It’s easy to find things to do in Rome during the day, but what about Rome by night? During the fall and winter, the sunset in the “Eternal City” can occur as early as 4:40 P.M. Then, during the summertime, the temperature in Rome can reach 90°F or more in the afternoon.
So, no matter the season of your Italy vacation, it’s probably a good idea to investigate night activities in Rome. The good news is that this charming Italian city really does come alive in the evening!
In this article, we’ll review the 17 best things to do in Rome at night. Between visiting the most famous historical sites, grabbing a bite to eat, and even taking a cooking class, there should be an ideal activity for just about anyone on this list!
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Table of Contents
Things to do in Rome at night
Explore the Colosseum after dark
If you’re wondering what to do in Rome at night, did you know that you can visit the Colosseum? This option is ideal if you struggle with the heat during the day, especially during your trip in July or August. Since the Colosseum has only recently begun allowing visitors after dark, tour group sizes are restricted to around 20 people.
Visiting this site during the evening knocks out both the crowds and the heat! The only real downside is that Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum aren’t open at night, so you’ll only get to view them from a distance. Additionally, tickets are more expensive compared to the daytime prices.
If you’re still not sold on seeing this historical site at night, know this: you’re able to go out onto the arena floor in the evening! So, why not skip the crowds and learn about ancient Rome in a smaller group? For those with a Colosseum night tour on their bucket list, we recommend planning to secure a ticket before you leave for your trip.
These twilight tours are top-rated and, due to their limited size, sell out quickly. Although the season for evening tours of the Colosseum changes every year, it’s typically only possible to visit at night during the warmer months (April through October). Nonetheless, there are occasional tours after dark on weekends in the winter!
Visit the Trevi Fountain without the crowds
Since the Trevi Fountain is one of the most popular places to visit in Rome, it can be slightly overwhelming to go during the day. Consider swinging by to toss your coin in at night to avoid the crowds.
In case you aren’t familiar with the tradition: legend states that throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain means that you’ll return to Rome in the future! Remember that there is technically a “correct” way to toss your spare change into the Trevi as well–make sure to use your right hand to throw the coin over your left shoulder.
Tour the Vatican at night
As previously mentioned, some of the best evening activities in Rome are at sites that tend to be crowded during the day! The same tip holds true in the case of visiting the Vatican. From April to October each year, the Vatican Museums are open for extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays (from 7-10:30 P.M.).
Although you won’t be able to visit all of the galleries after dark, a guided tour of the Vatican Museums at night is a great way to see the highlights without having to deal with the high temperature and crowds. For example, popular Vatican attractions such as the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms (Stanze di Raffaello), and the Gallery of Maps are open at night!
Since the museums are only open in the evening for select days during the warmer months, tickets can be challenging to come by. With this in mind, we urge you to book tickets as soon as possible when planning for your trip. You may also want to book with a trusted tour company, like City Wonders, to avoid any last-minute surprises.
Just a quick note: the Vatican is experiencing a surge in tourism, so don’t expect the galleries to be completely empty when visiting at night. Nonetheless, you probably won’t encounter the wall-to-wall crowds that you would see during the daytime.
Go on a Rome food tour
One of our best tips for nighttime in Rome is to go on a food tour on your first day in the city! We find it’s the best way to try a little bit of everything and see which restaurants you’d like to return to or make reservations for later in your trip. So, consider spending one of your evenings in Rome on a food tour.
One of the most popular options is to explore the hip Trastevere neighborhood. If you’re a fan of street food, check out this Rome street food tour with a local guide. Otherwise, another great option is this food walking tour through Trastevere, Campo de’ Fiori, and the Jewish Ghetto.
Take an evening stroll around Rome
The temperature in the Italian capital is usually quite agreeable at night, so why not take a walk? We find that exploring the city on foot is one of the best ways to tour Rome. We suggest a self-guided walking tour, passing by the best places to visit in Rome at night.
For example, you don’t want to miss the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and finally, Castel Sant’Angelo. With this particular route, you can check off all of the main Rome attractions. The historic center is also one of the best places to stay in Rome! You won’t even have to go out of your way in this neighborhood to take a nice walk.
Instead of taking a taxi to dinner, consider strolling through Rome’s squares. Walking around at night is a calmer way to see the city in comparison to subjecting yourself to the sweltering afternoon heat. Plus, Rome is considered to be very safe at night, especially in the most touristy areas.
See a movie at an open-air cinema
As you can imagine, open-air cinemas are only open in Rome during the summertime due to the weather. So, if you happen to be in the Eternal City between June and September, you’ll want to jump at the opportunity! L’Isola del Cinema is one of the best places to go in Rome at night, where you can see a movie on the historical Tiber Island.
At this festival, you’ll find box office hits both from Italy and abroad, often with English programming as well. L’Isola de Cinema is so beloved in Rome that over 5000 films have been shown at the festival since 1995, and tickets are usually around €5-6.
Hop onto a Segway tour
If you don’t think you’ll be able to cover much ground on foot, there are still plenty of other ways to explore Rome! One exciting option is to book a guided Segway tour of Rome’s most famous attractions.
