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What to do in Rome on a rainy day

Published on November 22, 2018 by C. P.

From catacombs to food markets, what to do when it rains

Rome is pretty generous with its visitors, offering more often than not mild temperatures and sunny days, weather-wise. They’re honestly the best conditions as the ruins and landmarks the city has to offer are almost 100% outdoors. The fact remains, though – you could be in Rome on an occasional downpour day or you may be visiting in the fall or winter.

What to do then?

Here are some ideas that don’t include visiting the over 90 museums or the roughly 900 churches in the city (we’re sure you’ve thought of that already!)

Heading underground

Many attractions are below ground level on account of a mind-blowing amount of the old city sitting below us, waiting to be excavated (to be fair, some parts of it will never be brought to light… ). A rainy day is your chance to visit some of the city’s catacombs (with Santa Agnese and Santa Priscilla being the closest to the city center), crypts (like the Capuchin Crypt on Via Veneto) or hypogaeums (case in point: the Basilica di San Clemente, by the Colosseum).

Taking a cooking lesson

We won’t go in too much depth with this as everyone has their own specific preferences, but cooking lessons are always a great idea to get to know the city you’re visiting and their inhabitants, especially when they include buying your own ingredients first.

Visiting a food market

Speaking of which… Of course you know the market at Campo de’ Fiori – it’s one of the most photographed in the world! Alas, that one is outdoors, so not particularly suitable for a rainy day. The good news is that most food markets in Rome are held indoors, and don’t just include food and produce. When you visit the Testaccio market or the Nuovo Esquilino market (the latter by the Vittorio Emanuele metro stop), for instance, you will find clothes, shoes, crafts.

And Testaccio market, particularly, is more like a mini-mall in that respect, so you could literally spend hours in there. Other popular destinations if you like markets are the Mercato Trionfale by the Vatican Museums or the Mercato Garbatella.

Going to the movies

Rome has a number of cinemas offering English-language showings of (mainly) current movies. Some of these are right in the city center (look for directions for Nuovo Olimpia, Cinema Barberini, Intrastevere, Quattro Fontane…). Original language films alternate with those dubbed for locals, so always make sure you find a poster, ticket or ad stating “V.O.” which stands for “versione originale”, ie. original version. Otherwise you will stuck in the dark (in more ways than one!) with your favourite actors talking Italian…

Cafe hopping

The cafe scene in Rome is lively and has something for everyone. Traditional Roman hangouts where you get served quickly and off you go alternate with third wave cafes and bistros, something closer to what you may be used to back home. Explore the city center as well as the districts just outside of it and you will find a variety of places with coffee concoctions, cakes and savoury snacks to die for.

Need addresses? Keep coming back to this blog, as we have a post on our favourite cafes in the works and we’re going to have it online shortly!

What about a concert?

There are several dozens music events each day in Rome, from opera to jazz, from international acts to local artists. International platforms such as Eventbrite or Songkick can help you locate concerts as well as musicals (with plenty of other alternatives, too!). We recommend bookmarking these sites and exploring them at least once before you leave for Rome. Events get added to their listings on a daily basis!

Category: Rome 101
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