How to survive Rome in the summer
Everyone I talk to tends to visit Rome in the summer. Sure, I get that that’s when you have holidays, but it’s also when Rome is SUPER HOT! Romans tend to escape abroad or in nearby summer retreats to escape the heat, but for all you coming to visit my favorite city on Earth, here’s how you can make the most of it. Because Rome is beautiful year-round, and summer is no exception.
Lungo il Tevere: summer nightlife in Rome
Just like all cities with rivers, Rome’s river banks get flooded with summer bars, restaurants and shops during the summer. And you definitely don’t want to miss it! Along the banks of the Tiber River, from Piazza Trilussa to Porta Portese you’ll find lots of fun activities from June 5th till August 31st. The festival is called Lungo il Tevere, and is filled with temporary exhibitions, bars, restaurants and stores to make your Roman summer as fun as possible. My recommendation is that you head to Lungo Il Tevere around 8pm and grab drinks and dinner in one of the many bars and restaurants and then check out all of the different stands. From the new grill restaurant Brace, to Osteria Ergo for Roman cuisine and live music and the lovely Timo for summer cocktails; drinks and burgers at Rec 23 Burgers & Cocktails and Spanish Yard for Spanish tapas, you’re in for a great night!From Ponte Sisto to Ponte Sublicio, various entrances.
Daily 7pm – 2 am
Lunch at the beach near Rome or the lake
While Rome is packed with amazing restaurants, during the hot summer months, head to one of the beaches near Rome to indulge in a yummy seafood lunch or dinner. The food is amazing and the setting is just perfect. Plus, a bit of a breeze couldn’t hurt! This of course can be done if you’ve rented a car! If you have a car, definitely head to either Ostia, Fregene or Fiumicino for a lunch by the beach. Or hey, Rome is also super close to Lake Bracciano, filled with lovely lakeside towns and restaurants, perfect for a day trip! I recommend this restaurant in Anguillara, which also has its own beach club and is great for sunset aperitivos!
Stroll under the shade to get the best views of Rome
You can walk and walk in Rome, and it’ll never feel like time is passing by. That’s because your eyes will probably be glued to all the beauty this city has to offer. But in the hot summer months, things are a bit different. Try to stroll under the shaded areas of the city and catch a glimpse of the best views of Rome. I love walking up the Spanish Steps to Trinità dei Monti and strolling along the shaded path filled with pine trees while admiring the views of Rome.
Cool off in one of the parks in Rome
Rome is filled with beautiful parks to escape the summer heat. And the best part is that they’re so vast and centrally located, that you can easily reach them from many locations. If you’re up for a nice walk under the shade, renting a bike, going on a segway or simply having a picnic with your friends or partner, parks are the place you need to get yourself to. All of Rome’s parks are named after a Villa … Villa Borghese, Villa Ada, Villa Doria Pamphilj. These parks take the name from the family villas where these powerful aristocratic families used to reside. And not till too long ago, they were still private. The biggest park in Rome is Villa Doria Pamphilj, which can be accessed from many points including Via di San Pancrazio (Trastevere). But the most famous is Villa Borghese, which can be accessed from Piazza del Popolo, among many other locations. Or better yet, why don’t you go on a bike tour on the Roman countryside along the Ancient Appian way?
Day trip or weekend getaway to beaches near Rome
Visiting Rome is everyone’s priority, but if you’re visiting during the summer, spending a couple of days in a nearby seaside town is a great idea! Trust me, it’ll make the difference. If you’re staying a long time in Rome, I recommend you to spend 3 – 4 days in the beautiful island of Ponza, just a 2.30 hours from Rome (including the ferry ride). In Ponza, explore the crystal clear beach coves by boat, fall in love with the sunsets and dive into that Italian summer vacation vibe. If instead you can only dedicate two days to the beach, head to one of the seaside towns along the Lazio coast to relax in sandy beaches and enjoy the slower pace of Italian summer life. My favorite places are Sabaudia and San Felice Circeo. Check out my guides below!
Visit churches and underground sites
Visiting churches is probably already on your to-do list. But visiting them during summer should be one of your priorities! Why? Apart from being extremely unique and filled with different architectural styles and art, churches stay cool year-round, and they’re your best bet to beat the heat in Rome. Which is exactly why you should visit them during the hottest hours of the day!
Among the churches you shouldn’t miss is the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, which has just been renovated; the church of San Luigi dei Francesi near the Pantheon, where you’ll find three prominent paintings by Caravaggio; the Pantheon – of course; and the Basilica of San Clemente near the Colosseum. You should also not miss out on visiting the stunning villas filled with artworks such as Villa Farnesina in Trastevere; Galleria Doria Pamphilj; the Borghese Gallery and Palazzo Spada.
And some underground fun can’t be missing either, my personal favorite being Palazzo Valentini’s Domus Romane, where you’ll be taken back in time to the Patrician homes of Ancient Rome. Or the spooky Museum and Crypts of Capuchin Friars.
Catch a show or an immersive experience
From April to September, Rome kicks off with some amazing shows. One of the most beautiful ones is Giudizio Universale, or The Last Judgement. It’s an amazing show where Michelangelo’s art is merged to the most sophisticated live entertainment technology, allowing you to witness the art of the Sistine Chapel come to life in a spectacle of music and light.
And for an immersive experience, the Forum of Caesar and the Forum of Augusts visual spectacles are absolute musts. Till November 3rd, visit the Forum of Caesar or the Forum of Augustus and hear the story of the Roman Empire at that time while enjoying music, special effects and the narration by the legendary Piero Angela.
Buy tickets to major tourist sites in advance
The last thing you want to do this summer is stand hours in line waiting to get your ticket to whatever site you’re visiting. That’s why you should plan in advance and purchase your tickets beforehand! Skip-the-line tickets are music to my ears during the summer! Which ones should you plan in advance? The Vatican Museums, the Colosseum, Borghese Gallery (mandatory) and the Terme di Caracalla.