Rome, the capital and largest city in Italy, has earned the nickname the Eternal City, and rightly so. Rome is one of the birthplaces of Western civilization, and even today, it remains one of the most important cultural capitals in the world. It's one of the most visited cities in Europe; there's so much to see there, from art museums and classical music concerts to ancient ruins and timeless palaces, that the city's lovers are sure to say that any time of year is the best time to visit Rome. Depending on your tastes, however, you might enjoy one time more than another, so read on to decide when to rent a car in Rome to design your extraordinary Roman holiday.
Typically, the peak season in Rome is from late June to late August. Summer is the best time to travel to Rome for fans of hot weather; temperatures are often in the mid-80s, and Rome can occasionally become humid, at least more so than along Italy's coast, and many hotels and buildings in Rome endure the hot summer without air conditioning. Summer brings overwhelming numbers of people to the popular tourist destination, which translates into long lines and big crowds, but it rains little and the sun always seems to be shining, making the weather perfect for sightseeing.
The second half of August is slightly different than the rest of the peak season in Rome because during Italy's national holidays, many Romans leave their city for the coast, and Rome seems to have more tourists than Romans. Many businesses have limited hours during these two weeks, but if you're willing to work around their shorter schedules, Rome in late August also has an upside. In an effort to keep and draw more people in to the city, the city government now hosts many events and concerts, most of which are free. Another perk: The last two weeks in August might be the only time in the year when you can easily find parking for your Rome rental car.
The shoulder season, from April to May and September to October, is one of the best times to travel to Rome. The days are mild, the nights are cool, and there are fewer tourists to contend with. In theory, you should be able to find cheaper hotel prices at this time, but some establishments are feeling less motivated to lower their prices now that some tourists are catching on to how lovely Rome is in the spring and fall. However, if you book early and shop around, you should still be able to save some money. In the spring, beware of traveling to Rome during the two weeks before Holy Week unless you're there specifically to celebrate the religious holiday; Rome and Vatican City are teeming with tourists during settimana santa. In the fall, drive north to spend a weekend in Siena, oen of the best European cities to visit in September.
Traveling from November to February is a great, economical option for those who don't mind hopping into a café, restaurant, or museum when the weather is less than ideal. November is the rainiest season in Rome, and February is chilly, at least compared to other times of the year. However, rates are cheaper and lines are shorter, and winter is the perfect time to live in Rome as the Romans do, as well as a great time spend a weekend in Naples, just south of Rome and one of the best places to visit in Europe in February.
In a city with sophisticated and stylist culture, mouthwatering cuisine, and a Roman aqueduct, palace, or fountain around every corner you turn, it's nearly impossible to go wrong when you're contemplating the best time to visit Rome. For advice and useful tips, check out our Italy Travel Guide before you leave. If you want to explore even more of Italy while you're there, our Rome to Terni road trip is sure to inspire the drive of a lifetime.