Visit Rome in Winter and beat the crowds | 15 things to do in winter in Rome

Rome is beautiful in every season, but with the cold season approaching, the Capital of Italy could be seen as a surprise looking for your next winter holidays in Europe. Rome in Winter is even more magical of what you think. If you have never experienced winter in Rome you know what we are talking about.


The eternal city is becoming romantic and perfect for a couple who is looking for a glamorous gateway in Italy.


To be honest, is it true that travelling in December, January or February to Rome is meant to deal with cold weather and also raining days. But this city has something unique, which is good to experience with less crowded places.

We will explain to you better below, listing all the reasons why it is worth visiting Rome in winter. For now, just enjoy our tips on how to spend a few days in winter in Rome.

Visiting Rome in December will let you enjoy the Christmas atmosphere and the sparkle lights of the stands at the markets. In January, which is cold, you can enjoy Fontana di Trevi, the Colosseum and the other gems without queueing to start your tour. Those are just a few insights into what you should expect in Rome in wintertime.

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Average Temperature During Winter In Rome

The Colosseum the simbol of Rome you can't miss to visit in Rome in winter

The winter months, which generally last from November to February, are mostly blessed with mild, cosy weather. November and December rarely experience temperatures below freezing point. If you enjoy the rains, that’s one more reason to visit Rome in winter.

While January is the coldest month, with temperatures going further near the zero, February is fairly warmer. If you are lucky enough you might experience a good February, with the weather similar to an early springtime. It is usually early March that the temperatures are still crazy, altering shining days to pouring rain.

Despite all we said above, generally, you want to freeze visiting Rome in winter. The city is not affected by the wind that comes from the sea, which lowers temperatures and is typical of the cities further north of Rome. Honestly plan to take with you a good jumper which can help you in case of cold but also about rain.

Snow in Rome! It’s hard that happen, but if it does, it’s magical

As we have said in the aperture of this paragraph, it very rarely snows in Rome. The position of the city doesn’t make it go below the freezing point, which doesn’t let the snowflakes stick to the surfaces and whiten everything. But it has happened in the past. If you are lucky, during your visit to winter of Rome, you will see a unique landscape. Be sure to take your camera with you, Rome with the snow is an unrepeatable occasion.

Visit Rome in Winter and beat the crowds | 15 things to do in winter in Rome 1

17+ reasons to Visit Rome in Winter


  • Explore the Colosseum without crowds
  • Indoor market of Testaccio
  • Walk around Trastevere district
  • Take advantage of winter sales
  • Ice skating in a fabulous historical scenario
  • Sip a coffee at a typical Italian Bar
  • Learn at a cooking class in Rome
  • Take a day trip to Pompeii
  • Eat roasted chestnut by a local vendor
  • Go inside the Pantheon
  • Attend the Christmas mass at St. Peter’s Church
  • Follow the Pope walk parade at the Immaculate conception day
  • Wander around the Christmas Market in Piazza Navona
  • Enjoy the tasty food Castelli Romani
  • Go wine tasting at a local “Vineria”
  • Drive through the streets of Rome
  • Fell in love with the Sistine Chapel without crowds

Explore the Colosseum without crowds

Colosseum by night | Bucket list Rome

It is the symbol of Rome and one of the most recognizable landmarks of the eternal city. The huge building used to be the arena for the cruel events who have seen gladiators, warriors and animals fight for life in the ancient Roman times.

The gates opened in 80 AD, was hosting more than 50,000 visitors. Not many know that the Colosseum is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, and is incorporated in the Roman Forum, a site filled with many monuments and temples dated back thousand years.

After this long walk from Piazza Venezia, through Via dei Fori Imperiali you will arrive at the Colosseum square. You can visit the Arena inside and breathe the tense past. The visit of the Colosseum will be more intriguing if you are planning to see it at night. There are just a few openings late in the evening.

If you are visiting Rome in winter you will be surprised that there is less queue compared to the regular year. So, we highly suggest you plan a visit to the Colosseum without the line if staying in Rome in winter.

LOCATION | Colosseum Tickets Entrance, Rome
TICKET | Discover the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Forum at your own peace!


Skip the line at the Colosseum

Colosseum, Palatine & Forum with Skip-The-Ticket-Line & Host

Collect your tickets and enjoy a multimedia video about the city’s history, then follow your host to the archaeological area and explore the famous sights at your own pace.

Colosseum Priority Access Guide + Palatine and Forum

Enjoy priority access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Dive into the past and walk in the footsteps of Roman emperors and gladiators.