Put on your helmet, follow your tour leader, and experience the city as it lights up at night. You won’t be doing much walking on this adventure, but you will want to wear comfortable shoes!
Have dinner at a rooftop restaurant
One of the most sought-after Rome evening activities is to have dinner with a view! When planning your trip, remember that reservations are essential. If there are any specific restaurants that you already have in mind, make a reservation ASAP. Here are some of the best rooftop restaurants in Rome that you won’t want to miss:
- Ristorante Aroma at Palazzo Manfredi: Want to have dinner with a clear view of the Colosseum? Aroma Restaurant has not only a Michelin star but also one of the best rooftops in Rome! It’s ideal for celebrating any special and romantic occasion or even for a classy lunch with friends.
- Mater Terrae at Hotel Raphael: For an organic, vegan, and vegetarian rooftop restaurant, look no further than Mater Terrae! With a view of St. Peter’s Dome and a location steps from Piazza Navona, you won’t be disappointed with this 360° perspective.
- Hotel Forum Restaurant: As you might be able to guess from this restaurant’s name, Hotel Forum offers an incredible view of the Roman Forum. We’ve heard many stories of couples getting engaged at the rooftop garden!
- Settimo Roman Cuisine and Terrace: You can find Settimo restaurant on the seventh floor of the Sofitel Roma Villa Borghese. Located next to the Villa Borghese gardens, the fantastic views at sunset are an unforgettable experience.
- Terrazza Borromini: For a direct view of Piazza Navona, you’ll want to make a reservation at this terrace. We’d suggest looking up what time the sun will set during your trip and making your reservations for during the golden hour!
Sneak into a speakeasy
Did you know that Italy’s capital has its own share of speakeasy bars? For a night in Rome with a quirky and different experience, plan to head to the Jerry Thomas Speakeasy. Although getting into this cocktail bar is a process, it’s worth it!
You’ll need to make a reservation on the website and then obtain the password to enter. Since Jerry Thomas is “members only,” you’ll also be asked to pay a 5€ membership fee upon your first visit. We highly suggest ordering the Ghost Old Fashioned.
Enjoy a cocktail with a view of the Colosseum
If you’re deciding what to do in Rome in the evening, why not grab a cocktail with a view? The Court is one of our favorite cocktail bars, located at Palazzo Manfredi Hotel in Rome. It sits next to the Ludus Magnus and directly across from the Colosseum, offering one of the best views in the city.
We recommend starting your evening with a drink here and then having dinner at Palazzo Manfredi’s one-Michelin Star Aroma Restaurant. It’s the perfect way to celebrate any big life events!
Especially if you plan to visit in the evening, you’ll want to call ahead and make a reservation at the Court. The drinks are a little expensive, but they’re also genuine craft cocktails served by experienced bartenders. Plus, you’ll receive complimentary snacks with your tasty concoctions!
Discover Rome’s best rooftop bars
While in Italy, you’ll probably want to partake in the tradition of aperitivo. This evening ritual typically involves having pre-dinner drinks and snacks with friends. So, before you head to your dinner reservation, consider stopping by one of these charming rooftop bars for a drink:
- Terrazza Cielo at Rocco Forte Hotel De La Ville: Prepare yourself for the NYC prices before your head to this rooftop terrace near the Spanish Steps. However, Cielo’s incredible sunset view makes up for the steep prices as well as the complimentary appetizers that come with your cocktails.
- Tiziano Terrace by Monti View: Located on the top floor of the Monti Palace Hotel, this terrace offers craft cocktails and a 180-degree view of the Monti District. Drop by any evening (except Sunday) for exceptional service and drinks.
- Singer Palace Hotel: This hotel rooftop is home to both The Terraces Restaurant and Jim’s Bar. Thanks to its historic location within a 20th-century palace, you can see Via del Corso and Piazza Venezia from this spot. Enjoy a classic cocktail or maybe even one of the property’s signature concoctions inspired by cocktails from the 1920s.
Go late-night shopping in Rome
Just because it’s dark outside doesn’t mean the city has gone to sleep! The evening in Rome is actually one of the best times to go shopping–when the temperatures are cooler, and the shops are less crowded. You’ll find that many popular shops are open until 8 P.M., and some are even open until 10.
With this in mind, you may want to shop for your souvenirs while you peruse Rome in the evening or make your way to dinner. Regarding streets with the best shopping in Rome, you’ll want to try Via del Corso or Via dei Condotti, depending on what you’re looking for! The former is home to a variety of well-known local and international brands, while the latter is known for its luxury shops.
Gelato is one of the things Rome does best, and if you didn’t have a chance to snag some during the day, it’s not too late! One of my best travel tips is that Roman gelaterias (gelato shops) are still open at night–in fact, some stores don’t even close until 2 in the morning.
If you’re on a mission to sample the best gelato in Rome, make sure to check out some of my favorites:
- Frigidarium: Close to Piazza Navona, Frigidarium is a great place to try authentic Italian gelato for the first time. Although you’ll probably have to wait in a queue for a while, it’s 100% worth it! In our opinion, the best flavors to sample here are frigidarium (caramel, hazelnut, and Pan di Stelle cookies) or pistachio.
