10 Things to Do in Rome in Summer

Take note of the cool plans and activities you can't miss in the Italian capital during the most beautiful time of the year. Don't let the heat stop you!

Nuria Rozas

Nuria Rozas

10 min read

10 Things to Do in Rome in Summer

Woman Standing near the White Dome Building | ©Polina Kostova

Summer is one of the most beautiful seasons to visit Rome. The Eternal City shines with a special light, the colours of the streets are brighter than ever and you can enjoy the best pastas and pizzas in the city in the shade of the open-air terraces.

In this article I'll tell you everything you can do in the Italian capital for an unforgettable experience. Just remember to bring a bottle of water, sunscreen and a hat so you don't get scorched!

1. Rent a Vespa and ride around Rome with your hair blowing in the wind!

Touring Rome on a Vespa| ©Samy Mitha
Touring Rome on a Vespa| ©Samy Mitha

Who hasn't dreamt of riding a Vespa through the old town of Rome? Feel like Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in the film 'Roman Holiday' and discover the other side of the Eternal City on this iconic vehicle. The decadent but charming streets of the eternal city will make you fall at its feet.

Summer is the best time to ride a Vespa in Rome, a city where, although it may not seem like it, it rains a lot the rest of the year. And we all know that rain and motorbikes are not good friends. And now, let's enjoy the dolce far niente!

Rent a scooter in Rome

2. Dazzle yourself with romantic Rome by night

Night at the Trevi Fountain| ©Henning Klokkeråsen
Night at the Trevi Fountain| ©Henning Klokkeråsen

The best time to explore the city is when the sun goes down. The monuments and fountains are illuminated and the metropolis looks more magical and romantic than ever. When the high temperatures take a break, there are many romantic sights to see in Rome that will take on a new life in the moonlight.

One of the most special moments I experienced on my trip was when I saw the Trevi Fountain at night for the first time. There is a traditional legend that says that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they will return to the eternal city, and I threw it in. Could the legend be true?

Touring Rome at night with an ice cream in your hand is not a bad idea either. In my case, to explore the city at night more comfortably, I booked a 3-hour night tour for 41 euros on foot or by bike, so I used twice as much time as if I had done it on my own.

Book a night tour of Rome

3. Try a delicious gelato at Rome's oldest gelato parlour

Entrance of the Heladeria Giolitti| ©Kalboz
Entrance of the Heladeria Giolitti| ©Kalboz

One of the best ways to combat the high summer temperatures in Rome is to cool off with a good artisan gelato at Giolitti, the oldest gelato parlour in the Eternal City. For me, the best thing about Rome is to take a bite out of it. Cool idea, right?

Make a note in your diary of the Giolitti ice cream parlour, near the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain, which with more than a century of history has become one of the symbols of the city. Even Hollywood stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, who tasted this dessert during the filming of 'Roman Holiday' (1953), fell for its charms. By the way, you'll find more than a hundred different flavours! Here is a small guide to the best gelato in Rome.

Useful information about the Giolitti ice cream parlour

  • Price: from €3.50 for ice cream in a cone or tub.
  • Where: Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, Rome.
  • Recommended for... solo travellers, couples and families.

Taste Rome's famous slushies

During the warmer months, there is nothing more popular than having a granita or, better still, a grattachecca, a Roman invention from the beginning of the last century made of ice, syrup and fruit. You'll find it in many street stalls and cafés, it's as common as horchata in Valencia, and it's delicious!

Participate in a pizza and ice cream cooking class

4. Enjoy the open-air cinema on Tiber Island

Tiber Island in Rome| ©Emilio García
Tiber Island in Rome| ©Emilio García

A great place to spend the day in good weather is Tiberina Island, a small islet of just 270 metres in the middle of the Tiber River, linked to the city by two ancient Roman bridges - you'll appreciate the breeze from the river!

If you want to do something different in summer, this island hosts the annual L'Isola del Cinema International Film and Culture Festival, which offers open-air cinema. And many of the festival's events are free - just like you read! Plus, you'll be able to improve your Italian because a large number of films are in Italian.

