Deciding when to take a vacation can be complicated and really depends on the kind of person that you are. Can you tolerate the heat? Do cooler temperatures both you? Rome is the kind of city that can be enjoyed all year round, as long as you can tolerate the heat of the summer. It rarely snows there, and the winters are mild. The summer, on the other hand, can be brutally hot if not almost insufferable.
When not to go to Rome
I would avoid Rome in August since that’s when the city has more tourists than Romans. Rome is best enjoyed when the people who make the city vibrant are actually there. That’s not to say that the city is abandoned, but I don’t feel that Rome is at its best in August, when many of the locals head off to the beaches and mountains to get away from the heat of the summer and the influx of tourists. Also, August tends to be the hottest month of the year. Be prepared to pay the most for your ticket and hotels if you chose to go in August. Remember, that air conditioning is not widespread in Italy as you might expect in your home country. If you cannot stand the heat, I would avoid traveling to Rome this time of the year.
High Season in Rome
The most expensive times to be in the Eternal City are the summer months – June, July and August – and Christmas between the 16th of December and just after New Years. While you can probably find a good deal on airfare in December, hotels will charge in season rates during the holiday season.
The summer is expensive all around – hotels and airfare. Expect to pay anywhere between 150-300 euro/night for a hotel in Rome during the summer (or more!). Airfare during the peak season can run anywhere between $800-1500 for a round trip ticket per person. If you plan to head to Rome in the summer months, be sure to purchase your tickets early.
I want to go to Rome but I can’t afford those prices
Rome isn’t expensive all year round. While airfare to Rome from the United States is somewhat higher than many other countries, deals abound! The early spring is a relatively inexpensive time to head to Rome (March-April). You can probably find a decent ticket in May before the start of the peak travel season.
You’ll find your lowest prices during the winter months (except the Christmas holidays). January and February tend to be slower months and the late fall (if purchased early) can also be quite affordable. Hotel rates during these times tend to be lower too as high summer season winds down!
For airfare, in the spring expect to pay anywhere between $450-600 dollars, depending upon your city of departure. In the winter, you might catch a break and find some airfare between $400-600. Hotel rates during the low season can run you between $100-200 a night.
Rome in the winter
The winter months of Rome are, oddly enough, my favorite months to travel to Italy. Why? Well, for one thing, the cold weather doesn’t bother me, but more importantly, prices are cheaper, crowds are minimal, the city is less touristy, and the wait to enter many popular monuments and museums is shorter than the spring and summer months. Make no mistake though, Rome is full of tourists all year round, but you will find fewer people are heading to vacations in Italy in January and February.
The Christmas season in Rome can be an interesting experience. The commercialism that is so prevalent in the United States is replaced with a more subdued holiday season, perhaps because of the presence of the Vatican and the many churches and basilicas throughout the city. You’ll find dozens of concerts in the many churches of Rome, with choruses and orchestras performing religious and secular Christmas music.
Weather to expect
Expect the summer to be hot and humid, with the occasional thunderstorm or shower.
The spring is the best time to go. If the weather is on the warmer side, you could probably do without a coat, but be prepared for rain and the occasional cold spell. In the evenings, a jacket/coat is advisable.
Winter is cold but mild compared to many parts of the world. A comfortable jacket, scarf and a pair of gloves may be needed. In the winter, expect more rain and an umbrella might be useful too. I suggest dressing in layers and wearing a comfortable jacket (not too bulky or warm) so that you are not uncomfortable when you are indoors!