How often does it snow in Rome?

Rome is a city steeped in history and culture, renowned for its beautiful architecture, stunning art, delicious cuisine and vibrant atmosphere.

But one question that often comes up about the Italian capital is: does it snow in Rome?

The answer may surprise you – while Rome doesn’t get much snow compared to other cities around the world, it does still happen on occasion.

In fact, the city can get about one or two snowfalls each year. These usually occur in early January and February, although snowfall outside this timeframe is not unheard of.

When Rome does experience snow, it typically doesn’t last for more than a few days and rarely accumulates enough to cause significant disruption to daily life.

Snow also isn’t as common in the city center compared to its outlying suburbs.

Though it doesn’t snow very often, when it does, Rome is transformed into an enchanting winter wonderland that should not be missed.

So don’t miss the chance to experience a different side of this timeless city if you get the chance!

The colosseum in Rome with snow on the path around the outside and snow falling

Does it snow in Rome?

As it is located in the central-western part of the Italian Peninsula, Rome has a warm and temperate climate, with hot and dry summers and mild winters.

While it doesn’t snow very often in Rome, the city does experience some occasional winter snowfall. 

So to answer the question “Does it snow in Rome?” in short, the answer is yes, sometimes, but not very often. 

Rome has a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot and humid summers, and mild and wet winters.

The city is located in the rain shadow of the Apennine Mountains, which protect it from the prevailing westerly winds and the accompanying rainfall.

As a result, Rome has relatively low annual precipitation, averaging about 20 inches per year, and this includes rain, snow, sleet and other forms of water falling from the sky. 

When does it snow in Rome?

The average temperature in Rome ranges from about 45°F (7°C) in the winter to about 85°F (29°C) in the summer.

The winter months of December, January, and February are the coldest, with average high temperatures ranging from 53°F (12°C) to 57°F (14°C).

On the flip side, the average low temperatures range from 37°F (3°C) to 39° (4°C). So if there is ever a chance of snow in Rome, it will likely be in these 3 months. 

That being said, Rome typically only gets a few inches of snow per year, with the heaviest snowfall occurring in February in fact.

The last time Rome saw a significant snowfall, and for the first time in 26 years, was back in 2012 when the city received about 8 inches of snow.

If you are Canadian or from anywhere else that experiences heavy snowfall, this will be incredibly little to you. 

Why is there little snow in Rome?

If you are geographically minded and want to know why there is little snow in Rome, there are several factors that contribute.

One factor is the city’s location near the coast.

The nearby Mediterranean Sea helps to moderate the temperature in Rome, keeping the city warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Another factor is the city’s elevation.

Rome is located at an elevation of about 122 feet (37 metres) above sea level, which is relatively low compared to other cities in Italy.

This low elevation means that Rome is less likely to experience heavy snowfall, as the air is generally too warm for snow to form.

What happens when it snow in Rome?

Despite the limited snowfall in Rome, the city does have measures in place for winter weather.

The city’s public transportation system, including buses, trams, and the metro, has a contingency plan in place for dealing with snow and ice.

The city also has a fleet of snowploughs and salt trucks to help clear the streets in case of a winter storm. 

So even if it does snow while you are in Rome, don’t worry, it will not ruin your trip.

It may even make it more magical if you are visiting in December when the Piazza Navona is home to Rome’s Christmas markets.

Nonetheless, Rome is worth visiting regardless of if there is snow or not. 

Overall, while it doesn’t snow very often in Rome, the city does experience some occasional winter snowfall.

While it’s not a common occurrence, it’s important to be prepared for the possibility of snow during your visit to the city.

The best places for a snowy day in Rome

Of course, any where in Rome would be beautiful to see when it snows but some of the best places to visit on a snowy day and to capture some beautiful photos are:

Lungotevere

Stroll along the timelessly-stunning Lungotevere, a series of paths that hug the curving banks of Rome’s Tiber.

