Winter in Rome

Planning to spend winter in Rome? You might be wondering if or how the cold season can affect your plans while you want to enjoy the beauty of the Eternal City. So, the good news is that the chilly days and cloudy skies won’t distress your trip. There are plenty of things to do in Rome during winter, so keep reading this post to learn more about the Italian capital amid a snow-capped wonderland. I hope you will find it helpful if this is your first-ever trip to the Eternal City.

Weather- Winter Season

Winter in Rome is characterised by mild weather throughout the season. One of the best reasons why travelling to the city is advantageous around this time is that it is less crowded. From late November to Christmas in early winter, the temperature rarely drops to a single digit. 

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Rome in December

The period from December to mid-January is great for wandering the Christmas markets and fully immersing yourself in the shopping experience. The coldest month is January, and in the middle of it, you will be in the shoppers’ paradise as the sale season begins. 

February is typically warmer, and you may even experience springtime weather while exploring local carnival traditions. Winter in Rome officially ends in March; however, during the last days of the season, the temperature may rise rapidly before spring. Rome in December can be rainy and cloudy, and occasionally, there can be some snow, but not too much. Also, days get shorter during this time, so if you plan to visit open areas and archaeological sites, those must be planned in the early morning hours. Ensure you pack layers, cosy socks, and a good pair of waterproof boots, and it will be fine.

Rome in Winter | Rome | Winter | Christmas

How to Get There?

Rome is one of the busiest European destinations, which is why there are many daily flights from cities across the globe. There are two airports in the city offering excellent public transport connections – Fiumicino International Airport and Ciampino International Airport. You can also reach Rome from various European cities via buses and trains. The main railway station is Roma Termini, located in the city’s central part.

Travelling Around Rome in Winter

As temperatures are not as hot as during the summer, walking is a great option when you want to explore the city. For travelling, metros and buses are convenient and inexpensive ways, especially when it is raining. 

Just ensure to bring the following-

  • Wrap up warmly and bring an umbrella just in case. 
  • Warm jumper that you can layer well.
  • Waterproof jacket, one that can easily be folded.
  • Hats and gloves
  • Something nice to wear if you wish to spend the evening at a show, an opera.
Rome in Winter | Colosseum at night | Rome

Things to Do in Rome During Winters

There are a few winter activities in Rome that you don’t want to miss out on, even if the weather isn’t working in your favour. So, I have compiled some of the top things to do in Rome during winter.

Visit the Vatican

The Vatican is one of the most visited sites in Italy. Though it is usually crowded, there are often few visitors during winter. It’s a good idea to book an organised visit to learn more about the exhibitions and paintings you’ll come across. As the number of tourists tends to be smaller, it will be easy for you to get a guide. After the visit, stop for a rest and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate – you will undoubtedly love the experience!

Rome in Winter | Vatican Snow


Visiting this open-air archaeological site during summer can be a big ordeal as it is generally hot. However, the exploration will be much more enjoyable if you’re going to Rome in December! You might even be able to access it without waiting long in the lines. 

Famous Christmas Market

Several markets in Rome are open all year round. However, if you wish to shop for local products and souvenirs, Christmas markets are a great treat. They are colourful and joyful, and you can taste some unique delicacies. The most famous Christmas market is in Piazza Navona. It’s one of the most prominent ones in the town with magnificent Four River fountains and lots of cafes around.

Wine Tasting

Visiting Rome in winter would be incomplete without tasting delectable Italian wines! It will certainly warm you up and put you in the right mood. You can visit a few vineyards and enjoy local blends for the ideal atmosphere. You can also join a wine-tasting tour to learn everything about what makes an excellent quality wine. Or spend a few hours on the cold streets having fun and spending time with like-minded travellers.

Local Winter Food

I am sure you’re aware that Italy is truly a foodie’s paradise! And it is true especially during winter in Rome when it’s time to enjoy sauces and add flavour to the already delicious meals. You can enjoy the city’s most iconic winter dish, abbacchio, a delicious lamb stew, or homemade delicacies such as rich carbonara pasta.