Indoor market of Testaccio

The uncertain weather of winter in Rome means that we have to give you the option indoors. One of the best visits you can plan is about the market of Testaccio. This is one of the most suggestive areas of the city, where you will find more locals than tourists.

The food market is located near the Mattatoio. This was the slaughterhouse, today converted into a cultural hub and a vivid market. In 2012 this market was covered to be usable also in adverse weather conditions.

Follow the GPS toward Piazza Testaccio, this will open you to one of the most hidden gems of Rome. The quality of the products, fresh-picked by local vendors are sold every day. Some of these stalls have been run by generations of vendors, and there is a varied offer, from cheesemakers to butchers, bakers and other Italian crafted products.

OPENING TIME | Everyday 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM – Close on Sunday
LOCATION | Testaccio Food Market
TOUR SUGGESTED | Food Tour of Roman Neighborhoods OR Eat like a Roman in Testaccio

Walk around Trastevere district

Lungotevere is the River side of Rome - Enjoy a walk along the Tiber River in winter in Rome

Often outside of the touristic maps, and just relegated to a walking pass on the riverside, Trastevere district is more than that. Take your time and walk around this neighbourhood, a picture-perfect place in Rome to enjoy and relax. Trastevere District is a formerly working-class area of Rome, close to the city centre and main sightseeing. You will experience some of the real Rome walking on the riverbank, or inside the narrow cobblestone alleys.

Old fashioned buildings, mostly adorned by flowers and vases to give an Italian touch to the atmosphere. If you look in your guide you might find the visit to the Basilica di Santa Maria. This awesome church is in the Trastevere district and is unmissable.

In this district, there is also Villa Farnesina which is beautiful, if you have more than just a few days in Rome it is worth visiting these sights. If you are looking for the best viewpoints of Rome, look for the Gianicolo, which is one of the hills of Rome and famous for its walks and viewpoints.

LOCATION | Trastevere District
TOURS SUGGESTIONS|Trastevere & Jewish Ghetto Walking Tour OR River Boat Ride and Food Tour

Take advantage of winter sales in January

If you are in Rome in winter you should look after your bank account. Visiting Rome in January means winter sales. Rome is full of trendy fashion shops that will be the perfect playground for shopping addicts. If you are planning an escape in January to Rome, it might be the case to pack light and leave space for the shopping.

Ice skating in a fabulous historical scenario

Iceski in Rome - Rare snow photo of the Coloseeum

Cold means winter sports activities, and we love skating in winter. If you are visiting Rome in winter it will be fun as well, going ice skating is one of the best scenarios in the world.

There are many locations with ice skating rinks. One of the absolute best rinks in Rome is at Castel Sant’Angelo, with a beautiful view of the famous castle and the lights of the river bank. A short distance from Castel Sant’Angelo there is Vatican City which makes it even more magical.

The price for a session on the ice skating rink is costing from €5 to €10, which makes it affordable and ready to be placed in your list of things to do in Rome in winter. Take note of those other locations to enjoy the skates on the ice. The Auditorio Parco Della Musica is also open on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. In one of the most beautiful districts of Rome, the Eur there is Ice Park Euroma 2, which is open until February, Monday to Friday.

LOCATION | Castel Sant’Angelo


50 Things to do in Rome

Go trough our full guide about the best experience to do in Rome. This trip is a once life opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Start to take off some adventures in Rome from our list.


Sip a coffee at a typical Italian Bar

Are you ready to smell freshly roasted coffee early in the morning, accompanied by a soft tasty croissant outside a local bar? Imagine it, getting down the street, asking for an espresso on the go, just to properly wake up. You can do that, or sit in a cosy bar, sipping a cup of hot chocolate, due to the severe temperatures, dropping especially in December in Rome.

OUR SUGGESTION | Sunrise E-Bike Experience with Coffee Tasting
COFFEE TOUR | Rome: Espresso, Gelato and Tiramisù Tasting Tour

Learn at a cooking class in Rome

If you want to come back home with some good cooking school, why don’t you try to have fun behind the stove? There is no better time to learn some tricks on Italian famous dishes, winter in Rome will be stimulating with some amazing activities like this.

Booking your spot at one of the many cooking classes in Rome will help you to level up your game. You will impress your guests back home, cooking some famous dishes like carbonara or amatriciana. The guide will take you to the local market, interact with local vendors and teach you how to buy just the fresh ingredients.

