June is one of my favorite times to go to Rome, and, if you are planning a summer trip to Rome, think about moving your vacation to June rather than the sultry months of July and August, when most tourists head to the Eternal City.
In part, June (and even May) is one of the best times to visit the city. The weather is warm but not too warm, the chance of rain is diminished, and the high season is just getting under way.
June is also the best month for taking photographs. The haze is not as bad as the hotter months of July and August, the light is just right (almost magical!), and everything is green and the flowers are in bloom. Many of the photos I use on my blog were taken in June (or late May). The light in June seems to have a special quality that makes the photos better, I think.
If you want to hit the beaches, it is also a good time to go since most Italians will be at work so you will probably only have to contend with other tourists (Check back soon for a post on hitting the better beaches). Again, I think you’ll have the best trip if you mix-and-match your activities and not focus solely on one thing: such as going to the beach, partying, going solely to museums and sites, etc. Vary up your activities and perhaps try some new things to make the most of your trip!
It’s important to remember that being such a popular destinations for millions of tourists worldwide, there are just some places in Rome that are always going to be crowded: Colosseum, Saint Peter’s, many of the popular museums, Roman Forum, etc. To beat the crowds, try booking or purchasing your tickets before you get to these attractions to avoid standing in line and try to go early in the morning or at the end of the day an hour before the ticket offices close (remember, in Italy, if the attraction closes at 8pm, the ticket office will close an hour before, and you won’t be able to get in).
I also recommend not doing too many crowded attractions in the same day – otherwise, you’ll find that you are spending more of your vacation standing in lines than doing anything interesting or fun. And while the temperature in June is not completely unbearable, standing in the hot sun for most of your day can be draining and…downright boring. Standing in line and waiting an hour or two to see a museum or attraction is acceptable (and probably unavoidable) but doing that three or four times in one day to see a slew of museums and sites is just a waste when there are hundreds of things you could be doing. If your stay in Rome is only a few days, then it is even more imperative that you make the most of your stay.
June has a special quality that is hard to explain. Of all my trips to Rome, the June trips have always been the most special. Whether it is the pleasant weather or the fact that the Romans haven’t abandoned Rome for their Ferragosto holidays, I think that you’ll find that heading to Rome in June will be a much more enjoyable time to travel to Rome, when Rome is, in my opinion, at its best!
photo: view of the Roman skyline