Most tourists believe that touring Rome in Winter isn’t as fun or ‘complete’ as a summer visit. But with the right itinerary and, of course, preparation, you and your loved ones can have an unforgettable experience in the Eternal City. So what are some of the things you can do and see in Rome during winter?
Some of the things you can do in Rome in winter include attending the festival of Immaculate Conception, visiting the Christmas market in Piazza Navona, ice skating, participating in the New Year’s Eve race, shopping in Vai del Corso, exploring the catacombs and trying the local winter cuisine. Touring Rome during the cold season means you won’t have to wait in queues with thousands of other tourists.
In this article, we give you pro tips on places to visit and events to try out in Rome during wintertime. We’ll also share what to pack and wear to ensure you make the most of your winter expedition in Rome. Let’s get started.
Weather and Temperatures in Rome in Winter
Although Rome doesn’t have the harshest winter in Europe, the conditions can get pretty harsh at times. You can expect highs of 55.4°F and lows of up to 35.6°F between December and February. Temperatures mostly stay above zero, and the likelihood of snow is usually low.
Winter is Rome’s wettest time, with downpours expected daily or every other day.
The 10 Best Things to Do and See in Rome in Winter
When touring the City of Seven Hills during winter, you should consider doing one or some of the following things.
1. Christmas Lights
The town center usually lights up during the Christmas period. The Christmas tree displays around Rome compare to some of the best in the world. Some notable areas to experience the magical sights include Piazza Venezia, Piazza San Pietro, and Piazza di Spagna.
2. Immaculate Conception
The Festival of the Immaculate Conceptions is one of Rome’s most sacred events, celebrated annually on the 8th of December. Expect processions, fireworks, and mind-blowing street performances across the ancient streets.
3. Christmas Market in Piazza Navona
Christmas Market is a grande local event held in the Piazza Navona. The market occupies the entire square and usually starts at the beginning of December before merchants close shop on the 6th of January. The Piazza Navona is easily accessible from the Vatican and other parts of the city.
4. Ice Skating
Rome has several world-class rinks that’ll get you into that joyful Christmas mood. Some of the best ice skating (and family-friendly) places in Italy’s capital include the Ice Park Ponte Milvio, Ice Park Euroma2, Galleria Porta di Roma Ice Skating, and Luneur.
5. New Year’s Eve Race
If you’re not struggling with festivities-related hangovers, why not spectate (or participate in) the popular We Run Rome marathon? It’s a 10km run held in Rome in winter that gives you a close-up view of the Piazza del Popolo, Colosseum, the Forum, Spanish Steps, and Baths of Caracalla.
6. Try Winter Food
Sightseeing during winter isn’t complete until you enjoy some Roman winter delicacies to warm you up. You can try out delicacies like the saltimbocca alla Romana and cacio e pepe in world-class restaurants around the city.
7. Go Shopping in Via Del Corso
Bordered by Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Venezia, Via Del Corso is arguably Rome’s best shopping hub. Depending on your preferences, you can find anything from world-renowned brands to affordable local designs.
8. Have Fun Near Villa Borghese
Visit Villa Borghese, Rome’s third-largest public park. The garden contains a host of attractions, from the Galleria Borghese to the scenic pond, the Rome Zoo, and Carlo Bilotti Museum. You can dine with your partner at the lovely Casina Valadier and visit the popular Casa del Cinema to enjoy some timeless movies.
9. Take Part in the Carnival
Explore the good vibes and Roman culture by taking part in the explosive carnival. It’s a great opportunity to experience the city’s ancient traditions and interact with locals. You’ll get to enjoy street performances in some of Italy’s most historic towns.
10. Explore the Catacombs
Big on ancient Roman history? If so, you might want to explore the catacombs of Rome. The Catacombs will give you an insight into the cultures and traditions of early Christians. It’s among the most unique tourist sites in the city and one you’ll definitely remember your entire life.
What to Do In Rome in Winter with the Family
Enjoying Rome during winter weather with your family comes with several benefits, top of the list being creating lasting memories. Here are some things you can do in Rome with the family during winter.
Take a Photo Near Christmas Trees
What better way to create lasting memories for your family than taking photos across some of Rome’s most lit streets? Popular areas with amazing Christmas lights include Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps, Via del Corso, Trastevere, and Via dei Coronari.
Drink Hot Chocolate
Give your beloved family members an opportunity to explore Rome’s unique cuisine by ordering the cioccolata calda, the thick Italian hot chocolate. It’s perfect after sightseeing in the morning or afternoon during winter and will leave your taste buds yearning for more.
Assist at the Nativity Scene
Get deep into the Christmas vibe with your loved ones by touring some of the city’s popular nativity scenes. Thanks to the rich Roman tradition, there are tons of nativity scenes you can explore with your family.
What to Do In Rome In Winter as A Couple
Visiting Rome with your better half is a great way to create lasting memories and build your relationship. Here are some winter travel ideas you can do in Rome with your loved one.
Celebrate New Year’s Eve
In addition to dining at some of Rome’s best hotels, you can also explore several other activities in Rome with your loved one. The midnight fireworks at Circus Maximus, for instance, are among the most scenic in town and will leave you in awe.
Have an Aperitivo in Trastevere
When in Rome, you definitely have to do as the Romans do, and indulging in an aperitivo is among the best ways to settle in and enjoy the culture. You can have your aperitivo in several top joints in the city center, but the Trastevere experience allows you to get fully immersed in the local culture.
Celebrate Valentines Day
In addition to dining at some of Rome’s best hotels, you can also explore several other activities when visiting Rome in winter with your loved one. The midnight fireworks at Circus Maximus, for instance, are among the most scenic in town and will leave you in awe.