As you meander through this scenic escape, enjoy incredible views of historic Tiberina Island and its iconic bridges – some of which have stood watchful over the city for centuries.

Capitoline Hill

Take the clear and non-slippery stairs up to Piazza del Campidoglio, then make your way to its back for an incredible panoramic view of Rome’s Forum (for free!) – one of the most beautiful vantage points in all of Rome.

St Peter’s Square

If you find yourself in the stunningly snow-covered Vatican, St Peter’s Square will remain accessible and provide flat, picturesque views.

But if you have access to Villa Doria Pamphili, then prepare for an even more remarkable sight as its dome comes into view!

Things to do in Rome in the snow

Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and even more so when it snows.

While snowfall is rare in Rome, when it does happen, it can be an unforgettable experience with its own unique charm.

Whether you’re visiting for a few days or staying longer, there are plenty of great things to do in Rome during the winter months – especially if you get lucky enough to see some snow!

From exploring historic sites like Capitoline Hill to admiring stunning views from Villa Doria Pamphili, here are some ideas on what to do in Rome when it snows.

  1. Visit the Pantheon – The iconic Pantheon is one of Rome’s most beautiful buildings and it’s even more mesmerizing in the snow
  2. Head to the Trevi Fountain – No visit to Rome would be complete without seeing the breathtakingly beautiful Trevi Fountain, which is made even lovelier when it’s covered in a blanket of snow
  3. Take a Roman Holiday – Get a taste of classic Rome with an old-fashioned trattoria like Mamma Mia or La Carbonara, both of which are sublimely cozy when it’s cold outside
  4. Go Shopping at Via del Corso – The famous shopping street becomes even more festive in the winter with seasonal decorations, so be sure to take a stroll along Via del Corso and get your holiday shopping done
  5. Take a Snowy Day Trip – Rome sits at the heart of an incredible region, many parts of which transform into a postcard-perfect wonderland when it snows

So why not take a day trip to explore the nearby countryside? The nearby towns of Tivoli, Castel Gandolfo, and Frascati are all perfect for a wintery day trip.

Do the fountains in Rome ever freeze?

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible for the fountains in Rome to freeze?

While the city of Rome may not experience heavy snowfall, there are some occasions when temperatures drop low enough that they can cause certain water features, such as fountains, to freeze.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely for the Trevi Fountain in Rome to ever freeze over.

This is because the fountain is surrounded by many buildings which help to keep it warmer, even when temperatures outside are very cold.

Furthermore, the fountain’s constant flowing water also helps to prevent it from freezing.

However, there are other fountains in Rome which may experience the occasional freeze.

If it does get cold enough and if there is a lot of wind, some fountains can look as though a swish has frozen in time.

What to wear in Rome in Winter

To prepare for the (albeit small) possibility of snow when visiting Rome in the winter months, it’s important to dress in layers and bring warm outerwear.

The weather can be quite chilly and damp after all.

A good outfit for exploring the city might consist of a base layer of a long-sleeved shirt or sweater, a pair of jeans or other warm bottoms, and a pair of comfortable shoes.

On top of that, you’ll want to bring a coat or jacket to keep you warm. A waterproof coat or umbrella is also a good idea, as Rome can be prone to rain during the winter.

As the best way to get around Rome is by walking, you’ll want to ensure you are able to keep yourself both warm and dry. 

It’s worth noting that many of Rome’s landmarks and museums can have strict dress codes, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re dressed appropriately.

Avoid wearing clothing with offensive graphics or slogans, and as a general rule of thumb, make sure to cover your shoulders and knees if you plan on visiting churches or other religious sites including the Vatican. 

The key to dressing for Rome in the winter is to stay warm and comfortable, but also respectful of local customs and traditions, as you should be when you dress for anywhere.

Best places in Italy for snow

If you wish there was more snow in Rome, you may wish to choose to spend Winter somewhere else in Italy.

