If you decide to visit Rome in winter, you may feel as though you have the whole city to yourself, but don’t despair! Many of the major attractions are open all year round and what better way to beat the queues?
The temperatures may drop in winter (which is a relief to many), but the eternal city does not lose any of its charm.
When Rome is hot and crowded, visiting the historical sites can be tiresome, whereas the city’s low-season offers almost as many opportunities in much more favourable temperatures.
In summer, the choices you make about where to visit in Rome can depend on price as many of the restaurants, museums etc. charge premium prices during the main holidays. Prices are much lower in winter and you can visit Rome’s best-loved monuments in relative peace.
Some of the best reasons to visit Rome in winter include:
Eat, drink and be merry
Every city has its comfort food and Rome is no exception. Whether you fancy a hearty, warming bowl of home-made minestrone soup or a steaming bowl of pasta and chickpeas, you will find plenty of winter warmers in the many trattorias and cafes around town. If you are visiting during Christmas indulge in the delicious Pannettone cake and a hot chocolate.
If Italian cooking is your ‘thing’ why not learn to prepare some classic Roman dishes, including antipasti, pasta, main course and dessert? Choose from a range of cookery courses where you will not only learn to cook but you will meet new friends along the way.
Sample Italian wines
Learn how to pair fine Italian wines with local food by an Italian Master Sommelier. Enjoy a wine pairing dinner to warm up your post-sightseeing evening.
No trip to Rome is complete without visiting the Colosseum which is usually crowd-free during winter and there is no need to battle for the best views.
Pay less for air fares and hotels
Flights and hotels are much cheaper in Rome in the winter, especially if you visit during weekdays. Buy tickets and book hotels as far in advance as you can to bag a real travel bargain.
Christmas in Rome
The city is lit up with brilliant Christmas lights from the beginning of December and beautifully-decorated trees light up the city centre and the major sites, including the Colosseum. As snow has fallen in Rome three times in the past three years you may be lucky enough to witness a white Christmas.
Also, every December Piazza Navona hosts a colourful Christmas Market. Befana the witch, not Santa Claus is the star of this show on 6 January. According to Italian folklore, Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy.
The Sistine Chapel is open throughout winter and instead of jostling with the summer crowds, you may even be able to walk straight in to the Vatican Museum’s door without a reservation. Take your time to explore the floor below the famous fresco, viewing every angle without being hurried along.
If you are looking for more winter places to visit while in Rome, take a look at the Guardian Travel article.