You’re coming to Rome in the winter and have no idea what to do? There’s certainly never a wrong time to visit the Italian capital, but there’s something special and magical during winter.
First of all, get ready to warm up with delicious Italian dishes and wine! Now that you know at least one good reason to travel during winter, check out more reasons and the things you can do in the city.
Source: Flickr/Alessandro Grussu
Reasons to visit Rome in the winter
One of the best things about visiting Rome in winter is that you’ll get rid of a bunch of queues since there are fewer tourists around. Cool, right? Also, the traffic will be less chaotic, so be a tourist and rent a Vespa in one of the sunny winter days.
During winter accommodation prices drop, so it’s a great option for those who are traveling on a budget.
If fashion is in your list of interests, brace yourself for the amazing winter sales in January.
Don’t worry if you grab a day or two of ugly weather. Rome has many things to do indoor such as Palazzo Barberini, Palazzo Braschi and the many museums and churches around the city.
You can also visit a covered market and eat some Italians dishes. Do yourself a favor and sample the seasonal cuisine, you’ll not regret it. Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio is a good option for that.
What to see and do in winter
A unique and incredible thing you can do is watch the fireworks over the Colosseum on New Year’s Eve, is breathtaking. Another cool thing you can see is on January 6th when Italians celebrate the Epiphany where La Befana brings gifts to children. Keep in mind that late January and February (depending on when will be Easter) you might see one of the informal parties around the city, more specifically at the piazzas, celebrating Carnevale.
You can ice skate in the outdoors. If this is an activity that you’ll enjoy, check out the rinks next to Castel Sant’Angelo, in Testaccio and at Parco della Musica.
Try the roasted chestnuts, the sellers will be all over the city, and you’ll probably spot them because of the delicious smell.
Museums and sights are open during winter
If going to monuments and museums is a big thing for you during your vacation, don’t worry! Everything is open in Rome in December.
Keep in mind that almost all monuments, museums and archaeological will be closed on December 25th. The Vatican Museums will be closed on December 25th and 26th for Christmas and St. Stephen’s day.
Since January 1 is a national holiday, most shops will be closed as well as the Vatican Museums and most city and state museums and archaeological sites.
The weather in Rome
During December, January and February you can still enjoy some sunny blue days. Rome, compare to other European cities, isn’t that cold, the coldest month is January and temperature can drop to 46°F (8°C) and the wettest month is December with an average of 96 mm of rain.
It’s also possible to catch some white days since, occasionally, snows in the Italian capital.
Christmas in Rome
Christmas is definitely something you want to see in Rome. The city is cover with lights, colored ribbons, and Christmas trees. Since Italy is predominantly Christian, this is a major holiday in the country.
Remember to visit the St. Peter’s square, it’s incredible and pretty during the holiday. Also, the Vatican and the St Peter’s Basilica are among the top tourist destinations at Christmas, and they are both worth the crowds.
Shops will be closed on December 25th and 26th, but restaurants are open and waiting with an amazing and delicious special menu with traditional Christmas dishes.
Some dishes that you need to try are Pangiallo Romano, which is a cake of dried fruit, honey, and candied citron, and Abbacchio, prepared with lamb sauteed with garlic, ham and cooked with rosemary.
Most of the Christmas markets open on December 8th, the date of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and that is something that you really don’t want to miss!
Visit the market at Piazza Navona (one of the most famous markets) and check out the local vendors selling sweets, artwork, chestnuts and artisanal crafts. You might also see live performers.
There is also the markets at Piazza Re di Roma, at Piazzale Ankara, and at Eur Market.
Now that you know a few awesome things to do in Rome during winter, pack your jacket and come to explore the city with Veditalia!