You can also take the opportunity to cool off by taking a sightseeing cruise on the Tiber River or by using this means of transport to visit the main monuments of the city without having to endure the high temperatures of the summer in Rome.

Book a sightseeing cruise on the Tiber River

5. Visit Rome's best museums al fresco

Sistine Chapel| ©Richard Mortel
Sistine Chapel| ©Richard Mortel

During the summer, Rome is non-stop! To escape the high temperatures and avoid getting dizzy, a good idea is to take refuge in places where there is air-conditioning - it's always cooler! Of course, I admit that the influx of tourists will be greater than at other times of the year, so get up early!

  • Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel: Given the amount of works that it houses, the Vatican is truly incomprehensible and touring it with an expert will help you focus on the most important things. In this post I explain the best guided tours of the Vatican.
  • Capitoline Museums: During my trip to Rome, one of the museums that surprised me the most was this one. The Capitoline Muse ums are considered the oldest art galleries in the world and you will find true relics in them.
  • Galleria Borghese: This museum is another of the essential art galleries in Rome. It is located in Villa Borghese and has an extraordinary collection of works by the best artists of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
  • Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia: If you want to live a fascinating journey back in time, this museum will give you the opportunity to walk among some of the most fascinating pieces and ruins of the pre-Roman and Etruscan period.
  • Wax Museum: Discover the wax statues of 250 celebrities, artists, actors, poets, musicians and political personalities in this famous wax gallery and visit the workshop to learn how the figures are made.
  • Gladiator school and museum: In this school-museum you will have the opportunity to learn about the history of the Roman gladiators and you can become one of them by practising fighting techniques and playing games and other activities.
  • Leonardo Da Vinci Museum: In this interactive museum you can see more than 65 machines, many of them life-size replicas, and you will also have the opportunity to visit an archaeological site buried under the museum dating back to 43 BC.

Book your ticket for museums in Rome

6. Take a dip at Fregene beach

Sunset at Fregene Beach| ©Maria Claire
Sunset at Fregene Beach| ©Maria Claire

If you are travelling to Rome in summer, either as a couple, with friends or with your family, one of the best plans you can make is to go to Fregene beach, which is located about 40 kilometres from the capital and is bathed by the Tyrrhenian Sea, and take a dip.

Did you know that the end of the film 'La Dolce Vita' (1960), by Federico Fellini, was filmed in this enclave? In this film set you can contemplate the intense blue of the sea, enjoy a jazz concert and watch the sunset while sipping a delicious cocktail.

Get your Italian aperitif fix

The best Roman aperitifs (Italian tapas) in the area are also served here, but what is the famous Italian aperitivo? As well as being an inexpensive way to dine near Rome, it is a cultural tradition throughout the country. From **6 p.**m. onwards, you can order a drink and enjoy a buffet prepared for the occasion, usually including pasta, salads and cold meats, for a fixed price. Don't miss it!

7. Refresh yourself by the lake and the Colli Albani mountain

Lake Albano| ©Fede92
Lake Albano| ©Fede92

Whether you're travelling to Rome in July or August, the heat can be sweltering but fortunately there are plenty of outdoor activities to cool off - one of my favourites is getting lost in nature and its little villages!

A few kilometres from the big city, you'll find the Albanian Mountain s (in Italian, Colli Albani), a group of hills of volcanic origin that stretch across the Italian region of Lazio. Here you'll find greenery, lakes to swim in, archaeological remains and medieval architecture at the top - a magical place to escape the heat and bustle of Rome!

The Castelli Romani region is famous for its wine production. If you are looking for a good place to eat in Rome, I recommend you try a glass of Romanella white wine and the roast pork porchetta- delicious!

The Pope's summer residence

Did you know that even the current Pope Francis maintains his summer residence in this area, called Castelli Romani? In addition, the region was highly appreciated in the past by Italian nobles for its pleasant summer temperatures and peaceful atmosphere.