COOKING CLASS IN ROME SUGGESTED |Street Food Tour with Local Guide OR Rome: Gourmet Food Tour
AVERAGE PRICES |£30 pp | $38 pp | €32 pp


If you like it, you might be interested in:
Go for a cooking class in Florence
Learn the art of Pizza: A Pizza-Making Class in Naples


Learn how to make pasta from an Italian Nonna

Monti District Street Food Tour

Explore the trendy neighbourhood of Monti on a gastronomic adventure. Be guided by a local food expert.

Rome: Gourmet Food Tour

Discover the flavors of Rome on this Gourmet Food Tour of Trastevere. On this neighborhood food walk you will taste the old recipes of the city and be guided by a local food expert.

Rome Street Food Tour with Local Guide

An authentic food tour with a local guide through the delicious dishes and products of Rome. Combine a tour with food tasting. 

Take a day trip to Pompeii

If you are planning to stay longer in Rome, you might think to go for a day trip. One of the best adventures in winter in Italy is to visit Pompeii. The ancient ruins close to Naples are amazing. The trip to Pompeii from Rome is not that easy, but you can always plan it and go for an organized tour.

Visiting Pompeii in winter will let you avoid the long queue that is usually piling up in Summer. If you are not keen to go that far away, stop your trip in Naples which is amazing in winter. If you are visiting Rome at Christmas, give it a go to the south and visit Naples.

Naples at Christmas is amazing and you should visit the Duomo, the nativity scene maker street, San Gregorio Armeno and also try the famous pizza.

TOUR SUGGESTED |Day Trip to Pompeii with Lunch and Guide
OUR GUIDES |Best Pizza in NaplesWhy Naples is worth a visit

Eat roasted chestnut by a local vendor

You might find the local chestnut vendor on the corner of the streets. This is a local thing which will warm you up on a cold day. Roasted chestnuts are so tasty, and sometimes those little stands are located in scenic spots which make it more suggestive to buy a cone.

The vendors will sell you a cone-shaped pot, which is incredible and ready to be posted on Instagram. If you don’t spot a local vendor, you can ask locals for “caldarroste”.

Go inside the Pantheon

Rome Pantheon inside

One of the most marvellous buildings in Rome is the Pantheon. Often left behind the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, this stunning building is for us one of the unmissable places to visit in Rome in winter. The Dome of the first Roman Temple, the only one still standing fine, is made of marble columns all around and a 43-metres dome with a particular hole on the top filtering the sunlight. The hole is called oculus and is associated with the eye.

The Pantheon is today a church and is free to visit. Check below for the directions.

LOCATION | Pantheon of Rome
OPENING TIME | Every day from 8.30 am to 7.15 pm – Sunday 9 am to 5.45 pm – Closed on Christmas Day and 1st January
TOUR GUIDES | 35-Minute Pantheon Audio Guide Tour OR Discover Pantheon: Guided Tour of the Glory of Rome

Attend the Christmas mass at the Vatican

St. Peter Basilica in Rome | Rome Cathedral | Rome bucket list

Italian is very religious, and it’s tradition to attend the Christmas mass. Rome is the city of the Pope that has its seat in Vatican City, which is part of Rome. On Christmas Day, there is a special event at the St. Peter’s Church which is attracting faithful from everywhere. If it is happening that you are in Rome at Christmas, you can’t miss this event.

Due to the high demand, the event has got an online ticketing request, which needs to be made in advance. Try to sort out your entrance at the beginning of November, when the tickets are out.

LOCATION | St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
TICKETS | Christmas mass at the Vatican – Download the request for the tickets FREE

Follow the Pope walk parade at the Immaculate conception day

If you are missing the above event but you are visiting Rome in December, you should consider adding the Pope walk Parade on the 8th December. This is a particular day for every religion, and you can feel it especially in Rome. The whole country is closed by the national holiday, which celebrates the Virgin Mary. The Pope himself is paying his tribute with a pilgrimage to Piazza Mignanelli, which is close by the famous Spanish Steps. You can understand that the city centre of Rome will be completely paralyzed by this event on that day. The Pope’s Pilgrimage is planned at 4 pm.

Wander around the Christmas Market in Piazza Navona

Winter in Rome means many Christmas holidays, and we can assure you that Rome has got some of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe.

Despite the many locations that offer a wide range of stands with Christmas gifts and activities, the one we like and suggest it’s in Piazza Navona. The market in the city centre is unique, with a gastronomic range of products coming from the Italian traditions. The whole huge square is adorned with lights and Christmas decorations, which make this space even more adorable.

Enjoy the tasty food Castelli Romani

Rome campo de fiori market

No one ever told you about the amazing food at the Castelli Romani. This is because a few people have experienced Rome as we did. Toti has been living in the city for three years, at the University and together we have visited Rome many times.

