Rainy Day in Rome? Here’s How to Spend It (Beyond the Obvious) (Updated for 2019)

Rainy day in Rome? What to do
A rainy day in Rome… doesn’t mean all is lost!

‘Tis the season… when you’re more likely to experience rain in Rome. And in a city where so many of the sights are outdoors, and so much is meant to be explored on foot, a rainy day in Rome can feel like a deal-breaker.

It’s not.

Sure: There are always the Vatican museums. And if you’re lucky, maybe you booked your Borghese Gallery or Palazzo Valentini tickets for exactly the day the skies opened up.

But let’s go beyond the obvious, shall we?

Here’s what I’d call the perfect rainy day in Rome: one that takes advantage of the weather to hit up spots that are cozy, indoors and interesting. And off-the-beaten-path — so that they’re located in neighborhoods that, while charming, aren’t so cobblestoned-street-picturesque that you’ll be upset to miss the chance to photograph them at their sunny best.

So get your umbrellas ready. (By the way, one good thing about rain in Rome is that, as soon as it starts, umbrella-sellers pop up all over the city. So it’s okay if you’ve forgotten yours. Just, please, barter the sellers down to 2 or 3 euros for a small one; it’ll fall apart by the end of the day anyway!).

Let’s go! (And don’t miss my post on five reasons not to mind the rain in Rome, in pictures!).

Itinerary for the perfect rainy day in Rome

9:30am: Coffee and cornetti at Cafe Barberini

Rainy day in Rome? Have coffee
The morning bustle at Cafe Barberini

No matter where you’re staying in Rome, the neighborhood of Testaccio is easy to get to: You can take the metro (get off at Piramide, then walk five minutes) or a number of buses (including the 3 and 75).

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Rain in Rome? Five Reasons Not to Mind, in Pictures

Rain in Rome

There are a lot of wonderful reasons to visit Rome in autumn. And while most people might not think of rain as one of them… well, I do.

Sure, it's never pleasant to suddenly get dumped on while you're, say, walking through the already-muddy ancient forum without an umbrella. But Rome's rain doesn't usually last for long. And the moment it slows down, the moody clouds and sudden glimpses of sunlight mean that the city might just be at its most beautiful. 

Here's proof.

Palatine hill, Rome, in the rain

Palatine Hill, even prettier in the rain. Note the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, peeking through the clouds in the background…


Imperial forums in the rain in Rome

Ancient Trajan's Column—and modern traffic. The rain doesn't slow Rome's drivers down, but it does make the streets just a little glossier and prettier!

Rain at trajan's markets

You know what else rain means? Rainbows!


Teatro Marcello in autumn

The Teatro di Marcello, just after a storm


The Roman forum in the rain

A little rain makes the light in the Roman forum softer and prettier—and keeps the crowds away, too

See? I told you rain in Rome wasn't all bad. Just don't forget your galoshes!

Want more tips about what to do in the Eternal City? Check out The Revealed Rome Handbook: Tips and Tricks for Exploring the Eternal City, available for purchase on Amazon, below, or through my site here!

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