Are you afraid of the summer crowds and booked your trip to Rome in autumn instead? If you are not interested in going to the beach, you are going to enjoy the eternal city way more in the fall than in July or August.
Our full guide will give you all the information you need to plan a great trip to Rome in the fall and enjoy the romantic vibe this season gives to the city.
Apart from Tous Saints and the Day of the Dead (Halloween in the US), fall doesn’t have many holidays because it’s a transition season between the summer holidays and Christmas.
Let me tell you everything about visiting Rome in autumn, what to expect from one of the best seasons to be in the eternal city, and what to do.
Weather in Rome in autumn
Spanning from summer to winter, the weather of autumn in Rome varies a lot, with September and October being still quite hot and December offering some pleasant chill.
Rome’s weather in September
Fall in Italy starts on September 21st so only the last ten days can be considered autumn in Rome. In September in Rome, the weather is still quite hot and even though they won’t be the temperatures of July, the days will still be rather sunny.
In the last days of September in Rome, you should expect temperatures ranging from a minimum of 15°C/59°F early morning and a maximum of 27°C/81°F.
Rome’s weather in October
October is one of my favorite months in Rome. The weather is nice and fresh and walking is a true pleasure, making it perfect to explore the city center and the open-air archaeological sites.
While it might rain more than in September, October is not a very wet month and even when the rain comes, it doesn’t last long. Temperatures range from a minimum of 12°C/53°F to a maximum of 22°C/72°F.
Rome’s weather in November
November is one of the rainiest months in Rome. It’s not very cold, but rain-wise pretty unstable and even the forecasts get it wrong more often than not. If you are visiting Rome in November, make sure you pack an umbrella and schedule some indoor time. Thankfully, in Rome, there’s plenty to do when it rains.
If you are wondering about the temperatures, November offers a wide range of different weather options from a minimum of 7°C/45°F at night or very early morning and a maximum that can reach up to 20°C/68°F.
Rome’s weather in December
December is the coldest month of the fall season in Rome. It counts for fall for the first three weeks before the winter solstice leads us to the cold season.
The temperatures in Rome in December are between 4°C/39°F at night or early morning and a maximum that can reach 15°C/59°F during the day. Together with November, December is one of the most humid months in Rome.
Is fall a good season to visit Rome?
Fall is hands-down the best season to visit Rome. Summer has just finished so you can enjoy a pleasant warmth rather than the stifling hot days of July and August but the weather is fresh enough to allow for long walks without sweating.
You will still find some crowds and queues but less than in August, even though to visit major landmarks such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum I still suggest booking online.
Important dates in Rome in the autumn
- 1st of November – All Saints’ Day. This is a holiday in Italy when banks, schools, and public offices are closed. The public transport is on holiday mode there will be fewer buses, trams, trains, and metro.
- 2nd of November – Day of the Dead. This is not a holiday and public offices are open. Schools also should be open except when they do “ponte”, a sort of extended holiday if November 1st falls near the weekend.
- 8th of December – Immaculate Conception. This is a holiday in Italy so also in Rome. Public offices are closed, kids don’t go to school, and the public transport runs with the Sunday schedule. This is also the day when the Christmas lights and decorations start sprucing up the city.
What to do in autumn in Rome
Chase the foliage
One of the most romantic things to do in Rome in autumn is to enjoy the foliage. The falling leaves paint the city with orange and golden tones. Some of the best places in Rome to enjoy the foliage are its notable villas such as Villa Borghese, the Botanical Garden in Trastevere, the park around the EUR lake, and the lovely Villa Torlonia.
If you are strolling the city center, you will love the brown and orange hues of the leaves along the Tiber River as a backdrop for your postcard pictures.
Go to the beach
This, of course, can only be done in September before the proper fall starts. There are many beaches near Rome, from Ostia Lido, the closest and easiest to reach via public transport, to Santa Severa to the coastline of the Circeo Park in the south towards Naples.
If you decide to hit the beach while in Rome in September, you can make it a nice day trip and stop there for lunch. Even if the weather is not suitable for swimming and sunbathing, the coastline around Rome offers great views to enjoy with a long walk in nature.
Go to a museum
Autumn is quite the rainy season in Rome, especially in the months of November and December. One of the best things you can do in this case is to explore one of Rome’s many museums. From notable palaces like Palazzo Barberini to important museums like Galleria Borghese, you will be spoiled for choice.
Depending on the crowd of the day, you can opt for more famous museums such as the Vatican Museums and the Capitoline Museums, or smaller galleries such as Museo Nazionale Etrusco about the Etruscan Civilization and new exhibitions such as the Museum of Light.
Go to church
Rome’s churches are packed with artwork, so entering a place of worship here basically means going to a museum with the perk that it’s free, so perfect if you are visiting Rome on a budget. Perfect to include in the itinerary for a rainy day, churches like Saint Peter’s Basilica, Santa Maria in Trastevere, and Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls are very important for both history and art.