The Castelli Romani, it’s the area surrounding Rome, this is one of the most beautiful places not only for food. Places like Rocca di Papa, Frascati, Ariccia and many others will say nothing to you, just because you have never been there.

Unfortunately to reach those places you should rent a car (Check the best price). “Le fraschette” is a typical Roman tavern, with great food, local wine all on a budget.

Go wine tasting at local “Vineria”

Talking about wine, we can’t miss a tour in our Rome winter guide. Visiting Italy in winter you should go straight on a wine tasting tour through the streets of the Capital. You can choose between many options, from a cosy location to a more local tasting. We have suggested a few below, that can help you to pick up the best for your next trip.

TOUR SUGGESTED | Six Tastings – A Wine Haven in Rome

Drive through the streets of Rome

Fiat 500 experience on the streets of Rome Italy
Fiat 500 experience on the streets of Rome Italy

It can be a dream! With fewer people around in Rome in winter, you should pick up that idea that is crushing in your mind from long, drive a Fiat 500 through one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

An experience that during summer could be hard, due to the heavy traffic and the numerous tourists around the streets of the old town. If you are scared to drive in Italy, which is understandable, you can always book a guided tour with a driver. This will help you to visit the main sightseeing and experience a bit that dream you had for a long time.

TOUR SUGGESTED | Drive a Fiat 500 like an Italian

Fell in love with the Sistine Chapel without crowds

Sistine Chapel - Vatican City - Rome, Italy

Put in your list of things to do in Rome in winter, visit some museums. Rome is full of art and priceless masterpieces. One of the most recognizable pieces of art in Rome is the Sistine Chapel, the beautiful gem of Michelangelo in the Vatican City.

We can’t lie to you saying that your entrance will be smooth, even in winter you have to queue to enjoy the tour, but it’s shorter compared to summer. Also in winter, it is less hard to queue to get in St. Peter’s Church. We suggest you visit Rome in January, planning a visit to the Sistine chapel in advance.

LOCATION | St. Peter’s Church and Sistine Chapel
TICKETS | Buy your ticket to the Sistine Chapel in advance
OPENING TIME | Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm – Closed on Sunday

Find cheap deals to skip the line tickets to the Sistine Chapel in Rome

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-the-Ticket-Line Entry

Marvel at masterpieces from antiquity to Michelangelo’s legendary frescoes. Enjoy optional access to the Papal Villas and Vatican Gardens.

3-Hour Semi-Private Early Vatican Tour

Discover the flavors of Rome on this Gourmet Food Tour of Trastevere. On this neighborhood food walk you will taste the old recipes of the city and be guided by a local food expert.

Reasons why you should visit Rome In Winter

There are many reasons why it is worth visiting Rome in winter, and it is not just regarding the beautiful sightseeing and the roman architecture of the Italian capital. Below are five big reasons to motivate you to book a flight ticket to Rome next winter.

1. In winter you beat the crowds. No queue at the main sightseeing, more time to explore the city and less stress walking through the streets.

2. Transports are less crowded and have the quickest movement through the city, which is big.

3. Winter sales mean shopping. Who is not addicted to shopping?

4. Christmas in Rome is fantastic. The amazing atmosphere will let you jump in the festivities mood. Explore the Christmas markets full of goodies and activities.

5. Low season always means on budget accommodation at the right prices. Winter in Rome can also open you to luxurious accommodations which in high season will be not accessible to your pocket.

6. Flights to Rome will be cheapest in winter.

How to spend Christmas In Rome

Above we have started to talk about Christmas in Rome, and we couldn’t miss more information about. There are many significant areas of Rome worth checking out during Christmas time. From the nativity scene at the Vatican Square, one of the best in the world to the awesome Christmas Tree on the Spanish Steps.

The atmosphere of Rome during Christmas is unique, full of sparkling glamorous lights all around the major building and squares. Rome will remain in your heart if visited on Christmas, for us one of the best places to visit in this period of the year. You should also visit Piazza Navona, with the amazing Christmas market, or head to the “LungoTevere”, the riverside of Rome. A popup Christmas market is taking place every year in Lungotevere from November through January. If you are a music fan, you can find numerous concerts and exhibitions at the Auditorium Parco Della Musica. For a good glass of wine and the winter atmosphere in Rome, we suggest you sit at one of the many bars in Campo de Fiori or visit the morning local market.

What To Pack While Visiting Rome In Winter

How to pack for Rome in winter

A raincoat and a jacket | Although winters in Rome are not excessively cold, it does rain frequently and sometimes it can get quite windy.

