If you're visiting Rome in the winter, this post outlines why you should visit, what to do, what to eat and where to eat!
There are so many reasons why you should visit Rome during the winter! The weather is pretty mild for winter, the prices are much lower and there are so many fun activities to do that you wouldn't be able to take part in during the warmer months.
I would go as far as to say that Rome is better in the winter compared to the summer. We visited Rome twice during the wintertime. Once during December and once during January. Both visits were wonderful!
Why Visit Rome in the winter?
The weather is not nearly as cold as winters in New Jersey. We live in New Jersey and we experience very cold winters. I would say for most of those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, you will be happy with Rome's winter.
When we visited in December and January, the weather was between 55-60 degrees F which is about 13-15 degrees C. We didn't need hats, gloves or scarfs. I do suggest bringing an umbrella just to have. No fear though, there isn't much rainfall.
On average, the temperature during the day is not going to go below 50 degrees during December, January or February. The temperature can drop to high 30's degrees F which is about 3 degrees C during the night. I personally never experienced this. I just recommend bringing layers if you're going to be out from the morning until the evening to be safe.
The prices are astronomically cheaper in Rome during the winter compared to the summer. I think this is very important to point out because many believe they do not have the means to travel to Europe from the United States. Traveling to Rome during the off season is a great way to save money and still experience Rome's beauty.
Below, I broke down the difference in prices in Rome during January compared to July.
- In January, non stop roundtrip flights from JFK to FCO costs $555 per person.
- In July, non stop flights from JFK to FCO costs $1,343 per person.
- In January, our airbnb for 4 people, costs $214 per night.
- In July, our airbnb for 4 people, costs $340 per night.
- In January, it costs $63.72 per person for a cooking class.
- In July, it costs $84.96 per person for a cooking class.
3. Holiday Attractions
The city of Rome is filled with beautiful holiday lights, Christmas trees and holiday decor. The decorations go up early December and stay until early January.
Check out the streets and squares below to see some festive decor.
- Via del Corso
- Via dei Coronari
- Piazza Venezia
- Piazza Navona
- St. Peter’s Square
Something that is not as popular to do during the holiday season in Rome is to go to a light show called Trame de Luce. We went and absolutely loved it.
Orto Botanico (a botanical garden in Rome) is transformed into a magical light show. You walk through the garden and gaze at all of the beautiful lights with music and there is meaning to each scene.
We paid just under 20 euro and ticket included a Hugo Spritz at the end of the show. I can't recommend this enough! I'm pretty sure we were the only Americans there. I feel like it's a secret thing to do, but I can't keep it from you!
What to do in Rome in the winter?
You basically can do everything you would do in the warmer months in Rome during the winter. You might be wearing some more clothes, but the activities don't change much. Below is a list of some areas and attractions we recommend. This is not an extensive list, this is just some of our highlights.
- Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon - Take a tour which includes all of them with a guide. You can also take some great pictures this way.
- The Trevi Fountain - It's actually less crowded during the winter. It's still busy, but no where near what it's like in the summer.
- Villa Borghese Gardens - This is a great free activity. You can pay to do a Villa Borghese tour, but we didn't do that. We roamed around the gardens which was a wonderful afternoon activity.
- Monument to Victor Emmanuel II - Don't miss this site that's nicknamed "The Wedding Cake." I guess I see the resemblance. This is another free activity unless you take an elevator to the top. The elevator costs 18 euro per person which didn't seem worth it to us. You can get awesome views without paying to go to the top.
- Piazza Navona - This square is a must-see especially during the holiday season. It transforms into a huge holiday market with lots of vendors.
- Castel Sant’Angelo - We didn't go inside, but checking out this site from the outside is definitely a must.
- Vatican City - We booked tickets for a tour directly though the The Vatican Museums' website.
- The Spanish Steps - I mean, you really can't miss this one. It was still was super busy, but nothing like the summertime.
- Trastevere area - It's such a picturesque area with amazing restaurants.
- Quartiere Coppedè area - The architecture in this area is beautiful and has it's own character.
What to eat in Rome in winter?
- The four main pasta dishes - cacio e pepe, carbonara, amatriciana and alla gricia
- Puntarelle Alla Romana - A variety of chicory as a cold salad tossed with ingredients like anchovies and olive oil.
- Cicoria ripassata alla Romana - Twice cooked chicory with ingredients like olive oil, garlic and chili flakes.
- Carciofi alla Romana - Artichokes cooked with ingredients like olive oil, garlic, lemon, white wine and herbs.
- Carciofi alla Giudia - A fried artichoke. This is a Roman Jewish dish.
- Tiramisu - You haven't tasted tiramisu until you had it in Rome.
- Roman pizza - Normally is more rectangular and the dough is made with olive oil for a crispy exterior.
- Gelato - OBVIOUSLY!
Here is a list of places to eat that we loved:
- 50 Kalò
- Mimì e Cocò
- Le Levain Café
- Forno da Milvio
- Old Bridge
- Da Enzo
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes, it is 1000% worth going to Rome in the winter. You can do all the same activities you can do in the summer, but with less crowds. Plus, you can enjoy cheaper prices.
Yes, the Trevi Fountain is always open and free to see.
We highly recommend visiting Rome in the winter! Don't let the shorter days deter you from packing your bags for a great and cheaper vacation. Hopefully this post helps you during your stay in Rome!
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