Rome in November: all you need to know about November in the Eternal City

by marta

All you need to know for a trip to Rome in November. What to expect from the weather, what to pack and what to do in Rome in the fall. Updated 1st November 2021.

November in Rome is a special month.

It is almost the only time of the year when Rome experiences a low tourism season and this means you see the city at its most authentic.

Locals work, queues fade and prices tend to be a little lower, meaning you may even be able to stretch your time in Rome to a few more days!

Low season however often means the weather is not at its best and indeed, Rome in November takes a wintery aspect.

Outside of Roman Colosseum and Arch of Titus in the autumn

As you progress towards the end of the month, the hours of daylight diminish, the temperatures fall and you do get rainy days, that can be annoying when sightseeing.

All considered however, November in Rome can be a great idea for a trip and in this article, I share what you can do in the city to make that time even more special.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission.

Disclaimer: the current circumstances and the rapid changes of rules in Rome may affect opening hours and feasibility of the activities in this article. Please double-check opening times and exceptional closures before making any plans and abide current local and national directives.

Weather in Rome in November

Is it cold in Rome in November? Is it hot in Rome in November? Neither!

November is the heart of the autumn in Rome and pretty much the textbook mid season, with temperatures that can only be described as in the middle of the warm – cold temperature spectrum.

The average temperature in Rome in November is 13C/55F with a range from 18C/64F to 8C/46F degrees.

Usually, you have about 8 days of rain in Rome in November although recent weather patterns are making this a lot harder to predict. Overall, however, being ready for rainy days is important.

Official weather reading aside, November in Rome feels mild with the occasional tinge of cold in the air.

What to wear in Rome in November

The key to dressing in Rome in the fall is layers. During the day, you are likely to be ok with a light, mid-season jacket but early morning and evenings can be cold and, depending on what type of climate you are used to, may call for scarves.

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

  • Good walking shoes, closed toe and water proof. I recommend two pairs should one get soaked and not dry overnight: sneakers and ankle boots work well in this season
  • Socks
  • Long pants/trousers
  • Short sleeve tops (for layering)
  • Long sleeve tops
  • Cardigan / light woolen sweater
  • Light jacket /light puffy jacket
  • Rain mac or poncho
  • Small umbrella

You can read my full, detailed packing list for Rome in November here.

November in Rome: need to know

The 1st of November is National holiday in Rome and this affects the opening hours of museums and businesses.

It is not a day when everything shuts down but you will need to double-check if the attraction you want to visit on that day is affected.

In 2021, this day brings special openings to Rome’s museums, usually closed on Monday.

This can be a great opportunity to visit some of Rome’s museal gems but do check booking and entrance requirements.

The best way to do that is to check on the website of the relevant attractions as it is the most likely to have reliable information.

We include official sources and tickets in this guide, whenever possible.

The best things to do in Rome in November

November in Rome is an ok time for sightseeing but changeable weather will call for a mix of outdoor and indoor attractions.

Go to a free museum

Rome municipal museums offer free access on the first Sunday of every month and this happens also on the first Sunday in November.

The free entrance initiative applies to several museums and attractions in the capital and includes major sites including the Colosseum, the Forum and Museo Nazionale Romano, which has several seats and hosts some of the most beautiful ancient art collections you can find in Rome and the world.

Visit the Colosseum

If you get a sunny day, a visit to the Colosseum in November can be a lovely idea.

With fewer people fighting for the same ticket, you will get more choice when it comes to the time of your visit (the Colosseum has a timed entrance system) and a much more pleasant experience once inside.

I have a complete guide to the best tickets for the Colosseum in 2021 but, at a glance, those I recommend are:

Value Option: Colosseum and Roman Forum Tickets by Coopculture: this is the best value option as the tickets are sold by the Colosseum concession (no middle man). They are excellent; hovewever, they do not offer flexibility and they sold out fast. Only book them once you are sure you of your plan.

Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Entry ticket (recommended): sold by GetYourGuide, these tickets offer good value for money yet good cancellation policies, for flexibility.

Booking is compulsory at all times, even on the first Sunday of the month, when the ticket price is forfeited.