There are lots of great spots in Rome for winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and more.

Here are 3 of the best places in Italy for snow:

The Dolomites

Located in the northern part of the country, the Dolomites are a mountain range that offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Italy.

The area is home to a number of resorts, including Alta Badia, Cortina d’Ampezzo, and Val Gardena, which offer a range of slopes for skiers and boarders of all levels.

The Aosta Valley

This region, located in the northwest of Italy, is home to several ski resorts that offer access to the Italian Alps.

Some of the most popular resorts in the Aosta Valley include Courmayeur, La Thuile, and Cervinia, which offer a range of slopes and other winter activities.

The Apennines

The Apennines are the mountain range that runs down the spine of Italy (the one that shields Rome from snow most of the time) and they offer some great opportunities for skiing and snowboarding.

The region is home to several smaller ski resorts, including Abetone, Campigna, and Monte Cimone, which offer a more laid-back and affordable alternative to the larger resorts in the Dolomites and the Aosta Valley.

FAQs: Does it snow in Rome?

What are winters like in Rome?

Winters in Rome can be quite chilly and it is not uncommon for the city to experience rain during the winter months.

However, Rome also experiences some sunny and mild days during the winter, and the city’s many landmarks and cultural attractions are still a big draw for visitors.

To stay comfortable during a winter visit to Rome, it’s important to dress in layers and bring warm outerwear, as well as a waterproof coat or umbrella.

When did it last snow in Rome, Italy?

The last time Rome experienced significant snowfall was in 2012 when it received around 8 inches of snowfall.

This was the first time it had snowed in Rome in 26 years, with the last substantial snowfall in 1986. 

What months does it snow in Rome?

If there is going to be snow in Rome, it is most likely to occur in the Winter months of December, January and February when temperatures are at their lowest.

In 2012 when Rome had snow for the first time in nearly 30 years, this happened on the 4th of February.

How often does it snow in Rome?

Not very often at all. The last time it heavily snowed in Rome was the 4th of February 2012.

Before this, it was in 1985 and 1986, so it does now snow in Rome very often.
Due to its geographical location, it is uncommon for there to be snow in the Italian capital.

Instead, you will find snow in the Italian Alps and Dolomites. 

Wrap Up: Does it snow in Rome

In conclusion, it does snow in Rome, although it is not a frequent occurrence.

The city experiences an average of only a few snowfall events per year, and these tend to be relatively light.

However, it is always a good idea to be prepared for the possibility of snow and to bring warm clothing and a waterproof outer layer if you’re visiting Rome during the winter.

Rome is a wonderful destination to visit at any time of year, and a little bit of snow can only add to its charm.

Thank you to Josh Band from A Backpacker’s World for sharing his knowledge on Snow in Rome.

Fiona xoxo

Here are my favourite travel resources for planning travel like a pro:

Flights: To find the best flights I always search on Google Flights or Skyscanner. For even cheaper flights, fly mid week and pack in a carry on!

Accommodation: I always use booking.com (I love their price match and flexible cancellation policies) or Airbnb (if I want a little more space) to book trip. If you prefer hostels, I suggest Hostelworld.

If you are new to Airbnb you can get an awesome discount using this link

Tours: While I prefer to travel independently, I do love doing some tours once I’m in a destination. It is a great way to find out history, hidden gems, taste local food and get a local insight into your destination. I always use Viator to book my tours.

Train Travel: If you are planning on taking the train in Europe, I cannot recommend the Eurail enough! Check out The Ultimate Guide to the Eurail Pass to find out why

Car Hire: Planning an epic road trip across the US or through Europe, or anywhere! Check out DiscoverCar, they are my go to for car hire all over the world!

Luggage Storage: Some times when we are travelling our check in and check out times don’t match with our departure times so we have to put our luggage into storage. Stasher Luggage Storage is the biggest Luggage Storage Network across the UK, France and Germany

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