In this episode, we’re making memories during rainy days in Rome, Italy.
If you’re lucky, you won’t have any rain put a damper on your trip to Italy…but sometimes, especially when traveling during the shoulder seasons like April, May, October or November, you might have to plan your days around some rain.More information on the amazing places mentioned today (including Museum information, hours and how to get there) plus a bonus feature segment are available on the official A Road Retraveled Travel App.
In Rome it’s important to keep your schedule flexible, and be accommodating to any unexpected changes that would require a plan B. Some plans can’t be changed, such as pre-booked visits to the Vatican Museums in Rome or the Uffizzi Museum in Florence. Of course if Mother Nature would like to be kind to you, she’d make it rain only on the days you’ve booked your Museum visits because THOSE are the best rainy days to have!
Museums are the best places to spend your rainy days at, and with Italy having 60% of the world’s greatest art and hundreds of museums , you’ll never run out of interesting museums to visit, rain or shine!
Rome itself has approximately 50 museums, and Florence around 35.
Some of the most popular museums in Rome are the Vatican Museums that includes multiple museums. While visiting the Vatican Museums, you will also have access to the Sistine Chapel and then to St Peter’s Basilica.
For more on the Vatican Museums, watch the following A Road Retraveled episode on these fascinating museums:
Vatican Museums comprehensive tour: PART 1
Vatican Museums comprehensive tour: PART 2
The Capitoline Museum is pretty fascinating with amazing ancient artifacts, like the original bronze Equestrian of Emperor Aurelius (a copy can be admired in the square outisde the museum) and big Emperor Constantine body parts. Plus you get a great view of the Forum while you’re at it.
The National Museum of Rome features mostly ancient mosaics and sculptures like the famous Apollo, the Discus Man, Emperor Augustus...and Hermaphrodite. And with the museum being right next to the Termini Station, so it’s easy access.
The Borghese Gallery is one of the most famous museums in Rome, and it requires prior reservation…no walk-ins what-so-ever. But this museum is great to visit even when nice weather because of the magnificent Borghese gardens surrounding it.
Rome’s hundreds of churches are perfect for Rainy Days!
Not exactly museums, but museum-like in the quantity and quality of centuries’ old art and architecture are Italy’s churches. With about as many churches in Italy as Starbucks in the US, there’s literally a church on every street corner. Rome itself has more than 900 churches!!
You could spend your rainy day church hopping. There’s Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the four papal basilicas in Rome where you can also find the burrial tomb of Bernini himself.
Santa Maria degli Angeli e Martiri inside the Baths of Diocletian that also features an impressive 17th century Sun Dial.
Saint Peter in Chains showcases Michelangelo’s famous Moses with horns that was meant to be for the tomb of Pope Julius II, and a reliquary containing the chains of St. Peter.
Santa Maria del Popolo with it’s impressive Chigi Chapel designed by Bernini, and in the back the Cerasi Chapel displaying two Caravaggio masterpieces.
Santa Maria della Vittoria with St Theresa in Ecstasy, also a Bernini masterpice – and both churches were also featured in the Angels and Demons novel and movie.
Or you can spend most of your day visiting the largest Church in Christendom - St Peter’s Basilica! IT itself is an incredible museum with masterpieces from the greatest Renaissance artists, AND the religious center, all in one.
Another fun rainy-day activity in Italy is shopping!! For example, I LOVE via del Corso in Rome. It runs from Piazza del Popolo all the way to Piazza Venezia. This famous 2 mile long street is lined with shops for all budgets, churches, restaurants, cafes, more shops….
Off of Via del Corso is where the fashion royalty resides: Via dei Condotti. Here you can practice your Italian: Ferragamo, Gucci, Armani, Fendi, Prada, Dolce e Gabana, Valentino, Bulgari. Here, I can only afford to window shop…as a mere handbag can set you off your entire trip’s budget!
But if you REALLY want to splurge on something delightful, I suggest a stop at the famous Antico Caffe Grecco. You can relax in this elegant cafe reminiscent of the era it was established, 1760… and practice more Italian: espresso, cappucino, cannoli…. and not just any ol’ cannoli, but undoubtedly the BEST cannoli in the world. And if you came here, say, roughly 2 centuries ago, you could’ve rubbed elbows with luminaries like Goethe (goothe), Lord Byron, Liszt and Keats….and I’m not sure if they came here for the coffee, or the cannoli.
And in case you catch a break from the rain, nearby is the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, and even the Pantheon.
The Pantheon is just as much fun to visit when it’s raining out because you get to see something that’s only possible to see when it’s raining! The rain falls through the open occulus of the dome onto the marble floor where it flows into a drainage system beneath the floors.
Next time you’re in Italy, a rainy day doesn’t have to be a wash-out… you can have a fantastic time both indoors and outdoors, rain or shine!