If visiting the Colosseum in late November, wrap up as it can get chilly, especially if you go early in the morning or late in the afternoon/night.

You can find all my tips for visiting the Colosseum here.

The Colosseum ticket included access also to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.

I highly recommend you visit them if you get a mild day but especially the Palatine can get very cold.

I would reserve a visit to this part of ancient Rome to the first part of the month and only go later in the season if you are lucky with the weather.

Enjoy the Forum of Augustus at night (until 7 November 2021)

The first week of November often gets good weather in Rome.

If this is the case this year, I highly recommend you make the most of it by going to the show called “Journey though the Fora’.

Imperial Forum of Augustus at night, Rome, with light show

This is a show taking place in the Forum of Augustus that used lights and visual effects to bring back to life the area of the Forum of Augustus and show it how it used to be.

Upon entering, you receive a headset with headphone, sit down and just enjoy watching the place come back to its former splendour in front of your eyes, while listening to a narrator telling you the story of the place and of the people who used to stomp on its ground.

This is a special night and one I highly recommend history lovers not to miss. Find info here.

See the Torlonia Marbles Collection (exclusive for 2021)

The Torlonia Marbles are a collection of fantastic statues belonging to the Torlonia family and now temporarily exposed in the Capitoline Museums.

The Collection is stunning and has some ancient pieces as well as some dating back from Renaissance/Baroque time inspired by classical themes.

Compact yet rich, it is a treat for sculpture lovers: advance booking recommended, easily visited with main area of the Capitoline Museums, in the same building.

Find official info here.

Visit the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel

The Vatican museums can be visited all year round but they get so crowded you really want to think twice before going at a busy time.

This is why November is such a good month for a visit to Vatican City: you may actually see the Sistine Chapel without feeling like a sardine in a can!

With the exception of the 1st of November (All Saints Day, a religious holiday), usually this is the time of the year with the lowest number of people.

Make sure you get tickets in advance as there is no such thing as a truly slow day there!

Good ones with a generous cancellation policy are here

Rome in November

Explore Rome main piazzas and hidden gems

All Rome main piazzas can be visited this time if the year.

If this is your first time in Rome, I highly recommend you seek out some of the most famous and monumental Rome piazzas such as Piazza Navona, Piazza del Pantheon, Campo de’ Fiori, the Trevi fountain and the Spanish steps, all free to visit and easy to add to your Rome walking itinerary.

If you have a little longer or if you have been to Rome already and prefer to dig into slightly lesser-known areas of the city, then I recommend you also go to Piazza Mattei and Piazza Mincio.

Tiny and intimate, they are as different as it gets from Rome’s grandest piazzas but embody the spirit of the city just as much (possibly even better, they are immensely charming!)

In November, Rome’s local life is in full swing so as soon as you leave the most popular areas you will see the city’s living and breathing heart.

Go to church

You don’t need to be religious to pay a visit to Rome’s churches.

Some of them, as well as religious sites, are decorated with works of art so priceless, you can visit them like a museum (please always be respectful of the spiritual nature of the place).

Depending on what you like, you can seek out Caravaggio in San Luigi dei Francesi, admire the mastery of Michelangelo in Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, see the relics of the chains that kept St Peter captive in St Peter’s in chains or admire the work of Bernini and Borromini in Santa Maria della Vittoria or Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza – and there are only some of the best known of them!

You will come across churches simply walking around Rome: I recommend you peek into all of them but if you want a starting point, I recommend you have a look at this post about the most beautiful churches in Rome.

inside of Rome church dome

See the Borghese Gallery

The Borghese Gallery is one of the most beautiful art galleries in the world.

It hosts masterpieces by painters and sculptures of the caliber of Botticelli, Bernini and Canova and it a feast for the eye.

Each room is decorated with exquisite attention to maximize the visual effect of the artwork and the gardens you can see from the windows add to the magic of the place.

As well as ancient art, in November 2021 you can also see here the work of Damien Hirst: his work is exposed in the same rooms as the permanent collection, making a visit to the Gallery even more special.

Borghese Gallery front entrance

The Gallery is stunning and absolutely worth a visit but tickets go fast and advance booking is a must.