If you’re looking for restaurant recommendations, check out our blog of the best restaurants in Rome

Cooking classes

Another good option for winter activities in Rome is taking part in cooking classes. Why? There are plenty of local restaurants offering cooking classes ranging from pasta-making to pizzas, tiramisu, and a variety of other desserts. It is a great way to have fun and learn more about the style of local dish-making.

Ice skating

Winter in Rome isn’t complete without a twirl across one of the most amazing ice skating rinks. Visit Auditorium Parco Della Musica, which transforms into a magical Christmas festival in December. Within the complex, apart from ice skating, you can enjoy live music, exhibitions, food stalls, market booths and puppet shows. It is really a fantastic place to experience the intricacies of a winter wonderland!

Spanish Steps

You might have seen the Spanish Steps in one or two movies. Obviously, they pose the perfect backdrop! Visit this beautiful place in winter as it is less crowded. Since there are 135 steps, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes!

Festivals & Carnival

February is the time to attend and enjoy the most lively carnivals in Rome. While bigger celebrations are usually planned on Sundays, on other days, you will find streets covered with festive confetti and kid’s masks. The events are inspired by ancient festivals, and locals come dressed in costumes to represent historical events being planned around the city.

Enjoy Sightseeing

Since the temperature is generally mild, exploring Rome in winter on foot is very doable. It is more pleasant than summers as you can avoid all the sweating. As it is not raining all the  time, but the weather will certainly be cold, so be sure to wear the right clothes. The best part? The cold temperatures are not so extreme, so you can enjoy spending plenty of quality time outdoors while quickly grabbing a warm drink. A few neighbourhoods like Ostiense, Flaminio, and Centro Storico are great for walking around and seeing ancient history.

Visit a Church

Whether it is cold, rainy or windy, there are plenty of churches in almost every district that display precious artwork and masterpieces. Visiting a church in Rome means entering a museum free of charge. So it is worth spending some time exploring the beauty and history of sacred places.

Christmas Lights in Via del Corso

Rome does an exceptional job at bringing the Christmas spirit to one of its most picturesque and popular areas. Visit Via del Corso, and you will see Christmas lights nearly all over the city. It is one of the most popular shopping streets, and the lights change every year, so even if you have already been here, you can still expect something new. The beautiful, hanging lights above the winding shopping street create a wonderful effect and make up for beautiful photos to celebrate your Rome winter trip.

New Year Eve’s Firework Show

New Year’s Eve is a special highlight during winter in Rome. Most hotels and restaurants host fixed-price menus with the traditional speciality of spiced pork sausage and sparkling prosecco as the celebratory drink. All crowds make their way to Piazza del Popolo, where all the locals release firecrackers to celebrate the beginning of the new year.

Tossing Coin in Trevi Fountain

One of the memorable things to do in Rome is throwing coins in the beautiful Trevi Fountain. According to local superstition, throwing coins in the fountain ensures a repeat visit. 

During the summer, there are a lot of tourists all around it. However, in winter, it is quieter and more calmer. Therefore, you can stay a while and appreciate the masterful art of the sculpture and nearby surroundings.

Rome Nightlife Guide | Rome

Explore Popular Attractions


Enjoy magnificent views from St. Peter Basilica

While I have already recommended visiting Vatican City, don’t miss the chance to climb the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. Here, you get to explore some of the stunning panoramic views across both the Vatican and the broader expanse of Rome. Entry into the Basilica is free, but accessing the dome does require a separate fee. Alternatively, you can opt for assistance from a guided tour that offers a more comprehensive experience.

Galleria Borghese

Visiting Galleria Borghese is one of the best things to do in Rome in December. This architectural marvel is a huge attraction and part of the largest park in the city. With its ornately adorned rooms and exquisite display of art, it attracts millions of visitors each year. The museum has remarkable sculptures, mosaics, and paintings featuring work from some of the renowned artists such as Raphael, Titian, Venini and Canova.

