While November in Rome is a low-key month, in December the city lives another full season of tourism and travelers from all over the world. Cold at times, December in Rome is truly magical. With slightly fewer rainfalls than in November, knowing what to wear in Rome in December will have you more prepared in case of sudden weather changes, which especially in the past few years have been unpredictable.
December in Italy in general is a very festive month. From the beginning, with the Christmas preparations to the actual holidays, you will love to join the locals in their Yule spirit and celebrations. Some of these celebrations happen in the evening, so one more reason to pay attention to the clothes you pack for Rome in December.
Rome is not as dressy as Milan, but if you are attending a concert, having dinner out for Christmas or New Year’s Eve, or joining a fancy event in the evening, you might want to look after your dressing style not to feel out of context. For example, wearing loose, stained, or torn-out clothes will make you stand out from the crowd and look out of place.
This being said, the first and most important thing to consider when packing what to wear in Rome in December and any season, in general, is that you are going to be wearing those items so you should be comfortable. This applies also to the weather: make sure you don’t feel cold even if the result will be less elegant than what you wanted.
With always new archaeological diggings and new restaurant openings, Rome is an ever-changing city, whether it’s the food scene or the local history. This is why when packing for a Rome trip it’s a good idea to have something for every occasion such as a fancy restaurant or an ancient site.
So if you are planning your holiday, here are our essential tips on how what to wear in December in Rome.
Table of Contents
- 1 Is Rome too cold in December?
- 2 What is the temperature in Rome in early December?
- 3 Will it rain in Rome in December?
- 4 Will it snow in Rome in December?
- 5 How cold is Rome at Christmas?
- 6 What to wear in Rome in December – Men and women from bottom to top!
- 7 What footwear to pack for Rome in December
- 8 What outer garments you should wear in Rome in December
- 9 Nightwear to pack for Rome in December
- 10 Jewelry to wear in Rome in winter
- 11 What clothes to pack for a baby or toddler for December in Rome
- 12 What should kids wear in Rome in December
- 13 What to wear in Rome in December if you are going to the Vatican
- 14 More tips on what to pack for Rome in December
Is Rome too cold in December?
Rome in December can get pretty cold, especially toward the end of the month. Winter starts on December 21st, and while temperatures don’t suddenly drop in one night, you need to consider that the weather becomes chillier and chillier.
It’s very rare that temperatures in Rome in December go below 0°C but they start to get close to that.
One of the main factors you need to consider when deciding what to wear in Rome in December is the level of humidity. Even though it doesn’t rain every day and you will also find a few sunny days, Rome will still be cold and humid.
What is the temperature in Rome in early December?
Early December is still autumn and even though you might find some rainfall, it’s not too cold yet.
Being November just finished, in early December in Rome we still have some mild days, sometimes even reaching 15 to 19°C.
Will it rain in Rome in December?
Likely. Along with November, December is one of the rainiest months in Rome. With an average of 7 to 9 days of rainfall, it’s a good habit to check the forecast before going out.
Will it snow in Rome in December?
Hardly. Snow in general in Rome is pretty rare. In the 20+ years I have lived in Rome, I saw the city covered in white only once, and it wasn’t even December. If it doesn’t pour some snowflakes, it won’t be in December but more likely in January or February.
How cold is Rome at Christmas?
Christmas is at the end of December, and winter has already started, so the temperature has dropped since the beginning of the month.
On top of this, Christmas celebrations are often in the evening or at night, such as the midnight Mass, concerts, and events.
This makes it necessary to wear something warmer and protect yourself from humidity and potential rain.
Your underwear doesn’t need to be extra warm. Pack a few underwear tops to wear underneath blouses or sweaters.
During the day cotton socks are usually fine, when it’s colder, you can opt for wool items.
If you are wearing skirts, a pair of thick, covering tights is necessary. At night, I wear thermic tights.
Dresses or skirts
With the right pair of tights, you can totally wear skirts or dresses in Rome in December. Warm, fleece dresses during the day can be worn with tights or leggings if the weather is colder. Make sure you check the dress code of the places you are visiting such as the Vatican. A knee-length skirt will suit many places.
A pair of fleece leggings will be very handy with a warm sweater on top and boots or ankle boots. I would recommend black leggings so that you can match them with more wintery colors.
Jeans or trousers
Blue or black skinny or wide-leg jeans, fleece pants, warm smart bootcut leg trousers, slim ankle grazers, and straight-leg or wide-leg trousers are all great options for women on most occasions in Rome.
Even if you are going out for dinner, you don’t necessarily wear a skirt or a dress if you don’t feel like it. Wear a slim ankle grazer with a pair of décolleté or ballerinas or wide-leg trousers with a pair of boots.
For men, wearing warm chinos or well-fitted jeans is the way to go.
