Rome in summer: best things to do and see

With the right activities and plenty of gelato, summertime in Rome is magical. Start planning your trip with these 10 great things to do summer

Enjoy la dolce vita with a summer trip to Rome. When the sun is sizzling overhead, you'll find plenty of ways to keep busy. Cool off by wandering the halls of an art museum or dipping your toes in a fountain.
Indulge in a refreshing tub of gelato as you wander the streets, or take advantage of the
warm nights to dine out on a terrace.

Summer is also one of the best times to visit Rome with the kids. We've put together a list of our top summer activities, from bike tours to beach trips. This summer guide will help you plan your vacation in the Eternal City.

Best outdoor activities

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1. Zip around the city streets on a Vespa

You'll feel like a real Roman when you hop into a Vespa sidecar for a ride around town. This tour is one of the most authentically Italian ways to see the city, and you'll love the breeze on a hot day.

Highlights:

A Vespa tour means you can get around Rome without sweating. The icing on the cake? This tour also includes a delicious tub of gelato.
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2. Get out of the city to cycle the Appian Way

The Ancient Appian Way was one of the first roads built by the Romans, and you'll feel an incredible sense of history as you follow it. This cycling route takes you out of the city center, past six ancient aqueducts, and into a glorious meadow that's perfect for a summer picnic.

Highlights:

Does cycling sound like too much effort in the heat? Take an e-bike tour instead.

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3. Escape the heat by going underground at the Colosseum

Where did the Ancient Romans go on a hot day? The Colosseum, of course. Now you can follow in their footsteps. We can't promise gladiators and lions, but this stunning site is the perfect place to explore on a hot day.

Highlights

Choose a tour that will take you underground, where the air is cooler. This is where the gladiators sharpened their weapons before combat.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza del Colosseu 1, 00184 Rome. Open 9:00 AM-7:15 PM, Monday-Sunday.
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4. See Rome by moonlight on a warm night

Summer nights in Rome are perfect for sightseeing. If the days are too hot for you, wait for the sun to go down and head out to see the city's monuments all lit up.

Highlights:

This guided walking tour will take you to all the major sights. Don't forget to toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain.

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5. Cycle around the city's most beautiful gardens


The Borghese Gallery is famous for its stunning Renaissance artwork, but its gardens are just as spectacular. Go for a bike ride around the park and enjoy some fresh air.

Highlights:

With a tour guide, you'll learn all about the history of these beautiful gardens. When you've finished, take a picnic overlooking the lake.

Address and opening hours:

00197 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome Capital. Open every day from dawn to dusk.

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6. Take a day trip to the harbor of the Empire

Escape from the summer heat and head for the coast. A day trip to Ostia Antica will allow you to immerse yourself in the world of the Ancient Romans. This ancient harbor town is incredibly well-preserved and feels like taking a journey through time.

Highlights:

Your tour guide will explain the history of Ostia Antica and make sure that you don't miss anything. When you've finished, why not watch the sunset from the beach?

Best water activities

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7. Go rafting on the Tiber River

Watersports in Rome? Yes, it's true. Get your adrenaline pumping with a rafting trip to Tiber Island, the perfect way to cool off on a hot day.

Highlights:

This rafting trip is ideal for adventurers. You'll be burning some major calories as you row down the river, so there's some fresh Italian pizza waiting for you on the island.

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8. Get out of the city with a day trip to the coast

The beautiful Amalfi Coast is the perfect place to escape the city heat. Marvel at the clear blue waters and picture-perfect villages. Enjoy a relaxing boat cruise with the sea breeze on your face.

Highlights:

Take this full day trip to the Amalfi Coast. You'll have an action-packed day, combining cultural landmarks, stunning beaches, a boat trip, and even local limoncello.

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9. Go snorkeling in the waters of Ponza Island

Romans love to go to the coast in summer. Join them on a trip to Ponza Island, just a few hours away. This tiny Mediterranean jewel is perfect if you want to go swimming or snorkeling.

Highlights:

This day trip includes a boat tour around the island. As you're exploring, watch out for the legendary grotto of Circe, home to the mythical sorceress from the Odyssey.

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10. Take a kayak to the Pope's summer house

Castel Gandolfo is best known as the Pope's summer residence. It's also ideal for a fun getaway from the city, with a beautiful freshwater lake that's perfect for kayaking and swimming.

Highlights:

When you take this kayak tour, you'll see Castel Gandolfo from a totally new perspective. There's even a wonderful lake beach, only accessible from the water.

FAQs

Where can I go swimming or relax by the water in Rome?

You can take an organized rafting trip on the River Tiber if you like. However, if you really want to enjoy a summer's day by the beach, you're better off taking a day trip to the Amalfi Coast.

Are there any great summer festivals in Rome?

Yes. There are a number of music festivals, including Rock in Roma and Festival Caracalla. You can also enjoy traditional festivals like the religious Festa de Noantri. One of the biggest days of the year is June 29, when the Festival of St Peter and St Paul takes place, with fireworks and feasts across the city. Be sure to check out the floral displays in St Peter's Square on that day, but remember that the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel will be closed.

What are the must-visit outdoor attractions in Rome?

Rome has some great places to visit outdoors, including the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain. The Borghese Gardens, now a public park, are the perfect spot for a picnic.

What are some great day trips to take from Rome in the summer?

You can head to the nearby town of Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer residence, which has a lovely lake for kayaking. Other popular day trips include towns on the Amalfi Coast or, if you're into history, the archaeological site of Pompeii.

What are some fun activities with kids in Rome in summer?

Kids will enjoy the chance to visit places like the Colosseum in summer, where they can act out their gladiatorial fantasies. There are also a number of family-friendly walking tours tailored to keep the little ones happy.