Looking for what to do on a rainy day in Rome? This article will show you all the best things to do in Rome when it rains so that you still enjoy the Eternal City.
Rome is usually thought of as being sunny and, yes, if you go during the summer, it isn’t that likely to rain.
However, if you don’t like the extreme heat and want to avoid crowds, the best times to go are in the spring, autumn, or winter. But this comes with a risk of rain which can get heavy sometimes.
It’s easy to feel down looking out at the rain from your hotel window — I know rain does this to me — but you don’t have to be. There is plenty you can do on a rainy day in Rome.
As someone who has had a fair share of rainy days in Rome, I am here to show you that you can still enjoy Rome even on gloomy wet days instead of just wasting your day hiding in the hotel.
To help you, I have put together 17 of the best things to do in Rome when it rains that will occupy you until the sun shines again.
Before You Go, Here’s How To Plan Your Visit To Rome Quickly
Rome is a popular city which means that good hotels and tours book out fast, so before you go, make sure that you make your reservations in time to avoid disappointments! Below are my expert recommendations!
⏩ WHERE TO STAY IN ROME
Best Colosseum view: Hotel Palazzo Manfredi (8.8/10)
Luxury stay: H10 Palazzo Galla (9.2)
Mid-range stay: Barberini Dream (9.5/10)
Budget stay: Like Family House (9.4)
Apartment rental/Airbnb: Apartment Julia Guesthouse (8.4)
⏩ GUIDES TOURS AND TICKETS YOU SHOULD BOOK IN ADVANCE
Guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill (4.6/5). This is the exact tour I took, and I couldn’t have been happier. We had a knowledgeable and fun tour guide.
Skip-the-line ticket to the Sistine Chapel And The Vatican Museums with an audio guide (4.5/5). This ticket saved me a whopping 3 hours. You’ll pass in a dedicated Getyourguide line with it. It’s a true skip-the-line ticket.
Borghese Gallery guided tour (4.7/5). This is my favorite museum in Rome, and this tour made me fall in love with it even more.
Street food walking tour of Rome (4.8/5). If you want to taste Rome’s delicacies while exploring its popular neighborhood of Trastevere, then this is the food tour I recommend!
Best Things to Do in Rome When It Rains
Whether you’re traveling alone, as a couple, or with the entire family, here is exactly what to do in Rome when it rains to get the most out of your trip.
1. Visit the Pantheon
One of the best things to do in Rome on a rainy day is to visit the Pantheon!
It was built as a temple to celebrate the Ancient Roman gods and goddesses, but it eventually became a Christian church. Today, it is one of the most well-preserved buildings in the city.
It is located in Piazza della Rotonda which is one of the most beautiful Rome squares and it is the perfect place to while away on a rainy day in Rome.
The dome is particularly impressive and is the largest dome in the world that isn’t supported. It has an oculus, in other words, a hole in the roof that was put there to allow light to come in. And as you’d imagine, it also lets in the rain.
This shouldn’t worry you though, as the Romans built a drainage system that carries the water away safely, but it’s still pretty cool to see rain gushing through the oculus.
While here, be sure to also visit the tombs of some members of the old Italian Royal family, including Queen Margherita who gave her name to the pizza, Vittorio Emanuele II, and more.
Make sure to book your ticket online to avoid queuing for too long in the rain.
2. Visit One of Rome’s Museums
You can always count on museums as go-to places when it’s raining. However, keep your eye on the forecast so that you can book in advance and avoid long queues.
This is especially important with the Vatican Museums. They are busy enough on sunny days, let alone rainy ones.
You could easily spend the day at the Vatican Museums as there is so much to see, including Ancient Roman sculptures and Renaissance paintings. The highlight is, of course, the Sistine Chapel and its spectacular ceiling painted by Michelangelo.
The Capitoline Museums on Capitoline Hill are another option to consider if you’ve already visited the Vatican. They house ancient statues, tombs, busts, and mosaics. It can take a good half day to explore them.
If you want to see Cubist, Dadaist, and Abstract Art, then The National Gallery of Modern Art and Contemporary Art is the place to go. It houses some late 19th and early 20th century paintings by artists such as Paul Cezanne and Claude Monet.
For something a little different, visit the Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition. Da Vinci was a scientist and engineer as well as an artist, and this exhibition highlights 200 of his inventions, all built based on his sketches and drawings.
He was way ahead of his time, especially as none of his inventions were created until centuries later.