Amongst the masterpieces is Bernini’s “Rape of Proserpina”, a sculpture known for its astonishing attention to detail. Apart from this, you are bound to discover countless pieces of eye-capturing art. Visiting this museum is a perfect way to spend time exploring art while also escaping cold weather.

However, if it’s a crisp day, you might also enjoy walking around the park where the Galleria is located; here you can find other Roman landmarks, such as the Villa Borghese (image below) 

Villa Borghese | Rome

Exploring Ancient Rome

Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are some of the popular open-air archaeological sites. If you are spending winter in Rome, I suggest booking a spot for the Roman Forum for the warmest hours, i.e. in the afternoon. Another important ancient site is not far from the Colosseum – the Trajan Market. It has a large indoor section housing a museum with a massive outdoor part.

Where to Stay in Rome?

Like many other popular European cities, Rome has abundant accommodation options ranging from wallet-friendly hostels and luxury hotels to boutique guest houses. The best part about Rome is that you can easily find good places to stay within reasonable walking distance. Ideally, I would advise staying nearby to reach the station either on foot or with a quick metro ride. Therefore, a few of the popular places to stay in Rome include-

Centro Storico – Best for First-Time Visitors

As a historic centre of Rome, Centro Storico encompasses the Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. It is the best neighbourhood to stay in as you can easily walk down to the nearby attractions. Most of the locations are within 10 minutes’ distance, and the Vatican and Colosseum are hardly 20 minutes away. Also, as it is well connected by the metro, you can easily reach all the nearby places. Some of its popular hotels include-

Otvim Hotel

It is a  top budget-friendly hotel, offering breathtaking views of the historic centre from the terrace. Guests can enjoy delicious breakfasts and other meals with an epic view. Most of the attractions are within walking distance and are priced very generously.

Singer Palace

Singer Palace is a magnificent boutique hotel that is hardly 5 min walking distance away from the iconic Trevi Fountain. The rooftop restaurant is a magical place to enjoy a dreamy breakfast or dinner, and most of the rooms feature beautiful decor.

Martis Palace

It’s a stunning hotel next to Piazza Navona, featuring an incredible roof terrace with a stunning view. It also offers an onsite bar and free WiFi throughout the property. Guests can also enjoy a discounted spa nearby.

Trastevere- Best for food and nightlife

The charming district is next to the historic centre. This place is a bit crowded because it is home to several restaurants and bars, making it an incredible choice for foodies spending winter in Rome. Additionally, many authentic restaurants offer the best nightlife. You can taste aperitivo, a pre-meal drink meant to open the stomach. It is a big Italian tradition, and there is no better place to experience it than in Trastevere. Bustling with mediaeval bohemian vibes, there are cobblestone walkways, ivy-covered buildings with tons of squares, villas and hidden churches. All of this certainly makes the neighbourhood an amazing location to stay. Also, it is 15-30 minutes walking distance from the historic centre, so reaching all important milestones is easy. Some of the top accommodations here are-

Santa Maria in Trastevere | Rome
San Giovanni della Malva Trastevere | Rome

Tree Charme

The stunning hotel offers stunning views of the trees and ivy and is surrounded by many cafes and restaurants. The best part? The historic centre is only 15 minutes away on foot. 

Villa Agrippina

Villa Agrippina is a 5-star hotel with elegant interiors offering an on-site spa with a sauna, jacuzzi and a stunning outdoor pool. The rooms have gorgeous views of the Vatican, and you can enjoy luxury and elegance in the poolside bar and lounge.

Top Floor Trastevere

If you are all about the views, then this is the ideal hotel for you. It offers spotless rooms with fantastic city views, a shared lounge and room services with free Wi-Fi throughout the property.