- Come il Latte: Gelateria Come il Latte may be a little far from the touristy part of Rome, but many say it’s the best gelato they’ve ever eaten! We recommend the ricotta apple and cinnamon flavor.
- Gelateria del Teatro: Located close to the river, this gelateria makes for an easy stop while exploring the main historical sites in Rome. Make sure to try the herbal-infused flavors!
- Old Bridge Gelateria: If you plan to visit the Vatican during your trip to Rome, Old Bridge makes for a great snack before or after your visit. It’s undoubtedly the best gelateria near Vatican City.
- GROM: GROM is a chain with multiple locations throughout Rome, so it’s straightforward to find! This gelateria even offers gluten-free options.
Have a fancy night out at the Opera
If you’re interested in the fine arts, seeing an opera is one of the most fun things to do in Rome at night. In fact, opera originated in Italy in the 16th century, so why not experience an authentic show in its birthplace? For a real, local experience, book tickets at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.
This theater puts on a variety of operas, ballets, and shows. If you’re visiting during the summertime, you’ll want to catch one of the performances at the Baths of Caracalla. These ancient Roman ruins serve as a stunning backdrop for special concerts, ballets, and operas from June to early August.
Take a cooking class
If you can’t get enough Italian food, one of the top things to do at night in Rome is learning how to cook it yourself! Choose between making your own pasta or pizza from scratch, and you’ll be able to take a new skill home with you. You may even want to combine your cooking class with a wine tasting! You are in Rome, after all.
Go on a ghost tour
One of the best off-the-beaten-track experiences in the city is Dark Rome’s Ghosts, Mysteries, and Legends of Rome Night Walking Tour. On this tour, you’ll learn some of the best folklore and tales having to do with historic sites in Rome as you peruse the city center.
It’s the perfect way to learn more about Rome’s history while also becoming familiar with some of its eerier characters. If you enjoy being spooked, you’ll want to pair this tour with the Crypts and Catacombs Tour!
Experience Rome’s crypts and catacombs
After deciding to show a lesser-known side of the city, Dark Rome came up with the original Crypts and Catacombs tour. Especially if you’re visiting during Halloween, the Crypts and Catacombs tour makes for a super spooky activity at night!
During this experience, you’ll visit the Catacomb of Callixtus, the Basilica of San Clemente, and see the infamous Capuchin Crypts. At the catacombs, you’ll observe how the early Christians buried their dead underground.
Then, at the Basilica, you’ll learn how holy sites were often “recycled” in Rome as new societies rose and fell. At the last stop, you’ll have one of the most off-the-wall experiences we’ve had in a destination as popular as Rome! Here, the Capuchin monks rearranged the bones of dead friars to demonstrate a point: death cannot be escaped.
Quick tips for visiting Rome at night
Before you leave for your vacation to Rome, you may want to know some of my quick tips for visiting Rome at night. These little tidbits are essential to know and to take into consideration during your stay in the Eternal City! Let’s go over what to wear in Rome at night as well as some recommendations for dinnertime.
What to wear in Rome at night
What you should wear in Rome at night will largely depend on what activities you plan to do. For example, some restaurants have a strict dress code, while others are less formal. Nonetheless, it’s probably better to air on the dressier side instead of a more casual look.
Regarding shoes, we’d urge you to wear something comfortable. After all, the cobblestone roads in Rome can be unforgiving! For women, if you’d like to wear shoes with a heel, opt for wedges over stilettos.
The city cools down in the evening, so be sure to dress in layers. Always check the weather before you leave your hotel room in case you need to grab a light jacket, coat, or umbrella, depending on the forecast.
Plan to eat your meals on Roman time
While you may be accustomed to eating dinner in the U.S. as early as 5 P.M., Romans tend to have dinner much later. In fact, especially if they have an aperitivo in the evening, Romans may not have dinner until 8-10 P.M.
The best way to adjust to meal times in Rome is to adapt your own schedule! Plan to have lunch and dinner later than usual and have some light snacks in between.
Popular restaurants will require reservations
For Romans, a dinner is an event that takes the whole evening. Therefore, many restaurants require reservations. The advantage of this policy is that servers won’t rush you to finish your meal or to give up your table.
In fact, dinner is an experience that you can enjoy at your own speed! If there are any restaurants you feel you absolutely must visit, we’d recommend making reservations at least 1-2 weeks in advance.
Tipping isn’t mandatory
Coming from the U.S., you may be wondering if you need to leave a 15-20% tip in Rome when eating at a restaurant. The truth is tipping is optional in Italy. Nonetheless, you may notice an extra charge on your bill called servicio.
This fee typically pops up when you’re dining with a larger party, and it’s essentially a tip. If you have a servicio charge, you don’t need to leave any further tips. If you don’t have this charge but would like to leave a little something extra for your waiter, 10% is an appropriate amount.
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I was gifted Dark Rome’s Original Crypts and Catacombs Tour and Dark Rome’s Ghosts, Mysteries, and Legends of Rome Night Walking Tour. However, all opinions are my own, and I wholeheartedly recommend booking with Dark Rome during any trips to Rome.
The first version of this article was originally published in January 2020 but has since been updated.