Hat, gloves, scarf, and waterproof shoes | To stay cosy and comfortable and not make an enemy of the rains, pack these essentials.

Medicines | Instead of depending on availability, pack the medicines you need and carry some extra vitamin C and Zinc in case you catch a cold.

A good camera | We cannot stress this enough! Breathtaking sunsets and the twinkly Christmas decorations deserve to be shared with friends and family back home.

Extra space | The Christmas markets can certainly turn you into a shopaholic, so make sure your bags have enough space to fit in everything you buy.

Basic tips from local on how to enjoy the most of Rome in winter

  • Rome is amazing but while visiting it in the picking season will be stressing. Instead of considering a visit to Rome in wintertime can help you to enjoy the city at the most.
  • If you want a more local experience, note down this district “Garbatella”, which is the local favourite place. Here you can find traditional little restaurants with local dishes made by the “Nonnas”.
  • The same district above can offer a full experience to Street Art fans. Together with Ostiense and Quadraro are the more artistic places to visit in Rome.
  • Often left behind the tourist’s guides, the roman Catacombs are one of the landmarks to don’t miss in your trip to Rome in winter. Visiting it in this part of the year can help you to enjoy the most of it without crowds for a true experience.
  • Wine tasting is not an option. You must do it, especially if you like wine. Ask for a “tagliere di salumi” on the side to accompany the drink, with cheese and seasonal products.
  • Visiting Rome on New Year’s Eve, you should check the events at Circo Massimo. The area is completely covered by a huge concert with stands, play stages and live shows all night long.
  • Avoid crowded public transports, and go for a walk instead. Usually, in the crowded public transport, there are pickpockets which take advantage of the confusion. Keep your belongings close to you and avoid wearing valuable objects.

Where to Stay During Winter in Rome

If you are looking for accommodation in Rome in winter, you will be happy to know that the prices average is lowered compared to other seasons. Rome can be expensive, and you can end up in budget accommodation.

In winter even the most luxurious accommodations, close to the main sights could be in line with your budget. Below are some ideas for you, for every pocket.

Luxury
Accommodation

Visit Rome in Winter and beat the crowds | 15 things to do in winter in Rome 2

Hotel Vilòn

£400 | $500 | €435 per night

Location | Via dell’Arancio

Affordable
On a budget

Visit Rome in Winter and beat the crowds | 15 things to do in winter in Rome 3

Hotel Artemide

£96 | $123 | €105 per night

Location | Via Nazionale

Getting Around Rome In Winter

How to get around Rome in winter

The city centre of Rome is wide but walkable. Getting around Rome in winter won’t be a problem if it is not raining and you are keen to walk. Rome buses are also running around the city centre, across the main sightseeing. Local taxis can also help you to reach A to B in a short time while passing by area allowed. This is applying also to UBER, which is active in Rome. Rome also has good metro service, with the latest aperture of a third line it is also more efficient to reach areas of the city tricky to reach before. You can check the metro line and other public transport options through the local website.

Rome is also becoming a bike-friendly city, with a bike rental system in place. If you are a fan of this kind of transport, you can also check out a tour of Rome by bike, which can be great to know the city once you step in.

Be smart visit Rome in the wintertime to avoid crowds

Considering all we have mentioned in this post, you should be sure that visiting Rome in the wintertime is the right decision. Consider periods like mid-November would be even smarter, to avoid crowds and enjoy more the monuments. Instead, January can also help you avoid the little pick time across Christmas, which is incredibly beautiful and so difficult to don’t consider.

This time of the year can help you to lower costs and take better accommodations. We consider February a bit of a hazard due to the unstable weather conditions. It is not only the cold but essentially the high chance of precipitation. February and March are wet days in Italy and being smart you should postpone to spring your visit to Rome, or do it at the earliest convenience.

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6 thoughts on “Visit Rome in Winter and beat the crowds | 15 things to do in winter in Rome

  1. Yogini says:

    I wanted to visit Rome this year but due to the pandemic I changed my plan. Hopefully I can visit Italy next year. Very informative post. Thanks!

  2. Paula Martinelli says:

    My favorite city in the world, Rome! My first visit was during wintertime and it was so magic. I love your guide and the pictures are amazing too, so inspiring that makes me want to go back during winter time again and do the other things I haven’t done.

  3. Cristina says:

    I visited Rome a couple of years ago during winter and I absolutely loved it. I really want to go back and check some of the places you’ve included in this post.

  4. Helena says:

    I visited Rome last September and loved it but definitely think I would prefer to go back in the winter after reading your post! It sounds magical, especially in December and without crowds!!

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