Rome in July: all you need to know to plan your trip + things to do and tips

by marta

All you need to know for a trip to Rome in July. What to expect from the weather, what to pack and what to do in Rome in summer. (Updated for July 2021)

July is a funny month in Rome. It is the very heart of the summer and this has good and bad consequences for visitors and locals alike.

The good consequence is that in Rome in July you can be almost guaranteed sunny weather: this is the time of the year to flaunt summer dresses, eat tons of gelato and spend lazy evening al fresco, making the most of the many outdoor evening events taking over the city in this month.

Rome in July Roman forum from above

The bad consequence is however that Rome gets very hot in summer and tourism is intense, things that make sightseeing unpleasant and tiring

Overall, if you have a choice, I do not recommend to visit Rome in July but if this is the only time you have available, don’t worry!

In this article, I share not just what to expect in Rome in July but also how to make the most of this month in the Eternal city.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Is Rome in July busy? Crowds forecast

In normal years, Rome in July is very busy but July 2021 is a bit of an exception.

While Rome is open to tourism, the numbers of foreigners in Rome this year is much lower than usual and this is sad for the tourism industry but a bit of a treat for the lucky few who are here.

In July 2021, you are able to book attractions today for tomorrow or even for the same day (a rarity, in Rome) and in many cases you will have them almost for yourself – have a look at the Colosseum just the other day (July 2021) to see what I mean!

Inside of Roman Colosseum in July 2021 without people

Top Tip! While you may not need to book to get a ticket, all attractions now operate on a prebooked, time slot system. See below how to get hold of tickets online for each.

If you are planning a trip to Rome in July of a year with normal crowds, you should expect a different scenario.

Despite the hot weather, July is high season in Rome and it is paramount to book accommodation and tickets to the main attractions in advance.

If you are considering coming to Rome at this time, I highly recommend you book your hotels and tickets to the main attractions as early as possible, pretty much as soon as you can be sure you are going.

Hotels, especially good ones with a pool, sell out fast or charge ridiculous prices for last minute bookings and it is normal for places such as the Colosseum to have tickets booked out months in advance.

If you know you are traveling to Rome in July and haven’t for your tickets yet, I urge you to get them pretty much now!

My favorite booking engine for hotels in Rome is booking.com: they have an excellent selection of hotels and apartments and great cancellation options meaning if you come across a better deal later, you can change plans with no loss!

Roman forum and Trevi fountain photo collage with overlay text what to expect in Rome in July

The weather in Rome in July

July is the heart of summer in Rome.

June in Rome is the start of the hot season but temperatures peak in July, making the city hot and sunny

The average temperature in Rome in July is 26C/78F with a range between 19C/66F to 32C/90F degrees, although recent years have brought temperatures to much higher levels, peaking at 37/38C.

Usually, you have about 3 days of rain in Rome in July and this means you may well find your time in the city totally rain free.

If you are used to very hot weather, you may think these numbers are not that high and you would be right however, don’t underestimate Romes’ heat!

Rome is humid so while 32C/78F may seem even pleasant (I know they are for me in other locations), in Rome they feel much oppressive.

Overall, it is safe to treat Rome like a very hot beast: avoid to be out in the sun in the central hours of the day, choose hotels with air conditioning and make an effort to stay hydrated at all times. You can find here my tips for Rome in summer.

You can find my best tips for dealing with Rome in summer here.

What to wear in Rome in July

July in Rome calls for summer clothing.

Summer dresses, short sleeve tops, sandals and sun hats should make up most of your wardrobe and you can opt for linen trousers and long skirts for those times when you need a little more coverage (such as when you want to visit a church or the Vatican city)

If you are traveling to Rome in July, it is important to pack:

  • Good walking sandals (you can find a good selection here)
  • Long linen trousers
  • Skirts / shorts – below the knee for visiting churches
  • Short sleeve tops
  • Swimsuit for the hotel pool or day trips to the coast
  • Sunscreen and sunhat

Find our full summer packing list here

Need to know: air conditioning in Rome and Italy in general tends to be much weaker than let’s say in the US. While you will find solace in an air conditioned space in Rome, you will still find yourself in an overall warm environment with no need for cardigans or shawls.