My favorite way to enjoy this incredible museum is to go in the afternoon and then complete my visit with a stroll around the Borghese Gardens and a stop at the Pincio Terrace for sunset views over Rome.

The Gallery and the Terrace are at the two ends of the garden but the walk is easy and the views spectacular.

You can find official tickets here

Visit Nero’s Domus Aurea

If you love history, then you will love visiting the Domus Aurea, the once lavishly decorates palace that Emperor Nero built as his imperial residence in Rome.

ancient columns inside the Domus Aurea in Rome

The Domus Aurea has been described as the ‘Versailles of Ancient Rome’ however, it is not a shiny palace you now visit but rather an underground site that you can only visit with the aid of a trou guide (read why in my review of the Domus Aurea tour here.)

The visit to the Domus is unique and well worth the cost of the ticket: the guided tour leads you into what used to be the most extravagant palace Rome had ever seen and shows not only what remains of its beautiful decorations, but also shines a light on the work of the archaeologist that brought this place back to life.

A Rome must see (and a great place to escape the rain!).

Warm-up in a Rome enoteca (wine bar)

Rome may conjure up ideas of apertitivo in the piazza but in November, this is hardly ever a reality.

In Rome in November what you really want to do is warm up in a cozy interior and this happens nowhere better than in a local enoteca, Rome’s wine bars.

Enoteche in Rome come in all shapes and sized and usually are small establishments with small tables, dark wood decor and warming food. There are many I love but if you are up for a recommendation, I have three I can recommend and that I love most of all: Cul de Sac (near Piazza Navona), 313 (Via Cavour) and La Ciambella (near the Pantheon).

All of them offer amazing food and wine and the last one is also pretty romantic, perfect for a date night.

Warm up with a decadent hot chocolate

Chocolate lovers will love to learn that you can escape the November rain in a chocolate paradise: Rome’s chocolate factory in San Lorenzo. Welcoming, historical and delicious!

Visit Rome’s Catacombs

A visit to Rome catacombs will not keep you warm (quite the opposite!) but it will keep you safe from the rain and also provide you with one of the most unique experiences you can have in Rome.

The catacombs are underground early christian cemeteries that form a complex network of underground tunnels that stretch under the modern city.

They are only accessible any guided tour and they are fantastic in terms of beauty and historical significance.

The most famous catacombs in Rome are the Catacombs of San Callisto, on ancient Via Appia, the catacombs of San Sebastiano nearby and those of Priscilla, close to Villa Ada.

You can find tickets and see what the tour involves here.

Seek out mosaics

Rome is home to stunning mosaic, which decorate the inside of churches, ancient homes and museums.

If you love this very special art, seeking them out is a fantastic way to spend a day: you can find the best places to see mosaics in Rome here.

mosaic in Santa Prassede Church Rome

Visit stunning Thermal Baths of Diocletian

The Thermal Baths of Diocletian’s are the largest thermal bath complex of the ancient world and a pleasure to visit.

Located just beside Rome Termini station, right in the city center, the baths have both outdoor and indoor areas that are easy to enjoy in all weather condition, even wet November days!

Inside, you can admire what used to be the swimming area of the bathhouse, beautiful ancient halls, two stunning renaissance patios, and an interesting epigraphic museum.

beside it, it is also worth seeing the beautiful church of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, part of the ancient baths turned church by Michelangelo!

You can read my review of our visit to the thermal baths of Diocletian here.

Go to the opera or a concert

Rome has a good opera and ballet program that is in full swing in this season.

Music lovers should also check out the program at Auditorium Parco della Musica, the wonderful Rome’s concert hall

Go on a food tour of Testaccio or Trastevere

Rome’s tasty and earthy food goes exceptionally well with the change of season.

This is a wonderful time of year to take a food tour and taste it all!

Two of the most favour areas for food in Rome are Trastevere and Testaccio and food tours in the city tend to focus on one or the other.

You can find all my favorite food finds and tips in my guide to Rome for foodies.

real carbonara pasta in Rome

Trastevere is close to the center and a very popular area with both locals and tourists for a night out at the weekend. It has many traditional establishment, more modern ones and sees quite a mix of people, from local students to foreigners of all ages.