8. Discover the Orange Garden and its belvedere

Sunset in the Giardino degli Aranci| ©Mark Radford
Sunset in the Giardino degli Aranci| ©Mark Radford

One of my favourite summer pastimes in Rome was strolling through the Orange Garden , one of the best kept secret corners of the Eternal City, which is located on the Aventine Hill on one of the seven hills. Here you will discover one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the entire capital thanks to its impressive viewpoint, and in the summer it has a very special light. You'll love it!

If you feel like getting off the beaten tourist track in Rome in the summer, take note of the best hidden secret places in the city, as well as the Orange Garden. So you can get to know the metropolis as if you were a real Roman. You know, as Albert Einstein said, "if you are looking for different results, don't always do the same thing".

9. Have fun at the Hydromania water park

Hydromania water slide| ©Gerardo Ricca
Hydromania water slide| ©Gerardo Ricca

If you are travelling to Rome in summer with children, one of the best things to do is to spend a day at Hydromania, the only water park in the capital. The park, which usually opens around 15 June, has slides, a semi-Olympic swimming pool, a wave machine, a beach area, whirlpool... and much more. Ducks in water!

Located on the outskirts of Rome, the Hydromania park is easily accessible by public or private transport and is visited by more than 220,000 people every summer season. It also organises daily events for all ages, including water aerobics classes, dancing, water slide races and water games, among other activities. Kids will love it!

10. Relax in Rome's swimming pools

Famous Piscina delle Rose| ©Zero
Famous Piscina delle Rose| ©Zero

From June to September Rome's swimming pools open their doors for Italians and tourists alike to spend a summer day sunbathing, relaxing or enjoying a delicious cocktail by the pool. Taking a dip in the cold water in summer is a fantastic idea, don't you think?

Feel like a top athlete in an Olympic Games pool

If you enjoy swimming and completing a few lengths in the pool, my advice is to head to the Piscina delle Rose sports complex, where you can swim in the popular Olympic-structured pool, built for the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. You'll feel like an athlete! In summer, it's a great way to escape the heat and chaos of the city. Plus, the entrance fee includes access to water activities.

What is the summer temperature in Rome?

Piazza di Spagna| ©Daniel Basso
Piazza di Spagna| ©Daniel Basso

Get ready to suffer with the Roman summer weather:

Tips for surviving Rome's extreme summer heat

Strolling around the Pantheon in Rome| ©Griffin Wooldridge
Strolling around the Pantheon in Rome| ©Griffin Wooldridge
  • Drink water like there's no tomorrow: in summer in Rome, your feet will feel like they're sticking to the asphalt! That's why it's essential to hydrate yourself as much as possible and drink plenty of water. The best thing to do? I advise you to buy a bottle of water and refill it for free at any of the fountains scattered around the metropolis. Keep an eye out! Because there are mobile apps that allow you to locate the nearest fountain.
  • Avoid the sun in the middle of the day: here is a selection of the best restaurants where you can take cover from the scorching summer sun at midday. I hope you're reading this post hungry, otherwise you'll get hungry at the sight of the succulent Roman pastas and pizzas. I put on 4 kilos during my trip, but I'll be damned!

The essentials for your summer suitcase

  • Sun protection.
  • Comfortable shoes or sandals.
  • Hat.
  • Bikini or swimming costume.
  • Towel.
  • Tank top or short-sleeved T-shirt.
  • Jacket for air conditioning.

In this article you have read some summer plans but, if you are not satisfied and want to come back to Rome at another time of the year, here are the guides to the best things to do in Rome in spring, what to see and do in Rome in autumn and what to do in Rome in winter. Every season has its charm!

In short, compare the different seasons for visiting Rome

  • Winter
  • December - March
  • Weather: Freezing
  • Maximum 16º C
  • Minimum 2º C
  • Spring
  • March - June
  • Climate: Temperate
  • Maximum 27 ºC
  • Minimum 4 ºC
  • Summer
  • June - August
  • Climate: Hot and humid
  • Maximum 31 ºC
  • Minimum 14 ºC
  • Autumn
  • September - November
  • Climate: Temperate
  • Maximum 27 ºC
  • Minimum 6 ºC