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Rome in Summer: How to Escape the Heat

Places to go to escape Rome's summer heat

· 6 min read

Summer in Rome can be scorching, with temperatures that can make even the most dedicated sun worshipper feel like they're melting. But don't fret! We have got you covered with a list of cool spots where you can beat the heat and still have a fantastic time in the Eternal City.


Catacombs are mysterious underground burial sites that have captured the imagination of people throughout history. Being underground, the catacombs provide a great respite from the heat as you explore the vast subterranean burial grounds.

The Catacombs of Rome stand as a hauntingly fascinating testament to ancient Christian burial practices and underground architecture, dating back to the 2nd century AD and became a final resting place for early Christian communities. The catacombs served as a refuge for the persecuted Christians during times of persecution, offering a clandestine space for worship and commemoration of their departed loved ones. The narrow, dimly lit passages wind through labyrinthine tunnels, lined with neatly stacked tombs and crypts that were often adorned with intricate frescoes and symbols of faith.

Source: Catacombs of Saint Callixtus
Source: Catacombs of Saint Callixtus

Today, visiting the Catacombs offers an opportunity to delve into the rich history of early Christianity and experience a captivating glimpse into the lives and beliefs of those who dwelled in the shadows beneath the Eternal City. Each catacomb complex, such as the Catacombs of Callixtus, Catacombs of Domitilla, and Catacombs of San Sebastian, possesses its unique aura and stories to share. The intricate network of burial corridors invites exploration, revealing an impressive feat of engineering and carving skills from a bygone era. The Catacombs not only serve as a historical and religious treasure but also as an intriguing archaeological site that continues to intrigue and captivate visitors from around the world.

Capuchin Crypt

Another underground site, the Capuchin Crypt is is a mesmerising place that showcases the unique approach to death adopted by the Capuchin monks.

Source: Archaeology Travel
Source: Archaeology Travel

Located beneath the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini in Rome, the Capuchin Crypt is a burial site like no other, where the remains of over 4,000 Capuchin friars have been artfully arranged and displayed. Entering the crypt, visitors are met with an intricate and eerie display of human bones and skeletal remains. Skulls, vertebrae, and long bones have been meticulously arranged to form ornate patterns and intricate designs, making the crypt a chilling testament to the transient nature of life and the inevitability of mortality.

Stadium of Domitian

Stadium of Domitian, also known as the Circus Agonalis, was an ancient Roman stadium and one of the most remarkable structures in the heart of Rome during the Roman Empire. Built by the Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus in the 1st century AD, this grand stadium was primarily used for hosting various athletic competitions and public games, including chariot races, athletics, and gladiatorial contests. The stadium's design showcased Roman engineering prowess, boasting an elliptical shape with a seating capacity that could accommodate up to 20,000 spectators.

Source: Stadium of Domitian
Source: Stadium of Domitian

Over the centuries, the Stadium of Domitian experienced periods of decline and resurgence, with portions of the structure repurposed or incorporated into other buildings. Today, the stadium's original location lies approximately 4.5 metres below street level beneath Piazza Navona, one of Rome's most popular and bustling squares. Though much of the physical remains of the stadium have been lost to time and urban development, its historical significance continues to be recognized as a testament to the ancient Roman love for grandiose entertainment and an enduring symbol of the city's rich and vibrant past.

Water Parks

Of course, one of the best ways to cool down in the hot summer heat is to hit up the water parks. While there are no water parks within the city limits, there are a few options just outside the city.

Source: Hydromania
Source: Hydromania

One of the most popular options is the Hydromania, located about 30 minutes from the city center. Hydromania offers a fun escape from the summer heat, featuring a variety of water slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and other aquatic attractions suitable for both children and adults. Another very popular option is the Aquafelix, which is farther out (about a 1 hour drive rom central Rome) is one of the biggest water parks around Rome which offers a great variety of slides and pools.

Do note that the water parks are outdoors though, which means you will still be subjected to the unforgiving sun — so be sure to stay very hydrated and apply your sunscreens!

Museums, Churches, and Art Galleries

One of the best ways to beat the heat is by exploring Rome's world-class museums and art galleries. From ancient artifacts at the Vatican Museums to Renaissance masterpieces at the Borghese Gallery, you'll find air-conditioned havens where you can appreciate art and history.

Source: Vatican Museums
Source: Vatican Museums

Don't forget to take advantage of the guided tours offered by these institutions. Knowledgeable guides will provide fascinating insights into the stories behind the artwork, enhancing your experience and deepening your appreciation for the masterpieces on display.

Shopping Centers and Malls

If retail therapy is your way of staying cool, then Rome's shopping centers and malls have got you covered. Take a break from the heat by browsing the latest fashion trends, sampling local treats, or catching a movie in the air-conditioned comfort of these modern complexes.

Explore the sprawling Euroma2 or Porta di Roma, two of Rome's largest shopping centers, boasting a wide range of stores, from popular international brands to local Italian designers.

But shopping is not the only attraction within these malls. Indulge your taste buds at the gourmet food courts, where you can savor a variety of cuisines from around the world. From traditional Italian pasta to exotic Asian flavors, there's something to satisfy every craving.

Tips for Staying Cool in Rome

Best Time of Day to Explore

To avoid the peak heat of the day, plan your outdoor activities for the early morning or late afternoon. Consider taking a short mid-day around noon - head back to your hotel to rest and freshen up. This way, you can enjoy the sights and attractions without battling the scorching sun.

Start your day early. When the sun rises over the beautiful city of Rome, the air is still cool and crisp. It's the perfect time to embark on your Roman adventures. You'll also have the opportunity to explore iconic landmarks, such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, without the crowds and the sweltering heat.

In the late afternoon, as the sun begins its descent, Rome takes on a different charm. The temperature starts to cool down, and the city becomes alive with a vibrant energy. The streets are filled with locals and tourists alike, enjoying the pleasant weather and the lively atmosphere. This is the perfect time to visit the picturesque Piazza Navona or take a leisurely stroll along the Tiber River. You can stop by one of the many gelato shops and indulge in a refreshing treat while taking in the breathtaking views of the city.

Essential Items to Pack

Make sure to pack sun protection essentials like sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the intense rays. A reusable water bottle is also a must to stay hydrated throughout the day.

When it comes to exploring Rome, sun protection is of utmost importance. The Italian sun can be unforgiving, and without proper protection, you risk getting sunburned and feeling drained from the heat. Apply sunscreen generously before heading out, and don't forget to reapply throughout the day. A wide-brimmed hat will not only protect your face from the sun but also add a touch of style to your outfit. Complete your ensemble with a pair of sunglasses to shield your eyes from the bright rays.

Staying hydrated is crucial when you're out and about in the Roman heat. The combination of walking, sightseeing, and the warm climate can quickly lead to dehydration. Carrying a reusable water bottle ensures that you always have access to water. You can fill it up at the numerous fountains scattered around the city, including the famous Trevi Fountain. Take sips of cool water as you explore the streets, and you'll feel refreshed and revitalized throughout your Roman adventures.