When you imagine visiting Rome, you probably envisage sitting in a piazza sipping on an Aperol spritz or spending long summer days wandering the Colosseum and Roman Forum… However, sometimes Mother Nature is not on our side and the weather may put pay to those ideas. Rome in the rain is not ideal but there are still some great things to do in Rome when it rains.
You can still have a brilliant time visiting Rome in bad weather and I’m here to tell you how.
So today we are going to discuss things to do in Rome on a rainy day…
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Read Next | Visiting Rome in Winter – a local’s guide
What you can expect from this article...
- 1 Things to do in Rome in the rain
- 1.1 Visit The Vatican City – The Vatican Museums and The Basilica
- 1.2 Get your camera out and take an alternative photography tour of Rome
- 1.3 Explore an art gallery
- 1.4 Take a cooking class
- 1.5 Stuff yourself silly with Pizza and pasta
- 1.6 Take the hop on hop off bus
- 1.7 Go shopping
- 1.8 Explore the Pantheon
- 1.9 Go Underground and visit the catacombs
- 1.10 Visit ‘Welcome to Rome’ and interactive theatre journey through Rome’s History
- 1.11 Go Church Hopping
- 1.12 Get out of Rome for the day
Things to do in Rome in the rain
Visit The Vatican City – The Vatican Museums and The Basilica
No trip to Rome would be complete without visiting the Vatican. The two biggest attractions are the Vatican museums (where you’ll find Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel) and Saint Peter’s Basilica. Luckily, aside from the Vatican gardens, most of the attractions are indoor activities which means visiting them is one of the best things to do in Rome in the rain!
The Vatican museums are home to the world’s largest private art collection so if you are an art lover, it will be the perfect way to spend a rainy day so make sure you factor in at least a few hours. For many, the main attraction is the Sistene Chapel, a floor to ceiling spectacular painted room created by Michelangelo which brings tourists from all corners of the world to the Vatican Museums.
You can visit the Basilica and Vatican museums in one day but I recommend starting early to make the most of them both. The queues can also be absolutely insane and there is no way you will want to be queueing in the rain! So whatever you do, get a queue jump ticket! You can book them with or without a tour or audio guide – I would suggest getting the later.
Get your camera out and take an alternative photography tour of Rome
You may be thinking ‘why photograph Rome on a rainy day?!’ Well because every man and his dog has photos of Rome on a sunny day and quite frankly, photos with perfect blue skies can get a little boring… If you enjoy photography, then get out with your camera and think outside the box!
Use the puddles to get some quirky reflection photos like the one below.
Top Tip | I was chatting to a photographer recently who carries a bottle of water just to create puddles for the purpose! Clever!
Make use of people walking with colourful umbrellas to add depth to your photos and wait until the rain dissipates and the sun breaks through the clouds. Often this is when you will find the most interesting skies for photography which will make your photos ‘pop.’ Check out some of the best photography locations in Rome.
Explore an art gallery
If you are looking for more art then you’re in luck as there are many art galleries which make for a great rainy day activity in Rome.
The Borghese Gallery is one of the most popular collections of art in Rome and a great place to spend a few hours. Whilst the gallery is all indoors, there is also a pretty garden to explore should the weather improve!
Due to its popularity, I’d recommend getting a queue jump ticket which also offers the option for a guided tour.
Take a cooking class
If you’ve had enough of art galleries, then consider something completely different and instead, get out of the rain and into the kitchen to learn how to cook – Italian style.
There is no superior comfort food than some Italian carbs which makes taking an Italian cooking class, a brilliant idea to occupy yourself on a rainy day in Rome!
Opt to learn how to make homemade pasta or pizza or learn how to make a delicious Tiramasu or gelato – the choice is yours. Make sure you host an Italian dinner party on your return to show off your newly acquired Italian culinary skills!
Stuff yourself silly with Pizza and pasta
If you don’t fancy learning to cook the Italian way then you should still spend some time enjoying the local eateries. The Italians like to eat in a slow leisurely way savouring their food and eating multiple courses, making it a great way to kill some time whilst you are waiting for the rain in Rome to stop…
Take the hop on hop off bus
If you only have a short time in Rome, you may want to tick off the Rome icons regardless of the weather. If this is the case, at least avoid getting wet by walking everywhere and instead get a ticket for the hop-on-hop-off bus or hop-on-hop-off-boat. The seats downstairs will keep you dry and there’s likely to be fewer people using the service on a rainy day so you might even be able to dodge the crowds.
The other option is to get a multi-day Roma pass which will allow you access to all the big-city attractions as well as giving you free access to public transport. Well worth getting if you plan to see a lot in Rome in 4 days or less.
Italians are some of the best dressed people in Europe. They ooze simplicity and style and Italy is one of the best places to go on a designer shopping spree. (Or window shopping if your budget isn’t up to it..!)
So if designer names is your thing, don’t forget to bring your credit card…
If you’re looking for high street stores then head for Via del Corso. If it’s designer stores you’re after then head for Via Condotti.
Explore the Pantheon
The Pantheon is one of Romes best-preserved ancient Roman buildings formerly a temple built under the Emporer Hadrian between 113-115 AD. It was later converted to a church and remains one of the most popular places to visit in Rome. Since it’s an indoor activity, exploring the Pantheon is a great thing to do when it’s raining in Rome. Opt for a guided tour or use an audio guide (For under $6) to get the most from the experience.
Go Underground and visit the catacombs
The Catacombs are underground passageways where the dead were buried dating back to the 2nd-5th centuries. There are many kilometres of them which you can explore seeing inscriptions in the wall documenting the deceased. Taking a tour of the catacombs requires zero sunshine so is a perfect activity to do in Rome in the rain.
Visit ‘Welcome to Rome’ and interactive theatre journey through Rome’s History
The projection and interactive exhibits at this converted old cinema, will guide you through 2700 years of history in Rome, all whilst staying warm and dry! It will take approximately 30 minutes so it’s a great activity to do during a brief downpour in Rome!
Go Church Hopping
There are so many beautiful churches in Rome, why not see how many of them you can explore in a day? Even if you are not religious, you will be able to admire the impressive architecture and beauty of these intricate buildings. It always amazes me how they were constructed in such detail back when there was very little in the ways of tools! Painted ceilings in particular always get me!
Get out of Rome for the day
So it’s raining in Rome but what’s the weather like elsewhere in Italy? You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the weather not that far away, is actually quite nice! You can even take a day trip all the way to Venice and back courtesy of a high-speed train.
Here are a few options from day trips from Rome:
- Venice via high-speed train
- Day trip to Pompeii and The Amalfi Coast (including beautiful Positano.)
- Visit Naples and Capri in one day
- One day in Florence and Pisa
- One day in Tuscany (including wine tasting)
Hopefully you have managed to find some ideas for things to do in Rome in the rain with these 17 ideas. Whether you decide to spend a day in the Vatican city, learn to cook Italian style or escape to find better weather on a day trip, you are bound to enjoy your trip. Because Rome is beautiful and fascinating, no matter what the weather is like!
Which of these activities and day trips would you choose? Or do you have any other suggestions?! In which case, tell us in the comments…
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