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How to Enjoy the Pleasures of Rome in August

“Rome in August is a wonderful thing.”

That is not necessarily the most popular opinion. Most Romans leave the city for cooler Alpine climes or a spot under an umbrella somewhere along the literally thousands of kilometers of Italy’s shoreline. But for those who stay there is a wonderful unflustered vibe to the usually chaotic city. You need to be a little more flexible if you are planning on spending time in Rome in August but armed with a few key tips you can have your own Nanni Moretti moments. (map)


After Dark Tour of the Colosseum

August in Rome is hot. Save yourself the waiting in a long line in the blazing sun and instead book a tour of the Colosseum after the sun sets . You practically have the entire Colosseum all to yourself. I live right next to Colosseum. I walk by it every single day and it still makes me stop (and usually snap a picture) and take it in. To be inside, in silence, with stars instead of sunshine overhead is truly an extraordinary, emotional experience. Afterward book in for a drink at the new very chic cocktail bar, The Court.

Dinner outside at Giggetto

Come here for solid Roman classics with a view of the Portico di Ottavio commissioned by Augustus for his sister around 27 BC. If you missed a crispy fried artichoke in season this is one of the few restaurants that serve them year-round. They are still fresh and cleaned daily (to see how they do it,  stop by in the late morning to book your table in person) The Buccatini Amatriciana is a delicious tomatoey mess and the tiramisu is both creamy and crunchy at the same time. 


Go to the Beach

If the heat gets to much to endure do like the Romans do and head for the sea. I recently discovered what an easy and charming destination Anzio is. Trains leave from Termini roughly every hour. There is no lack of history here. Swim near the remains of Nero’s beach house or visit the WWII Beachhead Museum in the leafy Villa Adele. Fish is what is on the menu at the casual and boisterous Il Fraschetta del Mare. Have a spritz next to the port on your way back to the station. The last train back to Rome leaves at 10:00 pm. 


Empty Museums

Skip the Vatican Museums (save that for a winter trip) and visit some of Rome’s smaller museums instead. The Centrale Montemartini has ancient Roman statues that the Musei Capitolini. didn’t have room for displayed in what was the city’s first power plant. The top floor of the Palazzo Massimo is the best interior design inspiration ever with rooms full of Roman mosaic floors and the enchanting and intact painted garden from the Villa di Livia. Once an aristocratic home, the frescoed rooms of the 16th century Palazzo Altemps are filled with ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. Sit a spell in the breezy decorated Nymphaeum. 



August 15 is one of Italy’s biggest holidays. second only to Christmas and Easter. Technically it is a religious feast day that celebrates the assumption of Mary to heaven but its roots are ancient. Dating back to when Augustus ruled, in 18 BC the emperor created a holiday, Feriae Augusti, the festivals of Augustus. Today it is a day to spend with friends and family eating a long leisurely lunch. Need some art and grandeur? The Capitoline Museums and the Galleria Doria Pamphilj will be open.


Gillian is a Rome based blogger, ebook writer, information curator, traveler, coffee and cocktail drinker. Her favorite sound in Rome is the clank of coffee cups at her neighborhood bar and will often make a detour on her way to a quotidian errand to say hello to a Michelangelo sculpture or saints relic.