Long-sleeve and warm tops are a must in Rome in December. I suggest packing a few of them in different colors so that you can match them with different items. These are perfect to wear alone under your coat or winter jacket if the day is not too cold. If temperatures drop, you will still want to wear a top underneath your sweater.
Jumpers or sweaters
Wear a jumper if you have a sporty style and a sweater if you like to be more in style.
In the city center, you won’t see many Italian women walking around with jumpers or gym-type clothes (unless they are running along the river!). However, around the main tourist attractions, you will see plenty of tourists wearing jeans and jumpers.
For women, if you wish to blend in, wear a sweater, whether it’s a turtleneck or V-neck, or cowl neck, on top of jeans or elegant trousers. In the evening, you can wear a scoop neck sweater with a bit of cleavage to fit a nice necklace.
For men, well-fitted sweaters are what to pack for Rome in December. You probably want to avoid hoodies: they are more for children or teenagers and you might stick out in the crowd.
Button-up shirts for men and blouses for women are great items for both layering and wearing alone under your coat if the day is not too cold or if you are staying inside.
Casual style during the day and more elegant for a night out paired with smart trousers or knee-length skirts for men can solve many clothing-style dilemmas.
What footwear to pack for Rome in December
A pair of warm sneakers is a perfect shoe choice for both men and women traveling to Rome in December because they are comfortable for walking and protect you from the cold weather. Never forget that Rome is full of staircases, so comfort is a must to keep in mind when packing.
When deciding what to wear in Rome in December, keep in mind that an extra pair of walking shoes such as ankle boots are very much recommended if your first pair gets wet in the rain.
Italian women love boots. They are a good match if you are wearing a skirt and it’s cold. During the day, women can wear flat and padded boots also on top of leggings or skinny trousers, while for a night out, you might prefer a nicer pair with a bit of heel.
Ballerinas or décolleté?
If you have some extra room in your luggage, both types of shoes can be elegant and suitable for a dinner out at a fancy restaurant.
Flat shoes with a bit of sole are comfortable to walk and also elegant. I have a black pair of flat shoes that I wear from fall all through December.
What outer garments you should wear in Rome in December
Properly warm winter jackets are the way to go during your daily sightseeing in Rome. If it features an outer waterproof layer, even better.
If you are more into coats, think comfortable pea coats able to wrap you up, keep you warm, and still allow you to walk all day long.
For the evening, you might want something more elegant than your daily sporty jacket. A long black coat will do on many occasions.
I wear a scarf from October, even though lighter than the one I wear in winter. A warm woolen scarf is recommended pretty much every day in December in Rome, just like your coat.
For the evening, you might either opt for a shawl or a more elegant scarf.
A wool knitted hat or cap is recommended in Rome in December for both men and women. You will see many women wearing a hat in Rome, and styles vary a lot.
Beanies, trapper hats, and French-style berets are all over the city as soon as temperatures drop. Go nuts with colors, materials, and models but remember that in Italy we like to be stylish without overdoing it.
Gloves yes and no. The beginning of the month might feel too early to wear gloves, but towards Christmas, it’s a good idea to carry one in your purse. Once winter kicks off, temperatures can drop suddenly and gloves can protect you from dry and chapped hands.
I understand that gloves are very handy when staying out the whole day. You need to take them off every time you need something from your purse, every time you need to pay for something (like the warm roasted chestnuts all over Rome’s city center), or every time you need to take a picture (always!).
Opt for a pair of e-tip gloves so that your hands will stay warm and most of those unpractical problems are solved.
Nightwear to pack for Rome in December
Your hotel will certainly have the heating on, but I recommend packing a warm pajama or nightgown. No light summer nightwear. I like fleece winter pajamas, but if your room is very warm (and it’s likely to be), you might want to pack a long-sleeve and trouser pajama that’s not necessarily fleeced or padded.
While in the room before going to sleep or in the morning when you wake up, you might feel cozier wearing a nightgown. It doesn’t need to be too heavy, but a thin fleece will feel snug.
Depending on your hotel, your room might include a pair of slippers. But in case they don’t, it won’t harm to pack a pair of warm slippers or flip-flops to stay in.
Jewelry to wear in Rome in winter
In Italy, we love necklaces. I have so many that often I can’t even remember them. In winter, you might want to pack longer and thicker necklaces than the summer ones to avoid hiding them under your sweater.
Unless you are wearing just a blouse, in December in Rome you might like a heavier-style necklace that goes over your garment.
Stud-type pearl earrings, shoulder dusters, dangly drop earrings, teardrops, or wire hooks, Italian women love earrings. Wear something not too loud to blend in.
Without overcharging your travel jewelry, a stylish bracelet coming out of your garment is a nice addition. Avoid tacky shapes and colors if you want to blend in, especially when out at a fancy restaurant or if you are attending a Christmas celebration.