Take your loved one on a romantic journey around the skating rink in downtown Rome. The vibrant city is not short of options, with the likes of Ice Park Euroma2 and Luneur at your disposal.
Best Hotels to Stay In Rome During the Winter
Let’s look at some of the most popular hotels to consider for your winter vacation in the Eternal City.
1. Best Luxurious Hotel – The St. Regis Rome
In search of a luxurious experience at the heart of Rome? Look no further than St. Regis Rome, a world-class hotel strategically located just a few steps from the Piazza della Repubblica. It is widely viewed to be among the best hotels in the world, courtesy of its sublime service, high ceilings, and luxurious interior.
- Strategically located
- World-class amenities
- Pet friendly
2. Best 4-Stars Hotel – H10 Palazzo Galla
The H10 Palazzo Galla is centrally located, meaning you’ll be close to some of the most popular attractions when visiting Rome in winter. The rooms are spacious, and the interiors are classy, courtesy of their fusion of ancient Roman classicism with contemporary elements.
- Rooftop bar
- Strategically located
- Different types of rooms
- Superb customer care
- Costly private parking
- Relatively costly
3. Best Romantique Hotel – Baglioni Hotel Regina
Located just a few minutes from the Spanish Steps, the Baglioni Hotel Regina combines comfort with luxury to give you the best possible experience. The furniture is stylish, while the Murano glass chandeliers help set the right mood for a romantic getaway.
- Soundproof rooms
- Contemporary designs
- Silk tapestry
- Strategic location
- Not suitable for last-minute bookings
- Not all rooms have high ceilings
4. Best Family-Friendly Hotel – Hotel Scalinata di Spagna
The Hotel Scalinata di Spagna is renowned for its homey feel, which is vital for a family on vacation. The buffet breakfast is superb and packed with savory recipes that’ll have your family energized to tour the charming city.
- Located at the heart of Rome
- Stunning views
- Baby-sitting services offered
- Checkout times could be more customer-friendly
- Some shared spaces could be larger
5. Best Pet-Friendly Hotel in Rome – Sophie Terrace Hotel
Featuring a bar, terrace, and shared lounge, the Sophie Terrace Hotel is a pocket-friendly establishment strategically located in central Rome. It’s one of the best places to stay when visiting Rome in winter, and you have a pet, as guests can tag their pets along at an extra cost.
- Located in central Rome
- Pet friendly
- Scenic terrace
- Could use more amenities
- Very few large rooms
What to Wear In Rome in Winter
Although Rome doesn’t have the harshest winters, dressing warmly will allow you to tour most places and make the most of your visit. It’s highly advisable to ditch summer items like shorts and tees in favor of the following items.
- Heavy coat
- Long pants
- Warm socks
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Layers for flexibility
What to Pack in Rome in Winter
Packing for a winter vacation is crucial, as you want to ensure you’ve checked off every essential item. Besides warm clothing to keep safe, it’s also vital to carry the following items.
- Hat and earflaps
- Travel adaptor
- Energy accumulator
- Money and credit/debit cards
- Entertainment gadgets (tablets, books, etc.)
- Reusable water bottle
- Chargers and cables for your devices
- Reusable tote bag
Benefits of Visiting Rome in Winter
Visiting the Eternal City during winter might sound a bit limiting, especially if you’re big on summer travel. However, winter travel in Rome comes with its fair share of advantages, as explained below.
More Accessible Prices
With the warmer months attracting more tourists, prices tend to reduce during the winter months to attract more guests. Entry fees to festivals and events will be a lot lower during winter compared to the peak season. This can come in handy if you’re traveling as a family and are looking to cut down on costs without compromising the quality of your travels.
Less Mass Tourism
People love to travel during summer or spring when the temperatures are conducive. This translates to longer queues for popular venues and even higher costs due to increased demand. Winter travel gives you the chance to explore with your loved ones when attractions are less crowded.
Ideal Temperatures for Exploring the City
Rome doesn’t have extreme temperatures during winter. This allows you to travel and explore some of the city’s most popular attractions. The trick is to dress warm during winter, as the temperatures can get as low as 3°C.
FAQs for Visiting Rome in Winter
Is It Worth Visiting Rome in Winter?
Visiting Rome in winter is completely worth it as you won’t have to contend with long queues and high costs due to tourist overload. This allows you to visit attractions and experience the local culture at a deeper level than you would during the warmer months.
Is Rome Very Cold In Winter?
Rome is not too cold during winter as the temperatures rarely go below 3°C. The chances of snowfalls are also pretty slim, meaning there won’t be much downtime due to ‘bad weather.’ The trick is to dress warm and carry an umbrella as you tour Rome during winter.
What is Rome Like During Winter?
Rome is cold during winter, with heavy rains pouring between December and January. It rarely snows in Rome, though you can’t completely rule it out. It’s best to dress warm when visiting Rome during winter.
Is Rome too Cold in December?
Rome is cold in December as winter starts to enter its peak. Expect heavy rainfall as the year comes to a close. Compared to other European cities, however, Rome doesn’t experience extreme winter temperatures.
What is Rome’s Coldest Month?
Rome’s coldest month is January when winter hits its peak. The temperatures can get as low as 2°C, exactly why tourists need to dress warm during winter travel.
Visiting Rome in winter is a great idea if you want to experience the local culture at a deeper level. Entrance fees and overall charges are also relatively cheaper during winter, which is perfect if you’re operating on a budget.
When traveling to Rome during winter, remember to pack heavy clothing to ensure you’re warm enough throughout. Lastly, be sure to choose a hotel that’s strategically located within the city center.