Reasons to Visit Rome in Winter

Reasons to Visit Rome in Winter

With surprisingly mild temperatures and fewer tourists, winter is a great time to visit the Eternal City. Yes, you might have to wear more layers. And sure, there are fewer hours of sunlight to enjoy. But  its captivating culture and world-beating cuisine are just as delightful from December to February as they are from May to September. So, if you’re tempted by a trip to Italy when the temperatures dip, here are our favourite reasons to visit Rome in winter.


  1. See More of the Best Museums
  2. Take a Cooking Class
  3. Enjoy a Cool & Crowd-Free Walk
  4. Catch a Match at the Stadio Olimpico
  5. Relax at a Rooftop Restaurant
  6. Take a Christmas City Break


See More of the Best Museums

As one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet, Rome is always busy and bustling – even in the low season. Long lines to enter Rome’s most famous museums are a staple of spring and summer, so to enjoy a more leisurely look around without the clamour of the crowds, visit Rome in winter. Perhaps you have your heart set on the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums, home of Michelangelo’s magnificent painted ceiling. Or maybe you want to explore what’s been called the queen of all private art collections, the Galleria Borghese. Whichever cultural highlights you have on your roman must-see list, the winter months promise shorter queues and thinner crowds. Rainy days won’t be a problem either as Rome has more than 100 museums to choose from. Just remember to double-check winter opening hours to avoid disappointment.


Take a Cooking Class

If the weather in Rome in winter (typically mild but frequently rainy) encourages you to retreat indoors, try whipping up some Italian foodie favourites at a cooking class. Italian food is the highlight of any trip to Rome. So, what could be better than heading home with some authentic new recipes to add to your repertoire? Whether you want to master fresh pasta, pick up some tiramisu tips or become a pizza-making pro, there are classes for every ability covering all the cuisine’s classics.


Enjoy a Cool & Crowd-Free Walk

While summer is the season to be outside, Rome can be oppressively warm between June and September. And as the mercury rises, so do the visitor numbers – often turning a scenic stroll into a sweaty shuffle – which is why, if you want to discover the Eternal City on foot, winter is where it’s at. In high season, exploring the shade-free expanse of the Roman Forum can be both hot and hectic. Yet during the winter, you can roam the ruins in relatively cool and crowd-free comfort; taking your time to admire the ancient archaeological wonders of this open-air museum. Across the river, the narrow cobbled lanes of the trendy Trastevere neighbourhood are frequently thronged with tourists, but winter brings a sense of peace to the streets. The ivy-covered ochre buildings look particularly pretty in the soft winter sunlight. Meanwhile, the artisan boutiques and bohemian bars remain open and ready for business, so you can shop and sip alongside locals making the most of the quieter days of Rome in winter.


Catch a Match at the Stadio Olimpico

The football season in Italy typically runs from late August to the end of May, so winter in Rome is a great time to wrap up warm and join the city’s passionate football fans at a game. Roma and Lazio (Rome’s two top-tier teams and eternal rivals) share the Stadio Olimpico, which is the largest in Italy with a capacity of more than 70,000. That means matches hardly ever sell out (unless Roma and Lazio are facing each other in the Derby della Capitale). Whether you’re an avid football follower or simply want to sample Italy’s favourite sporting pastime, the atmosphere is guaranteed to be electric (some might say gladiatorial). It’s a fun, full-on experience, not for the faint-hearted and a night out you’re not likely to forget.


Relax at a Rooftop Restaurant

While al fresco dining and drinking is more commonly associated with the warmer months, in Rome it can be mild enough to eat outside even in winter. And while many rooftop venues close in the cooler months, a few are open all year round. In a magical spot overlooking the Colosseum, the Michelin-starred Aroma Restaurant has a retractable roof and glass walls, so diners can continue to marvel at the views whatever the weather. Meanwhile, the luxurious Singer Palace Hotel has a rooftop bar where the cocktails come with a side of scenic skyline views.


Take a Christmas City Break

While Rome in winter is generally less crowded, this rule doesn’t apply in December. Christmas and New Year can be as busy as the summer, with hotels, restaurants and concerts becoming fully booked months in advance. But if you’d like to celebrate the festive season somewhere different this year, Rome is a great choice. The ancient streets look particularly lovely bathed in the glow of Christmas lights, while the nativity scenes and ornately-decorated trees dotted throughout the city make for a memorable walking tour. And what could be better than Italian food for Christmas lunch? We’d take that over a turkey dinner every time.