Apart from your engagement/wedding rings, wearing a stylish ring will make your outfit look more precious. As for the rest, avoid overdoing it.
What clothes to pack for a baby or toddler for December in Rome
Wool or warm cotton, warm socks are necessary for babies.
Cozy fleece trousers
Your baby needs to be always comfortable and warm at all times. Fleece trousers and pants are perfect for them to move around, run, or sleep in the stroller.
Warm jumpers and hoodies
The same goes for jumpers and hoodies. Either cozy fleece ones or made in wool, they need to be warm and possibly loose and comfortable.
Long-sleeve tops or bodies
Under the jumper, cozy tops or bodies are a must to wear in Rome in December for babies and toddlers. This will protect their belly and back, avoid them from getting sick, and always make them feel warm.
Cozy winter jacket
While a coat might be too complicated and dressy for a baby, a cozy winter jacket to wear on top of their jumper is a must.
Since I didn’t trust my baby with a scarf, and I still don’t even if he’s 3 years old, I recommend packing a neck warmer for your child. In December, the neck needs to be protected all day and even more so if you are going out at night.
Babies and toddlers should always a warm fleece or wool hat in Rome in December.
My son never kept his mittens on, but if your baby does, you want to pack these for December in Rome because the cold weather requires it, especially for little babies.
At least two pairs of waterproof, warm winter sneakers are a good option for your toddler. Better two than one in case the first one gets soaked on a rainy day.
Even though babies and toddlers are always stylish, if you want, you can pack an extra pair of cozy sneakers to wear for a restaurant dinner. In this case, pick a dark color such as blue or brown and you are good to go.
Pack some diapers for the first days, then buy them in Rome. You can find them in every pharmacy and supermarket.
What should kids wear in Rome in December
Just like toddlers, children and kids need warm socks. Warm cotton is fine, in colder days, you can opt for wool ones.
Underneath your daily clothes, kids should wear a warm top. Depending on the day, it can be short or long-sleeved. It usually doesn’t need to be thermic, but it should be warm cotton, not a summer-style t-shirt.
Jumpers and hoodies
For kids, this is the way to go. They keep them warm and they will be comfortable sightseeing the whole day. Don’t worry too much about being elegant, kids get access everywhere the way they are.
If you are going to the Christmas midnight Mass with your kids, attending a concert in a fancy hall, or booking your Christmas lunch or New Year’s Eve dinner at a fancy restaurant, your kids can wear a more elegant sweater with a pair of jeans or warm trousers.
Jeans and trousers
During the day, gym-like or sporty trousers are the best clothing items for kids to wear in Rome in December. For a fancier evening, a pair of jeans or nicer trousers are a good choice.
Here, too, I recommend packing at least two pairs of sneakers in case one gets soaked or dirty. If you have some extra room in your luggage, you can pack a third pair of more elegant sneakers
Hat and scarf
Even though hardly a kid will leave his gloves on, a hat and a scarf are necessary.
What to wear in Rome in December if you are going to the Vatican
When deciding what to wear in Rome in December, you always need to take into account the factors and the occasions that will impact your packing list. Nights out, celebrations, religious functions, and also landmarks to visit are to be considered when packing your luggage.
Keep in mind that the Vatican requires a modest dress code so forget shorts and miniskirts, not only when visiting St. Peter’s Basilica but also the Vatican Museums, the Gardens, and the ancient Roman necropolis below the Vatican church. Being winter, it’s not too difficult, but remember that shorts and miniskirts are not allowed even if you are wearing thick and covering tights.
Shoulders, too, need to be covered, but in December they will likely be pretty much everywhere.
Even when you are wearing long-sleeve tops and your shoulders are covered, avoid see-through garments and too-revealing cleavage.
Make sure you don’t miss our guide to visiting the Vatican City in Rome.
More tips on what to pack for Rome in December
As soon as it starts raining in Rome, you will find plenty of street vendors handing out umbrellas. I have bought many times from them because more than once the rain caught me by surprise. Unfortunately, they are low quality and break pretty quickly. So if you have some room left in your suitcase, I recommend packing a good-quality foldable umbrella from home.
Reusable water bottle
This is always handy to pack for Rome because you can easily refill your bottle at the hundreds of nasoni fountains present all over the city. It’s always drinkable water so you will save money and time.
To carry around your belongings such as your water bottle, camera, smartphone, and wallet, a backpack is very handy. You just need to be careful about the landmarks you are visiting if they allow a backpack in.
If you are not into backpacks or are visiting the Colosseum where backpacks are not allowed, you can opt for a cross-body bag to carry your valuables around. This type of bag will likely have less space than a backpack so you might need to narrow down the items you want to carry around.
Don’t miss our up-to-date guide to visiting the Colosseum.