Autumn is starting and while it’s one of my favorite seasons, in Italy it can be pretty wet. If you are worried about what to do in Rome when it rains, fret not. First of all, there are many places to visit in Rome with bad weather, and second, even in Fall, you will find lovely days.
Autumn in Rome is actually very nice. The colors of the falling leaves give a romantic touch to the stunning cityscape and temperatures are perfect, not too hot anymore, nor too cold. However, even though it’s widely known that in autumn and winter in Rome it rains quite a lot, some might think that spring is a rain-free season. Wrongly so, though. Spring can bring some good showers on the city, followed by a nice, clear, blue sky.
Since you can’t really do much about the weather, it might as well be worth it to know what you can do if the day is not what you expected. This is why I wanted to write a comprehensive list of the best things you can do in Rome if it rains to make the most of your time and never regret you booked that ticket!
Table of Contents
- 1 What to Do in Rome When it Rains? 13 Great Things to Do in Rome on a Rainy Day
- 1.1 Visit Musei Capitolini
- 1.2 Discover the industrial archaeology at Centrale Montemartini
- 1.3 Duck into a Museum
- 1.4 Visit the Pantheon
- 1.5 Enjoy a longer coffee break in Rome
- 1.6 Indulge in your hotel’s spa
- 1.7 Visit the Vatican
- 1.8 Go to Church
- 1.9 Shop at a local market
- 1.10 Discover Rome’s first pharmacy
- 1.11 Visit Santa Cecilia in Trastevere Basilica
- 1.12 Allow yourself an aperitivo break
- 1.13 Get Underground
What to Do in Rome When it Rains? 13 Great Things to Do in Rome on a Rainy Day
When you do find a rainy day in Rome, here are some of the best things you can do and places you can visit. Unless you are traveling in summer, it’s possible to find a cloudy and even rainy day. This is why it’s always better to arrive prepared and know what to do in Rome when it rains.
Visit Musei Capitolini
It’s central, right on Capitoline Hill and it’s a must-see in Rome. Musei Capitolini is the perfect introduction to Roman history from Etruscan times to the foundation of the city.
A large exhibition displays a series of precious artifacts and archaeological relics such as working tools, sculptures, paintings, pottery, and more, and shows centuries of art and the history of Rome.
Discover the industrial archaeology at Centrale Montemartini
Centrale Montemartini is a fascinating museum located in the Ostiense neighborhood. Located in Rome’s first public power plant for the production of electricity, this is a one-of-a-kind museum. This old power station hosts archaeological relics from Musei Capitolini and visitors enjoy ancient and modern history in the same exhibition.
Duck into a Museum
Apart from the previous two important galleries I mentioned above, there are so many fantastic museums that if you don’t know what to do in Rome when it rains, this really is the answer you were looking for.
Ancient and modern history, ancient and contemporary art, oddities, archaeological parks, and religious heritage, Rome’s top museums are incredibly interesting and a must if you want to better learn and delve deeper into the local culture.
Visit the Pantheon
Built as the temple to all gods, according to the myth, when it rains water can’t pass through the hole in the ceiling. What’s a better moment to check out if this is a myth or reality than on a rainy day?
Almost always a stop in the best private tours of Rome, the Pantheon has gone down in history as the ancient world’s largest dome and is still now one of the world’s largest concrete domes. The resting place of members of the Savoy, the former Italian royal family, and painter Raphael, this is a perfect place where ancient architecture and modern culture blend in smoothly.
Enjoy a longer coffee break in Rome
One of the pleasures of being in Rome is also to tuck into its pastries and a great selection of coffees, chocolates, and similar products. While on a sunny day we don’t want to feel guilty for what might seem like wasting time when it rains and may be a little cold, this is truly a perfect way to spend an afternoon in Rome.
There is nothing better than curling up with hot tea, coffee or chocolate in one of Rome’s many cafes and bistros. One of my favorites is the Romeow Cat Bistrot, but there are many other cafes worth trying and spending an afternoon such as Sciascia Caffè 1919 (Via Fabio Massimo 80/a), Giada Food Lab & Drinks (Corso Trieste 97/a), Vivi Bistrot (Piazza Navona 2) and Makasar Bistrot (Via Plauto 33/33a).
