Just to level-set: There’s no bad time to visit — and fall in love with — the Eternal City
The best time to visit Rome depends on your personal likes when it comes to weather preference and crowd tolerance. The balmiest, most beautiful weather brings the biggest crowds, whereas the least crowded times see less-than-perfect weather. But seriously, given the historic, cultural, and artistic treasures it houses, Rome is a city where you can have a wonderful time, regardless of weather. It’s that amazing.
Again, peak season for you will depend on your preferences of weather, crowds, budget, and other factors. June through August is the peak season when it comes to crowds and hotel prices; travelers from all over the world flock to Rome on their summer vacations. Temps are hot and humid, with highs in the 80s F (26-32°C).
While not considered peak season, many find October through April are a great time to visit, as there are fewer crowds than in summer, hotel prices are lower, and the temps drop but rarely venture close to the freezing mark. In December, January, and February, the coldest months, high temps are in the low to mid 50s F — making sightseeing very viable. And many consider May and September, just off-peak, to be the ideal time to visit, as the weather is warm (an average of 73°F/23°C in May and 79°F/26°C in September) and the crowds aren’t as big as in summer.
Rome has plenty of outdoor activities that are well worth visiting year-round but especially beautiful when the weather is warm and sunny. Just a few of the most famous are The Colosseum (or Coliseum), an amphitheatre in the city’s center built over 2,000 years ago; the ornate Trevi Fountain, one of the most famous fountains in the world; the Spanish Steps, a baroque staircase that has been a popular meeting place for nearly three centuries; and the Roman Forum, the most important forum in ancient Rome, surrounded by the ruins, archeological excavations, and architectural fragments of ancient government buildings.
Just as Rome is a treasure trove for ancient architectural wonders best seen al fresco, there is plenty more history to be witnessed behind closed doors. In Vatican City (part of Rome) are two of the most world-famous examples of Italian Renaissance architecture and culture: St. Peter’s Basilica (the world’s largest), and the Sistine Chapel (located in the Apostolic Palace, the pope’s residence), with its famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo. Then there are the Museums, from the Capitoline Museum (considered the world’s public museum), to the National Museum of Rome (four museums that exhibit works from pre- and early Roman history), to the National Gallery of Modern Art, which holds the largest collection of 19th- and 20th-century paintings and sculptures in all of Italy.
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Beyond the culture, there’s also the fashion … and Rome is a major shopping destination for lovers of style (and home decor). You’ll find the boutiques of storied, high-end brands lining the Via Dei Condotti, a mix of high-end and more accessible brands on the lengthy Via Del Corso, and La Rinascente, an ultraluxe department store on the Piazza Duomo.
And you can’t mention Rome without mentioning food. Book early for the top choices that are world-renowned with good reason, like Pierluigi, the elegant trattoria in the city center; Per Me, a seafood paradise in Centro Storico; and the understated Il Pagliaccio, in Campo de’ Fiori, with its understated decor and unorthodox twists on traditional Italian dishes. For a more casual yet just-as-tasty meal, head to Roscioli, a deli-restaurant also in Campo de’ Fiori, or try the revelatory pizzas at Pizzarium (in Rome’s Monti Neighborhood), where the dough-making process is downright obsessive, and the results are sublime.
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