But there are also lesser-known churches worth visiting in Rome, including the beautiful Santa Cecilia in Trastevere Basilica and the basilicas of Santa Prassede and Santa Pudenziana in the Esquilino neighborhood, famous also for their stunning mosaics.
Visit the Pantheon
An important ancient temple turned into a Catholic church, the Pantheon is a must-visit for anyone on their first trip to Rome.
Famous for being the largest dome of the ancient world and the largest ever built with unreinforced concrete, take your time to admire the original structure beautifully preserved and visit the tombs therein including the one of the Renaissance painter Raphael.
Explore Ancient Rome
Open-air landmarks like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Baths of Caracalla, the Trajan’s Markets, and even Ostia Antica are fantastic sites to visit in autumn in Rome when the summer heat is gone.
While in summer and winter, you might need to pick the right time to visit these sights to avoid extreme heat or cold, in autumn in Rome the temperatures are so pleasant that you can really go whenever you find it more suitable for your schedule. Obviously, avoid rainy days as you will be most of the time in the open.
Enjoy Rome’s piazzas
Autumn is a great time to discover the most beautiful squares in Rome. From Piazza del Popolo to the Spanish Steps to Piazza Navona, they are open-air masterpieces hosting sculptures, fountains, and more artwork by important artists such as Bernini, Borromini, and Giacomo della Porta.
Rome’s piazzas are always surrounded by important buildings which can be churches, notable palaces, or even ancient ruins.
What to eat in fall in Rome
- Pumpkin. Getting close to Halloween, you are going to start seeing pumpkins everywhere in Rome. Autumn is when pumpkin-based dishes start peeking out on the local menus.
- Cabbage. Along with pumpkins, you will find all types of cabbage on both restaurants’ menus and in the local markets. From Sicilian broccoli to Tuscan cavolo nero, to the typical space-like Roman broccoli, they will play an important role in the local tables as well as across the other Italian regions.
- Mushrooms. From porcini to oyster mushrooms, if you are a fan, you will love the offer this time of the year in Rome.
- Chestnut and chickpea soup. Prepared with rosemary, when chestnuts are in season, if you find this soup on a menu, order it and enjoy one of Rome’s autumn comfort foods.
- Pasta classics. Think amatriciana and carbonara, but also cacio e pepe and gricia. The best pasta in Rome has the base of guanciale cured cheek and pecorino romano cheese used and combined in different ways. They are all hearty and great when the weather starts to become fresh.
- Coda alla vaccinara. This is another classic of Roman cuisine and quite of a heavy one so perfect in the cold season.
What to wear in Rome in autumn
- Long-sleeve tops. These are perfect for layering, much recommended in autumn in Rome as the weather can change pretty quickly and unexpectedly.
- Jumpers and/or sweaters. Much needed from November and sometimes also mid-October especially in the morning and evening.
- T-shirts. If you are traveling to Rome at the beginning of the fall, you might be using T-shirts during the day. These are also what you can wear in October in Rome.
- Comfortable trousers/jeans. For sightseeing, cotton trousers
- Skirts. Comfortable midi skirts are also perfect for walking around. If you are entering a church, make sure you are not wearing a miniskirt.
- Walking shoes. A warm pair for the fall.
- Ankle boots. Essential in case of rain and many models are comfortable enough to walk around all day. Definitely something to wear in November in Rome.
- Jacket or/and coat. In September and October, a light or denim jacket will be enough, but when November and December start, a heavier jacket or a coat for fancy occasions might become necessary.
- Scarf or shawl. Especially well into the fall, when temperatures start to drop, I always use a scarf. If you have a sensitive throat like me, you might want to pack a scarf or a shawl to avoid catching a cold or flu.
What to pack for Rome in the fall
- Umbrella. Autumn in Rome can be quite humid. Carrying a foldable umbrella in your backpack will save you time and money.
- Raincoat. You don’t need to wear it all the time, but if you have a foldable lightweight raincoat, it doesn’t harm to pack it for Rome in autumn so you can better face unexpected rain and protect your clothes.
- Reusable water bottle. This is something to pack for Rome independently of the season because thanks to the nasoni public fountains, you can always refill your bottle with free drinkable water.
- Sunscreen. Especially if you come in September and the beginning of October, sunscreen might be needed.
- Warm pj. Even though equipped with a heating system, it’s possible that at the beginning of the season, it’s still off in some hotels so if you like to stay warm in the evening, pack your favorite pj.
- Slippers. In case your hotel doesn’t provide them.
- Camera. Compact, DSLR, or even just your smartphone but you are going to want to take plenty of pictures in Rome in autumn.
- Backpack/crossbody bag. Useful to carry your belongings such as an umbrella and your bottle of water.
- Sling bag. This can be safer if you are using public transport.
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