Indulge in your hotel’s spa
If you have booked a four or five-star hotel in Rome, there is a good chance that they have a spa, but even if you are in more budget accommodation, you can always try the spa of another hotel. We pampered ourselves with the sauna, sensory shower, and a massage at the spa of Hotel Lunetta near Campo de’ Fiori and absolutely loved it.
If it’s still nice weather, you can also stay indoors and take advantage of your hotel’s pool. There are many hotels in Rome with either indoor or outdoor pools.
Visit the Vatican
Except for the gardens and St. Peter’s Square, all places to visit in the Vatican are indoor, the most important being St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums. The good thing is that these two areas of the Vatican are big enough that they will take you a whole day to visit well. Read my complete guide to know all the things you can do in the Vatican.
Go to Church
There are so many churches in Rome that even if you are not a religious person, I think you shouldn’t miss them. Steeped in history and rich in art, they are a treasure trove of hidden and not-so-hidden gems, including masterpieces from great artists such as Bernini, Borromini, and Caravaggio.
Apart from the well-known ones, there are many lesser-known and least-visited churches that are worth a visit for their historical value and the artwork they house, such as San Pietro in Vincoli, hardly included in classic Rome itineraries even though it preserves the chains that kept St. Peter captive and a sculpture of the great Michelangelo, nonetheless.
Shop at a local market
In Rome, you can find delicious fresh produce and regional specialties, and local food markets are always the best place for this type of shopping. Whether you are staying at an apartment and you need to do some grocery shopping or you want some gifts from Rome for family and friends back home, here you can find pretty much anything.
Some of the best local markets to visit on a rainy morning in Rome are Mercato Trionfale (Via Doria 3), Mercato Testaccio (Via Beniamino Franklin) and Nuovo Mercato Esquilino (Via Filippo Turati 160). This is a big favorite among tourists and locals so what to do in Rome when it rains or on a sunny day, too, because they are all covered markets.
Discover Rome’s first pharmacy
Santa Maria della Scala in Trastevere is Rome’s first public pharmacy. Managed by the Discalced Carmelite friars, this ancient pharmacy has been healing patients since the 16th century. Today it’s possible to visit only with a guided tour and if you have time I suggest you do it. You will enter a small world of herbs, oils, potions and all sorts of techniques of ancient medicine.
If you are still wondering what to do in Rome when it rains, this is a pretty fascinating and unusual place to discover that even many Romans don’t know.
Visit Santa Cecilia in Trastevere Basilica
The resting place of Santa Cecilia, saint patron of music, this beautiful basilica often goes forgotten. Many tourists stop at the other great basilica of the neighborhood, Santa Maria in Trastevere, but that’s a pity.
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere Basilica is actually a great visit not only for the modern church but also for the crypt and Roman domus in its underground. I’ve been there twice and whenever someone comes to visit me in Rome, I make sure we go to Santa Cecilia.
Allow yourself an aperitivo break
Call it aperitif, call it early dinner, this is a perfect way to round off a rainy day in Rome. Many restaurants, bistros and coffee shops organize a daily aperitif from around 6-6.30 to about 8-8.30 pm. Often it comes in the formula of an unlimited buffet and one drink included in a fixed price so it can be a great way to have an early, healthy and cheap dinner in Rome. This is also a good occasion to try a new restaurant you would have probably left out on a sunny day to stay out sightseeing.
Lucky for you, some places that served a great aperitif are some of the best rooftop bars in Rome. Here, you can enjoy a cozy ambiance, great views, and obviously great food and drinks. This is what to do in Rome when it rains whether you are a foodie by nature or you just want to have a relaxing holiday.
There is a whole city underground and visiting the relics below modern-day street level is a fantastic way to stay indoors and keep exploring Rome on a rainy day. Places like the catacombs, the Capuchin’s Crypt, the underground layers of San Clemente Basilica, and the Stadium of Domitian underneath Piazza Navona are only some of the landmarks you can tick off your Rome bucket list when outside is pouring.
I love exploring underground Rome, and not because I have seen everything that lies on the surface, but because it gives you a more complete picture and understanding of the city and its long history.
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