Testaccio is more local in feel (Trastevere was discovered by tourism quite a long time ago), it is famous for a lovely market and while less beautiful than Trastevere maybe, it has a lot of character that I believe makes it worth discovering.

These are food tours worth considering:

Glorious traditional food in season in Rome in November includes:

  • Carbonara: warming and tasting and perfect for the slightly cooler weather of this season
  • Amatriciana: warming and delicious pasta dish from the Rome region
  • Cacio e Pepe: simple yet delicious pasta for cheese lovers
  • Trippa, warming dish for the adventurous
  • Suppli, fried balls of rice with a melting mozzarella heart, delicious Rome appetizer
  • Mushrooms: while not typically roman, this is the time of the year to order scrumptious mushrooms risotto or tagliatelle ai funghi. Delicious!
  • Pumpkin risotto: again, not the most traditional Roman of dishes but one you do get in November dues to the seasonality of the produce
  • Tiramisu: always a good dessert, its creamy richness make it easier to digest if you tale long brisk walks, which you will at this time in Rome.
  • Cachi (persimmon) fruit
  • And what if you want gelato? You still can! While you want to tuck in a little less than in summer, gelato is available all year round and you won’t stand out if you order one!

Go to an exhibition

Rome always has many exhibitions going on at any given time and November, especially later in the second part of the month when the weather turns colder, is a great time for museum going.

You can find here an up to date calendar of Rome events in November (In Italian, but the names and location are reasonably universal)

November in Rome with kids

November is not great to visit Rome with kids.

The colder temperature and the rain are likely to rob them of precious time outside and the city is not overly equipped with indoor entertainment options.

However, there are some child-friendly things to do in Rome in November, even if the weather decides not to cooperate.

Top tip! See also our family travel guide to Rome and our complete list of things to do in Rome with kids.

Close up of hands of a child making pizza dough on floured surface
Close-up of children’s hands preparing dough for pizza. Pizza, children and the concept of cooking – children make pizza.

Take a pizza class

A fun, hands-on activity for this that keeps you inside, entertained and well-fed is a family pizza class.

We took one with our kids one cold day in the winter and it was lots of fun: it kept us busy for a morning, provided us with a lovely meal and we still now use the technique we learned to make pizza at home every Friday! Fun family time and a useful skill to have!

You can find info and book the same experience here

Go to Explora

Explora is Rome’s children museum and it is a wonderful place to explore with kids.

In November, this is an exceptionally handy place to know for a rainy day or any time the weather doesn’t seem suitable for extended hours in the park.

The museum has an area for under 3s that is great to give them some floor time and school age kids have plenty to do.

The museum develops over 2 floors and has several role-play areas (kitchen, supermarket, etc), interactive science installations and even a cool simulator that puts your child in the driving seat of the Freccia Rossa, Italy’s high speed train!

Take a mosaic class

A fabulous class I took with my daughter taught us to make mosaics.

The class took place in a mosaic lab and was led by a local mosaic artisan, who told us the history of the mosaic and showed us step by step how to make out own: it is a stimulating, fun class in a beautiful and immensely creative environment, one of my favorite family experiences in the Rome!

You can read all about our experience here.

Go to a child-friendly museum

While Rome only has one museum that is just for children, it also has several art museums that are children friendly. You can find a selection of those we enjoy the most as a family here but those I like most are:

Centrale Montemartini, a wonderful museum hosted in an old power plant, with gorgeous mosaics and ancient statues (cool for kids because of the unusual machines acting as a backdrop to the artifacts)

Museum of Leonardo’s Machines, a fantastic place with the reconstruction of Leonardo’s creations, many of which the kids can touch and experiment with.

Welcome to Rome (closed in 2021), a small permanent exhibition with 3D light- reconstruction of some of Rome’s famous landmarks and a wonderful short movie about the history of the city (good for primary school age kids and up)

The Domus Aurea, the Catacombs, the Colosseum and the Pantheon are all easy to visit with kids and a good option for a rainy day.

I hope you enjoyed this overview of Rome in November. Safe travels! 

You may also like