Spagna- For Families and Luxury Travellers

The charming area is located within the historic centre and is right next to a big park. It’s awesome for families and children looking for relaxation and is known for many luxury hotels and high-end stores. Spagna is close to the main attractions, and it’s also where the popular Spanish Steps are. It is incredibly artsy and historical and is also next to Villa Borghese, a stunning 80-hectare park. There are a lot of authentic restaurants and bars and are well connected to Termini train station and other parts of Rome. Some of the popular accommodations include

Hotel Mozart

It is a top-value hotel and is reasonably priced. Located near Rome’s main shopping street and famous attractions, it features a roof garden with beautiful city views. The rooms are elegant, spacious and clean.

JK Place Roma

JK Place Roma is an elegant hotel offering cosy, stylish rooms with signature hospitality. There’s a wide selection available for breakfast dishes that can be delivered to your rooms with ease. There’s also a fancy bar where you can unwind after exploring the intricacies of winter in Rome.

Tree Charme Hotel

It’s a budget-friendly boutique hotel featuring classic decor and comfy rooms with great dining options. It is surrounded by the main attractions such as the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Pantheon.

Tritone Top House

It’s a charming guesthouse offering a variety of spacious rooms and elegant apartments. The accommodation features a beautiful terrace with stunning views of the city’s skyline. Every room is well-equipped with free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, and a kitchen with state-of-the-art amenities.

Prati- The best place to stay close to the Vatican

Prati is a modern, safe and affluent neighbourhood between the Vatican and the River Tiber. It’s just a few steps from the Vatican, and despite its proximity, it is usually quiet and residential. Overall, Prati is home to Via Cola di Rienzo, a big shopping street with tons of luxurious brands. Plus, endless restaurants and cafes can give you authentic Italian vibes. Its popular accommodation includes-

Orazio Palace

The stunning hotel features a relaxing rooftop terrace bar where you can enjoy drinks while gazing at the beautiful city views. Every room is cleaned and offers a free wifi facility. 

Hotel Della Conciliazione

The hotel is located right next to the Vatican and is reasonably priced. It provides elegant, spacious rooms as well as suites and terraces. There are many good restaurants and cafes in the area where you can enjoy local cuisine. 

St. Peter Central B&B

It is less than a 10-minute walk from the Vatican and is highly affordable. It features clean rooms, free Wi-Fi, AC, and a flat-screen TV. You can enjoy a free Italian breakfast with a cappuccino in a cafe nearby. The best part? It is very close to the metro station.

What to pack for Rome in Winter?

Going to Rome in December is truly a magical experience. With that in mind, be sure to savour every moment of it by dressing in layers and keeping yourself covered. If you get too warm or cold, add or remove a layer until you feel better. You can bring fleece leggings, a comfy knit hat, a pair of boots, thin, long thermal tops, winter jackets, and warm gloves.

Top Reasons to Plan Your Trip in Winters in Rome

Winter sales

Starting January 7th, all the stores will start offering winter sales. It is the best opportunity to grab cool fashion stuff and revamp your wardrobe with your favourite brands.

Less crowded

Apart from Christmas time, winter in Rome is quiet, and you can expect fewer crowds and shorter lines in the main landmarks.

Less expensive

Off-season helps you get the best deals in terms of flights and hotels as compared to the busy summer season. You get availability for good hotels in better locations and better prices.

Vibrant atmosphere

Christmas in Rome is truly magical, and it is one of the reasons you should definitely plan your trip during this time of the year.

Getting tickets is easier.

It’s easy to get tickets for restricted tours such as the Vatican’s gardens and Borghese Galleries.

Winter seasonal food

Enjoy winter in Rome with delicious seasonal food- hot chocolate with cakes, Trapizzino street food and fried artichokes.

Ice skating

The months of December and January are great for ice skating at certain locations around the town. You can head to Parco della Musica or the Castel Sant Angelo for the best experience.

Winter in Rome – Final Thoughts

Rome is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and winters make it even more exciting. There is so much to do and explore here while eating all of the Italian food and more. As you can see, you can do many things no matter what time of the year you visit. The city never sleeps and, indeed, remains vibrant during winter. Exploring Rome in winter is such a unique experience, and it is something that you will never forget. 

So what are you waiting for? Plan your vacation, pack enough warm clothes and enjoy the most memorable winter in Rome!


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