths, and theatres, outdoor performances of ballets, operas, orchestras and theatre are available during the warm, summer nights. Most notable is performance series of the Roman Opera House, which typically takes place at the stunning Baths of Carcalla, and runs from July to early August. Finish your day of wandering with some traditional Saltimbocca alla Romana at one of the many eatery-lined side streets like Via Veneto.
The autumnal months in Rome mark the return of the locals, as they return from their summer exile for school and work. Expect bigger crowds than those found in summer, but the heat certainly lessens in autumn, although average rainfall more than doubles, to approximately 8 days of precipitation per month.
The average mean temperature of autumn in Rome is a daily low of 11C climbing to a balmy daytime high of 21.5C.
The weather begins to break, and more rain begins to fall, but tourism is a yearlong activity in the Papal City. Autumn is a wonderful time to visit Rome, both for the wealth of season-specific activities to choose from, as well as the still comfortable weather before the slight chill of winter sets in. If you are caught in one of the sudden downfalls of September, duck into the Capitoline Museums for the largest collection of ancient roman sculpture and relics in the city. If you happen to find yourself walking in one of the sunny, pleasant days that Roman autumns also promise, visit the Borghese Gallery, which has a magnificent collection of Caravaggio’s paintings for those looking for a less crowded artistic jaunt. The Gallery sits amid the lush grounds of the Villa Borghese, and in autumn, the trees put on a fantastically color show. If majestic statues are closer to your artistic tastes, hunt for one of Rome’s famous “talking statues”, like “Pasquino” and “Marforio”. Throughout Roman history, these statues were traditional gathering spots where people spoke out about social issues shared their opinions. For those who like their stonework a bit larger, criss cross the city fto find all eight ancient Egyptian obelisks and five ancient Roman obelisks, the most famous being centered in St. Peter’s Square and Piazza Navona. When all the historical details start to blend together, take some time away from the tourist hot spots and enjoy some local Roman Festivals. The autumn nights are filled with the sounds of music and dancing once the Roma Europa Festival begins, which is only rivaled by the Rome Jazz Festival, which you can enjoy at the Auditorium Parco della Musica.
When the winter season sets in to Rome, the casual warm nights disappear and the rain continues to come down approximately 8 days per month. The days are still pleasant and mild, but be prepared for sudden cold days with light flurries, although accumulation is very rare.
The average mean temperature for the winter months in Rome is an overnight low of 3.5C, climbing up to a tolerable 12.5C.
Similar to the situation summer, Rome empties of many tourists and locals during the winter season, so veteran travelers know that exploring the Eternal City can be especially fun from December to February. The chillier weather naturally encourages some people to seek the toasty interiors of certain tourist spots, so the underground respite of The Catacombs is a logical choice, and it is especially significant to Catholic visitors, as the Catacombs are where the apostles Peter and Paul are said to be buried. The scenery combined with the religious overtones of the city can make the holidays particularly special in Rome. The good news for non-Catholic visitors is that the city remains open and functional on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day, unlike many other major cities of the western world. The festivities continue in Piazza Navona with Fiera di Natale (Christmas Market) with plenty of fun toys and shops for children to explore. If you’re looking for some winter sport activities in the city, work off some energy at the Tiberside skating rink near the Castel Sant’Angelo area. The citywide Capodanno Festival rings in the New Year with fireworks launched from almost every balcony window as well as a New Years Day procession in the Catacombs. January and February give visitors the chance to see the city with few locals or hordes of tourists getting in the way of every picture. Some people enjoy leaving the city to see some coastal towns like the ancient site of the Imperial Port of Ostia Antica, (Rome’s Pompeii), or the quaint city of Civitavecchia, a major port for travelers coming into Rome.
Spring signals the official return of the tourist crowds, and the return of warm weather to the city of Rome. Rain is still sporadic through the spring, trailing off in May, but the Mediterranean climate is generally pleasant throughout the season.
The average mean temperature of Roman spring is an overnight low of 8C and a daytime high topping out at 14.5C.
Roman spring once again brings visitors back to the streets, plazas, museums, and tourist spots throughout the city, and the lovely weather makes spring possibly the best season for outdoor activities. For history buffs, one of the most exciting spots in the city is the seat of ancient power, the Roman Forum. In that same historical vein, the Roman Colosseum, the largest Colosseum ever built in the Roman Empire, draws more than 4 million tourists a year, and is considered one of the modern Wonders of the World. Located closer to the city center is the Pantheon, a temple honoring all the gods of ancient Rome, built almost 2,000 years ago. Walk in the sunshine across the beautiful Bridge of Angels, dotted with ten commissioned statues by Bernini, and leading to Castel Sant’Angelo. For centuries, Rome was the central meeting point of artistic genius, and the Catholic Church remains the largest commissioner of private works of religious art in history. A fun way to spend a spring day in Rome is to go on one of the many sculpture tours of the city, learning about which legendary sculptors and artists helped give the city its’ one-of-a-kind style. The Cultural Festival, held every spring, is a week-long event celebrating the rich culture and historical depth of the city, and museums open their doors to the public completely free of charge. While walking between museums and galleries, take notice of the stunning designs of many world-famous basilicas and piazzas, like the Piazza del Campidoglio and Piazza de Spagna, as well as the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the largest churches in the city.
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