The best things to do in Rome in July

The best things to Rome in July are a mix of carefully selected sightseeing opportunities and cooling down experience.

These are my top picks.

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Take a tour of the Colosseum underground tunnels (New for July 2021)

If you want to visit the Colosseum, then in July 2021 you are in for a bit of a treat.

At the end of June, the Colosseum announced the opening to the public of a new area previously unaccessible: the underground tunnels that used to host gladiators, animals and props used during the shows.

We were lucky enough to be among the first to visit and we highly recommend it.

The cheapest way to visit the Colosseum in full this July is to get tickets from the official Colosseum concession Coopculture. You can choose between an ‘accompanied tour’ (no guide) or and ‘educational tour’ that costs 10 Euro more and has a qualified tour guide with you – this second one is best.

The best tickets for visiting the Colosseum are here (this is the Colosseum official concession). Should it be sold out, check out alternatives here

The Colosseum is a must see in Rome and I recommend a visit but we warned: it gets very hot! I recommend avoiding the central hours of the day for your visit and wearing light clothing and a sunhat. You can find my tips for visiting the Colosseum here.

See the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill

The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are what remains of the ancient city of Rome and they are wonderful for history lovers.

The Roman Forum is however a hard place to visit in July. This is an outdoor archaeological park in a valley between two of the ancient seven hills of Rome and this means the temperature soars.

The Palatine Hill, despite not being very high, is already more ventilated and therefore pleasant.

Because of this, while I recommend a visit to the Roman Forum, I also urge you to approach it with caution.

You can read my full guide to the Roman Forum here.

Top tip! From the 6th July 2021, a new display of the House of the Vestals is in place. Even if you have been to the Forum already, this can be a good reason to go back!

If you think the sun may be too much for you, this doesn’t mean you cannot get a fix of ancient Rome!

In the hot season, my favorite way to see it is from above. In the evening, walk up to the back of the Campidoglio and look down: the view over the roman forum lit up for the night s stunning.

This is one of the best views over Rome and one you will never forget!

view over the Roman Forum

See the opera outdoors

Rome has a tradition of outdoor opera shows in summer, in jaw-droppingly beautiful locations.

The traditional summer backdrop for opera in Rome is the Baths of Caracalla are one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in Rome however, since 2020 the shows will be hosted in Circo Massimo.

For July 2021, the program includes Il Trovatore, Madama Butterfly and La Boheme. You can find the fun program and tickets here.

From the Circus, you get stunning views of the Palaces of Emperors on the Palatine, which is one of the most beautiful sights in the whole of Rome.

I know opera is not to everyone’s taste but you don’t need to be an opera lover to enjoy this place: the ruins are so imposing, beautiful and unique, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful night here nonetheless!

Visit Castel Sant’Angelo

Maybe my favorite thing of all to do in Rome in July is to head for an evening visit to Castel Sant’Angelo.

Often ignored by tourists, Castel Sant’Angelo is stunning and in summer, a real gem: the castle itself is beautiful all lit up and the views from its top are outstanding.

Try get in right before sunset so you can catch views of Rome bathing in the golden hour from the castle top terrace. This is one of the most pleasant things to do in Rome at night.

Visit the Vatican museums

July 2021 is a great time to visit the Vatican Museums and San Peter Basilica without the crowds (usually, they are so busy you can hardly move.

I recommend you make a day of it and visit the Vatican Museums, St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Gardens and St Peter’s Square – they are all close to each other but they do take a bit of time and advance booking in necessary for all.

You can find my full guide to visiting the Vatican and how to plan your day here.

Top Tip (not available in 2021). During the summer months, the Vatican museums have exceptional opening hours, allowing you to visit the museums and Sistine chapel after hour.

The special opening happens every Friday between 19.00 and 23.00 (last entry at 21.30) and come with something special: a concert in the Vatican yard!

You can find all relevant information and tickets the Vatican museums website.

Visit the Domus Aurea (new for 2021)

The Domus Aurea is the extravagant home to Emperor Nero.

