If you're planning a trip to Rome, you're probably envisioning idling around picturesque streets, sipping coffee at a streetside cafe, taking in the Colosseum and other ancient ruins, and indulging in Italian cuisine and wine. And while you can do all of these things any time of the year, consider spring and fall as optimal times to travel. Visit in April and enjoy sunny weather, fervent Easter celebrations, azaleas on the Spanish Steps and Rome's birthday festivities. Wait until autumn, and you'll still experience warm weather, plenty of cultural action at Romaeuropa and, with schools back in session, fewer tourists are around.

The only downside to traveling during these months: it's busy, and peak rates apply. High season is typically from Easter to September, over Christmas and New Year and during major religious festivals. And while Rome doesn't have a low season, as such, rates are their lowest from November to March (excluding Christmas and New Year). 

Editor's note: During COVID-19, please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government health advice. Events may be subject to change.


Best time to explore the city's beauty

The Spanish Steps are covered with azaleas.
Spanish Steps in the morning with azaleas in Rome, Italy  ©Belenos/Shutterstock

Spring is an ideal time to visit Rome. The weather is perfect – usually warm enough to eat outside – and the city is looking gorgeous with blue skies and spring flowers. 

Planning your trip around Easter will yield myriad of festivities. On Good Friday, the pope leads a candlelit procession around the Colosseum, and there are other smaller parades around the city. At noon on Easter Sunday, the pope blesses the crowds in St Peter's Square.

From early April to mid-May, take in the Spanish Steps, adorned with hundreds of vases of blooming, brightly colored azaleas. A magnet for visitors since the 18th century, the Spanish Steps (Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti) provide a perfect people-watching perch. The 135 gleaming steps rise from Piazza di Spagna to the landmark Chiesa della Trinità dei Monti. At the top of the steps, the Chiesa della Trinità dei Monti is notable for the great views over Rome offered from its front staircase, and for its impressive frescoes by Daniele da Volterra. Down on the piazza, you'll find the Barcaccia, the "sinking boat" fountain. Be aware, however, of new rules which prohibit people from "camping" or "sitting out" on the steps. 


Best time for festivals 

Lungo il Tevere Festival along the banks of the Tiber River in Rome
Lungo il Tevere is a summer-long festival on the banks of the Tiber River ©Elizabeth Beard/Getty Images

Summer kicks off with plenty of festivals, and is considered one of the more busy times for tourists. 

In June, Estate Romana begins. This big summer festival, which runs from June to September, involves everything from concerts and dance performances to book fairs, puppet shows and late-night museum openings. 

Also beginning in June is Lungo il Tevere, a summer-long festival with live music, film screenings, exhibitions, craft stalls and bars, all on the banks of the Tiber between Ponte Sublicio and Ponte Sisto.


Best time for theater

Roman ruins are shown in the fall.
Roman ruins in Rome, Italy ©S.Borisov/Shutterstock

Life returns to the city after the August torpor. The kids go back to school and locals return to work, but there's still a relaxed summer vibe and the weather's ideal. Keep in mind, however, that high-season rates still apply.

One of September's premier events is Romaeuropa, Rome's autumn festival of theater, opera and dance. Events, staged across town from mid-September through to mid-November, range from avant-garde dance to installations, multimedia shows, recitals and readings.

And in late October, Rome's film festival, Festa del Cinema di Roma, rolls out the red carpet for Hollywood hot shots and bigwigs from Italian cinema. The festival is held at the Auditorium Parco della Musica.


Best time for shopping

Shoppers walk by Brighenti in Rome.
Shoppers might enjoy Brighenti on the Via Franttina in Rome ©Martin Moos/Lonely Planet

With the exception of Christmas through the New Year, rates are at their lowest from November to March. January is a good time to shop, with winter fashion sales beginning. And in February,  sports fans can enjoy the Six Nations rugby tournament.

Best things to do in Rome, month-by-month

Here's a monthly guide to what you can expect through the year in Rome. All events are subject to change.


As New Year celebrations fade, the winter cold digs in. It’s a quiet time of year, but the winter sales are a welcome diversion.
Key events: Winter fashion sales.

A masked dame in a coach in Rome
A XVIII century style dame in coach during Carnevale Romano's Parade in Rome, Italy ©marialba.italia/Getty Images


Rome’s winter quiet is shattered by colorful carnival celebrations and weekend invasions by cheerful rugby fans in town for the annual Six Nations rugby tournament.
Key events: Carnevale, Six Nations rugby tournament, parades held around Piazza del Popolo, Via del Corso, Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Navona.


The onset of spring brings blooming flowers, rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall. Unless Easter falls in late March, the city is fairly subdued and low-season prices still apply.
Key events: Giornate FAI di Primavera.

Runners run in the Rome marathon
Runners in the 23rd Rome marathon, the Maratona di Roma, pass in front of the altar of the homeland, the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II ©Polifoto/Shutterstock


April in Rome boasts lovely, sunny weather, fervent Easter celebrations and azaleas on the Spanish Steps. Expect high-season prices.
Key events: Natale di Roma, Maratona di Roma, Easter celebrations, azaleas on the Spanish Steps.


May is a busy, high-season month, likely due to the warmer temperatures.
Key events: Primo Maggio, Internazionale BNL d'Italia.


Summer has arrived and with it hot weather and the Italian school holidays. The city's festival season breaks into full stride with many outdoor events.
Key events: Festa dei Santi Pietro e Paolo, Isola del Cinema (mid-June to September), Lungo il Tevere, Roma Incontro il Mondo (late June to August), Estate Romana (June to September).

An cone filled with Italian gelato
Summer nights are great for Italian gelato in Rome ©mitchinovphotography/Shutterstock


Hot summer temperatures make sightseeing a physical endeavor, but come the cool of evening, the city’s streets burst into life as locals come out to enjoy the summer festivities.
Key events: Festa de' Noantri, Teatro dell'Opera's summer season of music and ballet, Concerti del Tempietto summer series.


Rome melts in the heat as locals flee the city for their summer holidays. Many businesses shut down around August 15, but hoteliers offer discounts and there are loads of summer events to enjoy.
Key events: Festa della Madonna della Neve, Ferragosto.


Rome's students return to school and locals return to work in September, but the weather is still warm. High-season rates still apply. 
Key events: Romaeuropa

See Rome like Audrey Hepburn


Autumn is a good time to visit – the warm weather is holding, Romaeuropa ensures plenty of cultural action and, with the schools back, there are far fewer tourists around.
Key events: Festa del Cinema di Roma.


Although the wettest month, November has its compensations – low-season prices, market stalls laden with bumper autumnal produce and no queues outside the big sights. On the events front, it's a fairly quiet time of year.
Key events: Roma Jazz FestivalFestival Internazionale di Musica e Arte Sacra


The build-up to Christmas is a festive time – the Christmas lights go on, shopping takes on a new urgency and presepi (nativity scenes) appear across town, most spectacularly in St Peter's Square.
Key events: Piazza Navona Christmas Fair

You might also like:
Best places to eat in Rome
Italy travel guide
Rome itineraries 

Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter.

Book Lonely Planet Experiences

Experience hidden gems with the world's leading travel publisher with tours offered around the globe. All our experiences are designed, built, and run by local experts.


Book Lonely Planet Experiences

Explore related stories