I know when you picture rain you usually think of it as a hot and sunny place which is true when you are visiting in Summer. However in my summer is not the best time to visit Rome – in fact summer is the worst time to visit Rome in my opinion. I think the best time to visit Rome is either one of the shoulder seasons or ever Winter. However if you do go to Rome in Winter you might encounter some rain. In this guide we round up what to do in Rome when it rains (from personal experience).
Last time we were in Rome we experienced rain on biblical proportions. I had never experienced Rome in the rain before and had to think fast about the best things to do. This is what we found:
What to do in Rome when it rains
Visiting the Pantheon Rome on a rainy day
The Pantheon should be on any Rome Bucket List. It is a building with so much history. The Pantheon was built between 118 and 125 AD and is dedicated to all the Roman Gods. One of the key features of the Pantheon is that it has an 27 foot Oculus (a hole in the roof that opens to the sky) and the reason I love visiting the Pantheon Rome on a rainy day.
So what happens when it rains on the Pantheon? Well when it rains in Rome it rains in the Pantheon. Last time we visited it was my first time visiting in the rain and it was a sight to behold as the water flooded in and drained away.
Top Tip for when it rains on the Pantheon: It is very slippy the in rain on the pantheon. Be careful as you walk around the marble floor.
Some people have questions whether the Pantheon is open in rain and the answer is definitely yes. I have been in there during a huge rain storm. Most of the water drains away but not all. In bad rain, such as when we were in the Pantheon in the rain some areas were cordoned off for safety but it is still worth experiencing the Pantheon in the rain. If the rain is really severe there is a chance it may close. In the rare occurrence of snow it may be decided to shut the Pantheon.
The Best Museum to visit on a Rome Rainy Day
Rome is a city full of amazing museums – two of my favourites being the Vatican Museums of Villa Borghese Museums. However in my opinion these are not the best museums to visit on a Rome rainy day and here’s the reason why – they both require advance booking of tickets. If you haven’t prebooked your Vatican museum tickets you have to queue to get in and the queues get long. If it is raining you will be soaked by the time you get inside as in fact the queues can be at their peak on a rainy. Instead we think the best museums to visit on a rainy day in Rome are:
- Capitoline Museum – in a piazza designed by Michelangelo be sure to visit the original statue of the she-wolf feeding the babies Romulus and Remus.
- Explora Museum – Explora IL Museo Dei Bambini Di Roma to give it it’s full name is the children’s museum / science centre of Rome. It is perfect if you are visiting Rome with kids.
- The Doria Pamphilj Gallery – perfect for art lovers
If you do decide on visiting the Vatican please remember that there is a strict dress code at the Vatican Museums and St Peters Basilica.
One of my favourite things to do in Rome is of course eat. Does anywhere in the world do food better than Italy? In my opinion is no! Therefore take the chance of a rainy day in Rome to sit down and enjoy a loooong meal just as the Italians do.
Take a Cooking Class
Or why not take the chance of a rainy day in Rome to learn how to take a slice of Italy back home with you by attending a cookery class. You will find there are loads of options around the city for cooking classes where you can learn to cook Pasta, Pizza, or even tiramisu in the traditional Italian way.
As you would expect in a foodie city such as Rome, there are plenty of markets and good news for tourists on a rainy day many of them are covered.
Campagna Amica Market is an entirely covered market and is a haven for foodies visiting Rome.
One of the best ways to get out of the rain in Rome is to head underground. Rome has more underground attractions than anywhere else I have been in the world namely because of the amount of catacombs you can visit in the city. Some of the most central famous Rome catacombs are at St Callistus and at Saint Sebastian.
Visit Some Roman Houses
Another Rome Underground attraction is the Roman Houses at Celio. This underground houses are remarkably intact and great to visit to get out of rain in Rome.
Visit a Church or two
Rome is a city of amazing churches (I have read that the city has close to a 1000 churches) many of which are just open to the public to view. Obviously the most famous church in Rome is St Peters Basillica. There is always a queue to get in the Basilica but if there arne’t too many crowds the queue will be largely sheltered.
If you definitely want to keep dry some of the best churches to visit in Rome are:
- Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo – this church is filled with art masterpieces by Caravaggio, Raphael and Bernini to name a few.
- Santa Maria in Trastevere – one of the oldest churches in Rome and one of the blingiest (there’s a lot of Gold in there).
- Santa Maria Sopra Minerva – it has amazing ceilings.
- Basilica of Santa Maria Del Popolo
- Santa Maria in Aracoeli – near the Capitoline Museums so could be combined to survive a whole rainy day in Rome.
Dress Well and Go Outside
If you dress for the rain why not explore Rome in the rain. The weather isn’t very cold in Rome even in the rain (except in rare circumstance) and if you do do some of the outdoor attractions like the Colosseum or the Forum you will be rewarded with far fewer tourists.
What Not to Do in Rome on a Rainy Day
If you are looking for what not to do in Rome on a rainy day my answer is avoid things that require pre-booking as you will end up queuing outside. If you do decide to do one of these attractions do be sure to dress for the wet. The number one place I would avoid in Rome on a rainy day is the Vatican Museums. They are always busy but on a rainy day people seem to flock to them.
Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Rome when it rains
Can you visit the Colosseum in the rain?
Yes you can visit the Colosseum in the rain just expect to get wet. Be sure to dress for the wet and rejoice in the limited crowds. For moretips on visiting the Colosseum clock here!
Does it rain alot in Rome?
In answer to does it rain a lot in Rome the answer is it really depends on when you go. The summer is hot and dry in Rome however if you visit over Winter then you can expect to get rain. January and February tend to be the wettest however we went in October and got several days of rain on our Rome weekend break. We have been to Rome a few times in December and have seen rain when we have always had rain so be sure to check out our what to wear in Rome in December post for more advice.
What are your favourite things to do in Rome when it rains? I’d love you to let us know in the comments.