It’s true, the Roman climate is one of the best in the world with an average of 232 sunny days per year. Cinematographers and photographers love Rome for her seductive light and high probability of clear weather. However, 232 days of sun means 132 of rain. So, depending on the time of year you visit, you have a one in three chance of getting a rainy Roman day. But stay calm: there are some fabulous off-the-beaten path activities to do that will keep you both dry and entertained on a rainy day in Rome.
It’s raining outside? So what?! Get underneath the Eternal City with in the underground of Rome. The Rome underneath will surprise you, she is more humble and and quiet than her seductive, grandiose, center-of-attention sister above ground. There are centuries of history buried just beneath our feet, begging to be discovered. Through Eternity offers an underground tour in which you will experience the Basilica of San Clemente, San Nicola in Carcere, and the Roman Houses beneath San Giovanni e Paolo. You will get up close and personal with some eery medieval frescos in San Clemente, check out the Pagan temples underneath San Nicola in Carcere, and discover an intricate maze of ancient streets and houses underneath San Giovanni e Paolo. Definitely not a bad way to stay out of the rain!
Get grim with
While Rome is often referred to as an outdoor museum because of the fabulous art and architecture that line her every street, we can’t forget about her world-class indoor museums. Maybe it’s just me, but on rainy days I enjoy watching scary movies, swapping horror stories and being rather grim in general while the rain pours and thunder cracks outside. One of Italy’s most famous painters, Caravaggio, also shared this love of the grotesque. Caravaggio led a life of brilliance, intrigue and violence and this is very apparent in certain works. On a rainy day, or even a sunny one, you can go to admire Caravaggio's paintings. You will get access to the well-hidden masterpieces of The Conversion of Saul and The Crucifixion of St. Peter in the ancient church of Santa Maria del Popolo. Take an umbrella, because then you will head to Palazzo Barberini, Sant’Agostino, and San Luigi dei Francesi. While the rain pours, get into the inky imagination of Caravaggio and learn about the dark fantasies that inspired these masterpieces of martyrdoms, executions, and assassinations.
Time to Eat
Without a doubt, your group tours of Rome will have your stomach rumbling. And lets be honest, what better way is there to pass a rainy day than sharing good food with good company? Usually, Italian’s avoid huge supermarkets in favor of buying their cheese from the cheese producer, their meat from the butcher, their bread from the bakery and their vegetables from the neighborhood veg stand. I definitely recommend trying all the above, but on a rainy day this may be difficult and soggy. Luckily, there is Eataly. Eataly resides in an old train terminal that has been transformed into a high-class supermarket dedicated to local ingredients and true Italian recipes. Inside you will find four floors of food heaven. They have a book store, meat shop, cheese stand, vegetable section, fish market, cantina… the list goes on and I won’t spoil it all for you. The restaurants are located on the upper floors and are also superb. Try a fresh baked piadina, fried or grilled fish, local beef, real pizza from Napoli, and scrumptious panini on home-baked bread. Eataly is also a great place to do souvenir shopping! You can (and I have) spend hours wandering the aisles, sipping prosecco, sampling Italian chocolate, and eating delicious Venchi gelato. And it’s all in one place!
If you happen to catch a sunny day, which is likely, try a historical food tour in Testaccio. Testaccio is the culinary heart of Rome, home to Rome’s only Pyramid, and the final resting place of famous romantic poets Shelley and Keats. You could try to find the best spots in Rome on your own, but why not leave it to the experts? Let the experienced guides lead you on a gastronomical adventure to the best carbonara, cornetto, polpette, cacio pepe, gelato and espresso that Rome has to offer. So what are you waiting for? Stop reading this blog and get out there in the rain! Whether it’s underground or indoors, Rome has always got something to offer.
- Challis Popkey -