It is one of the most important archaeological sites in Rome and, in July 2021, just opened to the public with new displays and exhibitions. You can find info and tickets here.

Explore Rome’s main piazzas and hidden gems

July is a glorious time to visit Rome’s famous piazzas and the best way to do so is with a gelato or granita in hand.

Head to Piazza Navona, Piazza del Pantheon,  Campo de’ fiori, the Trevi fountain and the Spanish Steps but also allow yourself to explore some hidden gems and parks: the protestant cemetery of Rome, at this time, is special and offers wonderful, shady corners for a rest.

Need to know: in 2021 Piazza del Popolo hosts het UEFA village with food stands and maxi screens. While this is not the best time to visit the piazza for sightseeing, it can be a fun place to be for the atmosphere, especially at night!

Take an evening walk in Trastevere

Trastevere is one of the most beloved areas of Rome for a pleasant evening out.

Blesses with charming small streets and plenty of outdoor dining opportunities, it is a fantastic place to visit any time of the day for sightseeing but that becomes exceptionally buzzy and pleasant on a summer night, when it acquires a district vacation-destination vibe.

You can read my recommendations on what to see in Trastevere here.

Go to the park

Rome has beautiful parks and in summer they are great places to escape the heat and take a break from Rome’s relentless sun.

For grand and beautiful choose Villa Borghese (here you have the famous Borghese Gallery but also the small Rome zoo, a pond and playgrounds for kids) and get off the beaten path and explore Rome’s botanical gardens in Trastevere, stunning at this time.

In July, the lovely city’s rose garden, on the Aventine Hill, is usually open and is a lovely place for a stroll: it also has gorgeous views over the palaces of emperors.

Go on a food tour

A Rome food tour can be a lovely way to mix sightseeing and food discoveries.

These are food tours worth considering:

In July, the Rome food I recommend you try is:

  • Insalatone (large salad bowls), very popular with locals and perfect in this season
  • Straccetti (beef) with rocket salad and pachino tomatoes
  • Seasonal vegetables such as eggplants, tomatoes, chicory
  • Seasonal fruit, especially watermelon and coconut
  • Suppli, fried balls of rice with a melting mozzarella heart
  • Gelato – find my favorite addresses here
  • Iced coffee (granita) – find my top place for it here
  • This is also a wonderful time of the year for al fresco aperitivo!

Go to an exhibition

Rome has many exhibitions going on at any given time and July is a great time for museum going.

You can find here an up to date calendar of Rome events in July

Visit the stunning Borghese Gallery

The Borghese Gallery is one of the most beautiful art galleries in the world and in July 2021 has a special offering.

As well as the standard collection, the Gallery hosts the exhibition of Damien Hirst, so you can see both with the same ticket.

I highly recommend you visit. In the Gallery, you can see pieces for Masters such as Raffaello, Caravaggio, Botticelli, Bernini and Canova. Unmissable. Get official tickets here.

Discover Rome churches

Rome churches are so beautiful and rich in art that seeing them is also like seeing a museum. They are also a great place to see in Rome in summer as they tend to be cooler than outside in terms of temperature!

You can find my list of some of the most beautiful churches in Rome here.

Admire Rome Mosaics

Rome is home to stunning mosaics and they are wonderful to visit in summer as they are usually wither in pleasant outdoor locations or in the cool shade of churches.

You can find my curated list of the best places to see mosaics in Rome here.

Enjoy Rome’s rooftop terraces and patios

July is the ideal time to enjoy Rome’s stunning rooftop terraces.

Whether you are into cocktails, a meal or an ice tea under patio, Rome delivers: some of my favorites are the one at the top of the Rinascente (shopping mall) and the Divinity terrace of the Pantheon iconic hotel, both in the city center and the cafe close to the small romantic pond of Villa Borghese.

You can find my list of favorite rooftop bars in Rome here.

Me on a Rome rooftop terrace

Cycle or walk along Via Appia

July is a wonderful time for outdoor pursuits in Rome and one of the most scenic is taking a bike ride on Via Appia and Parco degli Acquedotti.

This is a large archaeological area on the outskirts of Rome with amazing Roman aqueducts in open fields!