Since many of the exhibits are interactive, you’ll be occupied for hours making it one of the most interesting things to do in Rome when it rains. This museum is also perfect if you’re visiting Rome with kids.
Another interesting museum you can visit on a rainy day in Rome is Borghese Gallery to see some of the most famous works by legends like Bernini, Titan, Rubens, Caravaggio, and Raphael.
To avoid queuing for tickets in the rain, make sure that you buy them in advance. Here are some of the tickets to popular museums in Rome you might need!
- Skip-the-line ticket and audio guide to the Vatican museum: I bought this ticket on my visit and thanks to their dedicated skip-the-line entry, I didn’t spend even a minute waiting!
3. Vist The IKONO Roma Experience
If you’re looking for rainy day activities in Rome that are fun and interactive, then you’ll love IKONO Roma Experience, located near the Pantheon.
Ikono is an interactive art gallery that is not only colorful but also fun to play with! Think colorful paper snow, a ball pool you can jump into, and more! It takes around an hour to visit the nine zones.
While kids will enjoy it, Instagrammers will absolutely love it because all the spots are very Instagrammable.
4. Linger Over an Aperitivo
An aperitivo is a lovely way to spend an hour or two before dinner and one which I enjoyed most days. If it is raining, you can even linger for longer as you won’t be rushed in Roman bars.
An aperitivo is a pre-meal drink that is said to open up the appetite, and one that is enjoyed by most Italians. It is very much a social event so expect bars to vibrant.
When the weather is good, locals and tourists alike sit in one of the outdoor cafes but when it’s raining, head to a wine bar.
They are generally small and cozy, but they can get busy so get there around 5.30 p.m. to ensure that you get a table. If you are going somewhere popular, it is a good idea to book in advance.
Popular drinks include Campari and Soda and Aperol Spritz but you can just have a glass of wine or Prosecco.
A small plate of food is usually served with your drink, but some bars offer a buffet of meats, cheeses, olives, and bread, which is included in the price of the aperitivo.
If you’re in the Trastevere neighborhood, try Freni & Frizoni. It is located in an unusual old car warehouse which adds to the experience. If you’re a vegetarian, you will be happy to know that the buffet also has vegetarian dishes.
If you’re near the Colosseum in the Monti district, there are two bars well worth going into; Materia Cafe and the Blackmarket Hall. With its lovely and comfy sofas and jazz concerts in the evenings, it will make you forget that you are in Rome in the rain.
5. Indulge in Chocolate at SAID
Just the thought of visiting SAID makes my mouth water. It is an indulgent treat and another place where you can linger for a long time.
SAID is located in the San Lorenzo district and is one of the best places to visit in Rome when it rains. From the outside, it looks small but when you go in, you will feel like you are entering the Tardis.
There is a shop right by the entrance that sells everything chocolate, including pralines, chocolate bars, hot chocolate mixes, cakes, and much more. It is also a lovely place to buy souvenirs.
The cafe itself is spacious and decorated with chocolate molds and chocolate-making machines, offering excellent photo opportunities.
You can choose to sit at a table or on a comfy sofa and order anything from chocolate cakes, chocolate crepes, or simply a hot chocolate made even more indulgent as it is served with a chocolate spoon.
However, SAID also has a savory menu so you could have lunch here followed by a chocolate dessert.
6. Explore the Museum of Illusions
If you are looking for a museum that is a little different from the traditional historical ones, visit the Museum of Illusions.
The museum is interactive with lots of optical illusions; from the Vortex Tunnel which will make your head spin and give you a feeling of the ground disappearing below you, and the Infinity Room where you will witness reflection upon reflection, to the Ames Room where you will be able to see small and large versions of yourselves.
With a number of exhibits on display, you’ll definitely want to take lots of photos while here, making it one of the cool things to do in Rome on a rainy day.
7. Shop ‘til You Drop at La Rinascente
A few steps away from the Spanish Steps as well as the Trevi Fountain, you will find the massive department store, La Rinascente. If you love to shop as much as I do, you will be in your element.
It may not suit men as much as women but if they are bored, there is a gourmet food court and a rooftop terrace where they can have a coffee while they wait for you to join them for lunch.
La Rinascente also stocks some of the top Italian brands such as Fendi, Michael Kors, Gucci, Swarovski, and Alexander McQueen, so if you ever wanted to get one, this is the best place to go.
8. Visit One of Rome’s Churches
One of the top things to do indoors in Rome is to visit a church, but with over 900 churches in Rome, which one should you visit?
