You probably associate Rome with hot weather, but you’ll be pleased to hear that the city is just as charming in winter. In fact, the cooler temperatures are much better for packing in all that sightseeing. And, you can enjoy the Eternal City’s best landmarks and attractions without hordes of crowds.

Here are the top things to do in Rome during winter…

Leisurely monument hopping

Touring the city’s best sights in low season means you won’t have to battle with the crowds when marvelling at the Colosseum, Castel Sant’Angelo or the Pantheon. Skip the queues and you’ll have more time in the day to hop between all the landmarks too. Take your time at the Trevi Fountain, which looks even more impressive when illuminated at night, and will be virtually crowd-free. And enjoy some roasted chestnuts on the Spanish Steps while admiring the amazing view.

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Weekdays – Red, Stop: Trevi Fountain / Spanish Steps

Eat your way around the city

Italy is famous for its heavy dishes – think cheese, pasta and bread for pretty much every meal. And there’s no better time than winter to fill up on that comfort food and carb-load to your heart’s content. As well as the usual pizza and pasta dishes, you can try some winter specialities like Carciofi alla giudia, which are deep-fried and seasoned artichokes. Reservations in the city’s best restaurants will also be much easier to come by in winter. You can bag a table at the Michelin-starred Glass restaurant, tuck into roman-style pizza at Ai Marmi, and try the delicious spaghetti alla carbonara at Armando at Pantheon. Don’t forget to bring back a box of sweet Italian bread, Panettone, which is sold everywhere in the run up to Christmas.

Weekdays – Red, Stop: Piazza Venezia

Get into the Christmas spirit

If you’re in the city over the festive season, get into the Christmas spirit by exploring Piazza Navona’s Christmas market and picking up some gifts. There are also lights, decorations and impressive nativity scenes all over the city. You’ll find huge Christmas trees at the Colosseum, in St Peters Square, and at the top of the Spanish Steps. If you’re in Rome on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day you can try the traditional Italian seven-fish Christmas dinner. Although this tradition didn’t originate from Rome (and is more popular in Southern Italian towns) you can still try this famous meal in selected seafood restaurants for a unique festive experience.

Catacombs & Caracalla Circuit – Purple Route, Stop: Colosseum

Do the Vatican properly

The Pope’s official residence is a popular place to visit all year round, but summer is when tourism hits its peak. In January and February, there are barely any queues or crowds in this famous city, so it’s the perfect time to leisurely explore and take in the masterpieces and elaborate frescos at the museums and chapels. Experience the tranquillity of the Sistine Chapel without loads of people milling around, and walk straight into St Peter’s Basilica without having to queue. 

Weekdays – Red, Stop: Vatican

Pair sightseeing with skating

Any city worth its salt will have an ice rink in winter, and Rome is no exception. There are loads of temporary Christmas light-decorated rinks to choose from, which are open from November right through to February. If only the best backdrop will do while you’re whizzing around on the ice, head to the outdoor rink right next to Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo to skate in the shadow of the majestic building.

Weekdays – Red, Stop: Vatican

Ready for a Roman holiday in the winter months? This city is a year-round top destination with so many historic and cultural sights to see. Start planning your escape to Italy’s capital city today.