Heat in Rome is normal in summer. In some years it gets very hot in mid-June, in other years only at the end of July. In Rome, the heat is normal and Rome and the Romans are prepared for the heat. But beware! You are not allowed to enter the monumental fountains, there are high penalties!
When it’s hot in the summer, air-conditioned rooms are important. It is best if the hotel is in the area of the city center, between Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Venezia, then you can also rest during the day for an hour in the hotel.
What to do when it’s hot in Rome · Siesta
There is no siesta for the working people in Rome. This is not a problem as they usually work in air-conditioned rooms. The Romans take a break for lunch, usually for one hour starting between 12:30 and 1 pm.
For the visitors of the city a siesta is of course very pleasant. After a busy morning program, avoid the biggest heat of the day and take a rest.
For the siesta you shall look for a shady spot. Even in the churches, it is mostly pleasantly cool. In many churches you can also find benches or chairs.
These are my favorites for a siesta in Rome:
1. The baths of Diocletian
The baths of Diocletian are located across from the main train station Termini. They are also near to the station of the Metro A station Repubblica. The baths of Diocletian are part of the Roman National Museum.
In the Museum you can see remains of the old baths, as well as various courtyards and an exhibition about the emergence and spread of the Latin script. Particularly impressive is the cloister built by Michelangelo. In this enormous cloister you can find wonderful places where you can relax, and there is almost ever a breeze.
2. The catacombs
The catacombs are a great way to cool off in the summer. The catacombs of Calixtus on the via Appia Antica have a beautiful park where you can relax before or after the visit. Also in the Church of Saint Sebastian at the catacombs of Saint Sebastian, it is pleasantly fresh.
Reaching the catacombs by bus 118 from Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum, the bus 218 from San Giovanni or the violet hop on hop off line by Bigbus.
Opening hours of Calixtus catacombs: 9 am-12, 2-5 pm. Wednesday closed
Opening hours St. Sebastian catacombs: 10 am-4:30 pm. Sunday day of rest
Opening hours Domitilla catacombs: 9 am-12, 2-5 pm. Tuesday closed
More about the catacombs on the Appian way.
3. The Pincio
The Pincio is a park and a terrace above Piazza del Popolo. It has a magnificent view over the city and it is pleasantly shady. At Pincio you can rent quadricycles.
From the Pincio you can also go to Villa Borghese. However, you have to do a piece in the blazing sun and that is not so nice on hot days.
4. Villa Borghese
If you want to get to Villa Borghese, there is a very convenient passage through the metro station Spagna near the Spanish Steps. The passage is free. From the metro station Flaminio you can walk on a slightly steep road to Villa Borghese.
At the back of the Villa Borghese is the zoo, “Bioparco”. You can get there with the tram lines 3 and 8. In Villa Borghese there are several other museums in addition to the Borghese Gallery. There is also a children’s playground, a coffee restaurant with open air cinema and a lake with rowing boats. In the park by the lake is also a small bar.
In the park of Villa Borghese, it is very pleasant even on hot summer days.
5. Relax in a bar, pasticceria or ice cream parlor with a view
In the squares of Rome are bars and restaurants with tables. But at a table in front of the Pantheon or in Piazza Navona you pay many times the normal price. If you do not like that, look for one of the very good ice cream parlors with its own ice cream production. You can buy an ice cream there and then enjoy it on the square.
A very good ice cream parlor is Giolitti. There are many other good ice cream parlors in Rome but Giolitti has a large hall in the Viennese coffeehouse style, where you can relax with a sundae buried under a giant mountain of cream. For a break between Pantheon and Parliament Giolitti is therefore a good choice
You want to go through the sightseeing program in Rome? When it is hot, the following should be considered in Rome::
- Sun protection: Sunscreen, hat and umbrella. But attention! Churches and sacred places you mustn’t visit wearing a hat. You need to stow it somewhere. Likewise, you must follow the dress code Note: shoulder and knees must be covered. With spaghetti straps, short shorts and mini skirts you can’t get into the basilicas.
- Drink a lot: in Rome, you can find many drinking water fountains. This water can drinking safely and fill up the water bottles.
- Do not walk too much: Use the hop on hop off buses or the public transport. Also a city tour with a private driver is a good solution.
- Avoid queues: Standing in the summer heat in front of the Colosseum, in front of the security checkpoint at the St. Peter’s Basilica or in front of the Vatican Museums is a nightmare. Book your ticket for the preferred entrance to the sights on time.
Shopping in Rome is always possible! Rome is a shopping paradise for the fashion-conscious as well as for the budget-conscious visitor. In the center one finds everything from the noble brands to the mass-produced goods and the Second Hand.