Some are small so you wouldn’t spend much time visiting them while others are big enough to spend an hour or so.
The first church I usually suggest visiting is St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, but like the Vatican Museums, it is always crowded whether it is raining or sunny, and since it’s not fun queuing for hours in the rain, you might leave this church for another day.
There are other beautiful churches in Rome that usually have no crowds that you can visit including Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, San Luigi dei Francesi, Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola, Basilica Sant’Andrea della Valle, and more.
If you are in the Trastevere neighborhood, you should go to Santa Maria in Trastevere, one of the many churches in the city dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
While the exterior doesn’t look like much, you will find 13-century mosaics and columns taken from the Ancient Baths of Caracalla inside.
9. Head Underground to Nero’s Domus Aurea
Looking for what to do in Rome on a rainy day? Consider going to Nero’s Domus Aurea since it is completely underground. It can, however, be damp and cold so dress accordingly.
Although, its undergorund, the ceilings are high, so even if you suffer from claustrophobia, you will be fine.
The Domus Aurea was built in the 1st century AD for Emperor Nero, a cruel, extravagant, and lascivious man. The palace had 300 rooms used mainly for his salacious parties rather than for daily life.
After Nero’s death, it was significantly destroyed by his successors in an attempt to eradicate his memory, but it is still an interesting place to visit.
On your visit, you will walk through vast corridors and see the remains of beautiful mosaics and frescoes.
You’ll have to take this guided tour to visit this place and, since the building is fragile, numbers are limited so if you can book in advance, I recommend doing so.
You will be given virtual reality glasses during your visit to see what the Domus Aurea looked like in the time of Nero.
10. See What Ancient Rome Looked Like at the Welcome to Rome Cinema
Here is an interesting attraction that the entire family will enjoy — a projected film that walks you through the history of Rome going back 2,700 years, known as Welcome to Rome Cinema!
There is also a massive model of Rome which lights up showing you how Rome was developed.
In addition, there are four interactive exhibits, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Mausoleum of Hadrian, the Imperial Forum, and the Augustus Forum.
So if you are looking for what to do in Rome when it rains and would like to learn more about the history of the city, this is the perfect experience.
11. Sign Up for a Cooking Class
Food is at the heart of Italy and we’ve all probably heard of the nonnas passing down their secret cooking skills to their families! So what better way to learn these secrets than taking a cooking class?
There are many different cooking classes in Rome depending on what you want to learn to cook, but the 2 I highly recommend are this pasta and Tiramisu cooking class and this pizza and pasta making class.
In the former, you’ll learn how to make homemade pasta and the famous Italian dessert, tiramisu.
You will not only be taught by a professional local chef how to make them but you’ll also enjoy your creations afterward accompanied by a glass of wine or a soft drink, and you’ll finish it off with either limoncello or coffee.
If you’re more into pizza than Tiramisu, then I recommend going for this pizza and pasta-making class.
In this class, you will learn how to make pizza dough and cook the pizza in a wood-fired oven. You’ll also learn how to make different shapes of pasta, all while enjoying an unlimited flow of wine.
And at the end of the class, you’ll be able to taste some tiramisu and Limoncello! There is no better way to spend a rainy day in Rome than this if you ask me.
12. Relax at a Spa
If you are a bit stressed from visiting one attraction to another, one of the best indoor activities in Rome is to relax in a spa.
Most of the spas in Rome are located in hotels but even if you’re not a resident, you can use them at a fee.
One of the best spas in Rome is The Cavalieri Grand Spa Club. While here, you can have body and facial treatments as well as hydro massages.
You can also enjoy Turkish baths, saunas, whirlpools, an indoor swimming pool, three outdoor pools, and a gym. You can even take a Yoga or Pilates class, or play tennis if that’s your kind of thing.
If you’re not far from the Pantheon, you can check out BAHR City Spa where you can have a massage, face and body treatments, and even get your nails done.
You can take your experience to the next level by booking the BAHR private spa where you can use a jacuzzi, Turkish baths, and a sauna.
Another option to consider is Rocco Forte Spa at the five-star hotel, Hotel de Russie.
You can book a wide variety of beauty treatments, detoxes, and massages. There is even a saltwater hydro pool, a Finnish sauna, a steam room, a hair salon, and a gym.
13. Paint While Sipping on Wine in an Art Class
If you love to paint or just looking for something unique to do, then you’ll love this paint-and-sip art class with a local Roman artist.
