Rome is thronged with vacationers strolling through the city’s requisite tourism attractions for the entire summer. A full slate of summer festivals and outdoor concerts keeps it alive despite the blazing temperatures. The oppressive heat and overcrowded streets finally get to the locals in August, when the city’s residents empty out and head to Italy’s beaches. Visitors during this time are often left wondering if any Italians actually live there. Though the city is trying to put more on offer during this stretch, be prepared for closed restaurants and shuttered storefronts.
Spring and fall are the best times to be in Rome if you can make it work. The weather is more agreeable, the crowds are not as intense, and there’s still plenty to see and do. The Festa della Primavera (Spring Festival) helps throw off the chains of winter, and a string of activities follows, including Settimana Santa and Pasqua (Holy Week and Easter); Cultural Heritage Week, during which admission to many of the city’s public museums and monuments is free; and Natale di Roma, the city’s birthday party. October’s International Film Festival is an exciting time for the city, but keep in mind that October and November are also the rainy months.
Though typically mild, winter can also get pretty cold. You can walk up and sightsee even at the major attractions without waiting in line and dine at virtually any restaurant without a reservation. Though most places remain open during this period, some will have off-season hours and business owners will take a winter break at some point. The Christmas season is important to Italians, and it can be a fun time to check out the city’s activities. This is, after all, the city where Christmas originated. The first Christmas mass is thought to have been celebrated at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, which now showcases one of the oldest nativity scenes in the world.