They are stunning and a different way to experience ancient Rome.

This is a wonderful good weather activity in Rome however, be careful as the sun and heat can get intense: make sure you have sun screen, sun hat and plenty of water on you and opt for an early morning cycle – avoid the hottest hours of the day at all costs!

Visit the Baths of Diocoletian

The Baths of Diocletian are the biggest ancient thermal complex in Rome and a fantastic archaeological site to visit in Rome in July.

The site comprises a museum, wonderful chambers (cool and shaded in summer!) and also hosts the beautiful church of Santa Maria deli Angeli e dei Martiri, which is wonderful.

This is a great site to visit any time of the year and a fabulous place to get a break from the heat.

You can find my full guide to the Baths of Diocletian’s here.

Go on a day trip

July is a wonderful time to go on day trip around Lazio, the region of Rome.

Some of my favorite this time of the year are to the lakes (Bracciano, Martignano – this is where I got married, trust me: it is gorgeous) or the coast towns immediately to the North and South of Rome such as Santa Severa, Gaeta and Sperlonga, all blessed with lovely sandy beaches.

Not to be missed is also the stunning archaeological park of Ostia Antica, among the most beautiful in Italy.

Go to an outdoor cinema

In the summer, many cinemas turn outdoor arenas and offer delightful opportunities for al fresco evenings in the heart of the city.

You can find info here

Listen to jazz in Villa Celimontana

If you love jazz, you will be delighted to hear that Rome in summer is a good place for jazz lovers. A very pleasant place to be in summer is Villa Celimontana, a beautiful outdoor space that hosts a summer Rome jazz festival.

Go to the events of Estate Romana

‘Estate Romana’ lit. Roman summer is the name given to a series of events happening in Rome during the summer, spanning from concerts to movie screenings, festivals and talks.

Live music, books and food stalls and many concerts fill Rome’s parks, the banks of the river Tiber and the area near caste; Sant’Angelo.

Catch a summer sunset for one of the best sunset spots in Rome

Rome at sunset is magical and summer sunsets in Rome are a special show of orange hues. If you want to admire them in all their beauty, head to one of the best sunset spots in Rome, which we listed for you!

Go to the pool

I know, I know, you are not in Rome to go to the pool but trust me: In July, you will want to be near one! You can find here my selection of the best pools in Rome (community and hotel).

Best outdoor pool in Rome tennis club lanciani with red umbrellas

Taste grattachecca

If you want a true taste of summer in Rome, then you need to make sure you taste grattachecca, Rome’s summer quintessential sweet treat!

Grattachecca is a cup of shaved ice cream served with syrup and, sometimes, fruit. You can read all about grattachecca and where to find it in Rome here >>> all you need to know about Rome’s grattachecca.

July in Rome with kids

July is a tough month for visiting Rome with kids. The heat is intense for them and can even be dangerous so I usually focus on activities that keep them indoors, in the shade or near water.

If you can, I recommend you change your schedule while in Rome in the summer and embrace local costumes: taking a rest in the afternoon and staying up late to explore the city in the late evening – you will find lots of locals do this and it is a surprisingly pleasant way to enjoy Rome with children.

These are my favorite things to do in Rome with children in July.

Go to Explora

Explora is Rome’s children’s museum and it is a wonderful place to explore with kids. In July, you can escape the heat in its main exhibition space but also enjoy the zipline in the museum yard.

Go to the park

Rome in July is wonderful for time outdoors and the city many parks really deliver in terms of green areas to run around.

Among my kids favorite are Villa Borghese, Villa Torlonia and Villa Doria Pamphili.

Take an art class

We love art classes for this and one we love is the mosaic making class organised by Arte al Sole.

It is wonderful for craft kids and it is held just beside the city’s botanical gardens which are lovely at this time (young kids go free)

Learn to make pizza

For a hands on experience in typical Rome surrounding, we recommend a pizza class. With kids, we did just that with a local pizza class for families followed, of course, by tucking into our own creation.

You can find many more of our recommendations on great family tours in Rome here

I hope you enjoyed this post and it helped you plan your July trip to Rome. Safe travels!

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