This is the perfect way to let loose and meet new people which is perfect if you’re traveling Rome solo, but even if you’re with a couple of friends, you’ll still have fun bringing your creativity to life while sipping on wine and tasting some of Italy’s best foods!
You will also learn about the history of Rome’s artistic scene and how art, wine, and food interact from a knowledgable a local artist.
By the end of the class, you will have a painting to take home to show to your family and friends and will have enjoyed Italian food and wine with a group of like-minded travelers.
This is no doubt one of the most interactive and fun indoor things to do in Rome!
14. Take a Day Trip Out of Rome
If you’ve already done all the activities I’ve mentioned above, the other alternative is to simply escape the rain by taking a day trip out of Rome, especially if you’re sure that it won’t be raining in the place you’ll be visiting!
There are a number of easy day trips from Rome but one that comes on top of my mind is Florence.
It only takes 1 hr. 30 minutes to get there on the train, and although the city requires more time, if your stay in Italy is limited, you can easily visit it on a day trip
There are plenty of interesting places to visit such as the Uffizi Gallery, the Palazzo del Bargello, the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio, the Museo Galileo, and the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s David.
Orvieto is another option. It only takes 75 minutes to get there by train and there are lots of things to do too. You can visit the Duomo di Orvieto which has beautiful frescoes and mosaics.
There is also a network of underground tunnels that were made 3,000 years ago which you can visit, and after have a meal in a local trattoria before catching the train back to Rome.
Other cool day trips from Rome include Tivoli which is less than an hour away, or take this guided day trip to Pompeii to learn more about this lost city!
15. Learn to Make Gelato in an Authentic Gelateria of Rome
While you’ll probably eat lots of Gelato while in Italy (I am guilty of this. I probably ate one gelato every 2 days on average while traveling in Italy), one way to fully experience this Italian delight is by learning how to make it!
Like everything, not all gelatos are the same! With this gelato-making class, you’ll learn how authentic gelato is made and make one yourself with the supervision of an experienced gelato maker.
You will also learn how to make sorbet and learn the differences between “normal ice cream” and gelato.
And when the class is done, you will have the opportunity to taste your creation and compare it with the gelato from the shop.
16. Go Wine Tasting
One of the best things to do in Rome when it’s raining is to cozy up with a glass of wine! I mean what’s a trip to Italy without indulging in its wines?
You can opt for this wine-tasting tour in a wine bar! You’ll taste various Italian wines and learn how to taste wine like a pro from a knowledgeable and fun sommelier. The wine will also be accompanied by local cheeses and charcuteries.
Besides wine and charcuterie, you’ll learn about the history of Italian wine and various Italian wine regions!
The tasting is conducted in a vibrant and charming ambiance where you can even stay for dinner after the tasting if you want to make a night of it!
Alternatively, you can take this wine-tasting day trip to a family-owned vineyard and winery in Frascati town which produces Frascati, a popular Italian wine.
You will be given a tour of the wine cellars and learn how old winemaking methods have merged with the new.
The trip also takes you to the town of Frascati where you can taste local wine and food specialties of the region. The trip ends with lunch at a trattoria.
17. Explore One of Rome’s Covered Markets
Markets are a way of life in Rome, and they sell anything from fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, street food, meat, and fish, to clothes, household items, furniture, and jewelry.
The good news is that many of them are covered so you can visit them even when it is raining.
If you are in the Testaccio neighborhood, you should check out Mercato di Testaccio.
It sells handbags, clothes, and food and you can easily spend some time here as it sells some of the best street food in Rome. You can wander around different stalls and try innovative Roman delicacies.
Another option is Nuovo Mercato Esquilino not far from Termini train station which is situated in an enormous industrial building. It is always busy and noisy but it sells the best selection of international and local foods in the city at a fair rate.
If you want to see how the locals shop, head to Mercato Trionfale. It has around 200 stalls selling fresh produce and household items. You will see more Italians than tourists here.
This is definitely one of the best things to do on a rainy day in Rome while also immersing yourself in the local Italian life.
Final Thoughts on the Best Things to Do in Rome on a Rainy Day
Hopefully, you now have a good idea about the best things to do in Rome when it rains.
I have given you a variety of choices so you should be able to find something that suits you, whether you like museums and churches, food and wine, or shopping.
Just make sure to carry your umbrella and raincoat and you’ll be ready for any rainy day in Rome!
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- Best museums in Rome
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