Almost all shops have powerful air conditioners that provide a pleasantly fresh atmosphere. Most shops close between 7 and 8 pm. The upscale La Rinascente in Via del Tritone is open until midnight and you can eat on the rooftop terrace and admire the view.
Go out in the evening
Rome is very much alive in the evening. As soon as the sun goes down, the temperatures drop. The Romans go to dinner around 9 pm. Join in one of the good restaurants in Trastevere, in the center, on the banks of the Tiber or in the Quartier Monti. After dinner you go for a walk in the squares or you go to a music venue. Most, however, open only at 11 pm or even at midnight.
In the center of Rome, the use of glass bottles is banned!
Get up early
Follow my advice and get a hotel in the city center. Enjoy Rome before sunrise. In the early morning you have the fountains and places almost for yourself. To experience the sunrise at the Spanish Steps or at the Trevi Fountain is a unique experience.
If it is cool in the morning, you can also go jogging well. Later, you can return to the hotel for a good breakfast.
Around Rome there are some amusement parks and outlet centers. The Romans also like to go to the sea or to the nearby mountains.
Public Transport: Bus 088 to the terminus of Tram 8 (Casaletto), Bus 906 to the Metro A Station Valle Aurelia
Summer opening hours: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm, weekends and public holidays until 7 pm
Go to the sea · Zoomarine
On the coast south of Rome is the water and adventure park Zoomarine. Zoomarine offers attractions for all ages, from pools and slides, theme and adventure parks to penguins, seals and a dolphin show. You can reach Zoomarine with a shuttle bus from Rome.
Public transport: COTRAL regional bus from Metro B terminus Laurentina direction Pomezia-Torvaianica to Piazza Italia stop, shuttle bus from Termini central station, via Marsala 71, June-August daily 9.30am with return at closing of the park (17h or 18h).
Go to the sea · Ponza island
A trip to the island of Ponza is the absolute highlight, which will be remembered for many years. Here you can not only escape the heat of the city, you can enjoy the sun and the warmth! The speedboat will take you from Anzio to the island. Here you will find crystal clear water as on the most beautiful beaches of Sardinia or as in Calabria. On the island of Ponza there are natural pools on the rocky coast. The island belongs to the Circeo National Park.
It is wonderful to explore the island of Ponza from the sea. You can circle the island by boat and swim and snorkel in the bays.
Go to the sea · Ostia
Many Romans travel to the coast on hot days. There are several train lines with which you can reach the coast. Very comfortable is the drive to Ostia. You can take the local train from metro station line B Piramide to Ostia. Ostia belongs to the municipality of Rome and you can use the ticket for the city traffic.
Ostia is in the summer a suburb of Rome with excellent restaurants by the sea and a small pedestrian area in the center. Unfortunately, the quality of the seawater in Ostia is not so exciting. If you want to visit a bathing establishment in Ostia, you should choose one with swimming pool.
Go to the sea · Ostia Antica
A trip to Ostia and Ostia Antica can be wonderfully combined. Ostia Antica dates back to the 7th century BC. The visible remains date back to the 4th century BC. Ostia Antica is located on the banks of the Tiber and served as a shipping and trading base.
The museum grounds offer plenty of shade, especially through the tall pine trees and it blows a pleasant breeze even on hot summer days.
To visit the entire facility, it takes at least two hours.
Public transport to Ostia Antica: local city line from the pyramid, metro station line B, to the stop Ostia Antica.
Go to the mountains · Tivoli · Villa d’Este
Our favorite destination on hot summer days is Villa D’Este. Cardinal Ippolito D’Este built a palace with a huge garden here in the 16th century. In the garden are numerous fountains and water features for which the water is diverted from the river Aniene. The enormous water features and fountains refresh the air and create a pleasant microclimate.
Public transport: Villa D’Este can be reached by regional buses from COTRAL from metro station line B Ponte Mammolo towards Tivoli. Tour operators offer the visit of the villa including transfer from Rome.
More information about Villa d’Este.
Ride in the mountains · Castel Gandolfo
Another nice destination is Castel Gandolfo. Here is the summer residence of the popes. Pope Francis has decided to stay in Rome during the summer and so the palace and the gardens can now be visited.
Castel Gandolfo lies on a volcanic cone. In the center of the cone lies Lake Albano, where you can swim well. There are several bathing establishments and lakeside restaurants.
A very romantic, very exclusive restaurant in Castel Gandolfo is Pagnanelli. You can eat very elegantly overlooking the lake and then go down to the basement for a drink after dinner.
Public Transport: Train from Termini Central Station direction Albano Laziale to Castel Gandolfo Station. The Castel Gandolfo train station is on half way down to the lake and up to the city of Castel Gandolfo.