Filling your vacation days in Rome is an effortless task, but why cut the adventure short when you can easily figure out what to do in Rome at night! Even if you aren’t a night owl, the unique perspective offered after sundown is well worth the extra coffee you’ll need in the morning.
Whether you are trying to maximize your time on a shorter trip or you want to experience everything this city has to offer, figuring out what to do in Rome at night will help you not only see more sights, but also enjoy those sights with a new perspective and at far less crowded times! Planning and researching ahead of time will allow you to maximize your time and see even more of the gems this ancient city has to offer!
And bonus: Rome looks simply marvelous at night!
What to do in Rome at Night
Take a night tour of the Colosseum
The Colosseum is one of the top ten places to see in Rome, but not many realize that you can also enjoy this spectacular ancient site at night as well! When planning what to do in Rome at night, a Colosseum tour is something to consider.
During the day, this iconic arena can be crowded and feel overwhelmed by tourists, with wait times of hours being the norm, especially during peak seasons. The tickets for these special night tours often include guides and access to the underground areas of the Colosseum.
After the tour throughout the lower levels, you will get a chance to stand within the arena under the soft glow of the starlight above and admire the breathtaking architecture, highlighted by dramatic lighting to accentuate the unique levels, arches and columns of this iconic Roman structure.
Another bonus to visiting at night in addition to the slimmer crowds is that you can escape the sometimes brutal heat that is found during the peak summer months. Compared to baking in the sun while standing in line during the day, a night tour of the Colosseum is perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences to be had in Rome after sundown.
Read More: One Day in Rome
Toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain without the crowds
Another one of Rome’s top attractions is another excellent thing to add to the list when planning what to do in Rome at night. By day, this spectacular Baroque fountain draws visitors by the hundreds, each one jostling for the chance to toss a coin into the basin.
Rumor has it that doing so means you will return to Rome again in your lifetime, so travelers near and far who have fallen in love with Rome’s charm and appeal elbow to the front of the crowd to toss in their coins. All the crowding and pushing can make for a less than ideal vacation memory.
A better option is to venture there later at night. Theatrically lit and far less crowded, the magic of Trevi Fountain will be much more breathtaking when you aren’t fighting for a foothold to get close enough to toss your coin. While most people are enjoying a late dinner or recuperating after an action packed day of visiting Rome attractions, the area will be much quieter.
You’ll be able to stroll the square in a relaxed fashion, enjoying the remarkable architecture that surrounds you and stopping for your own cinematic scene with the fabled fountain!
Enjoy dinner in true Roman fashion
Many American tourists visiting Europe are usually surprised by the dinner hour, but as the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do! It might take some getting used to at first, but the Roman style of dinner out is probably one of the top things to consider when planning what to do in Rome at night.
Dinner typically doesn’t start until at least 9 pm and often lasts for hours. You can spend a whole night just enjoying the slower pace and multiple courses offered at many restaurants in the city. There is no better way to spend the evening than to embrace this leisurely pace. Sit back, relax and savor each morsel, from the very first appetizer to the last bite of dessert.
Most often, the waiter or chef will have specific wines to suggest for each course, ensuring the perfect pairing of flavors for each stage of the meal. For this reason, the courses themselves are often spaced out to allow time to finish your wine and relax between plates. At the end of the meal, enjoy a fine Italian espresso over dessert for the perfect pick me up after a marathon dining experience.
If you wish to enjoy an authentic Roman dinner experience, you’ll want to plan and call ahead for reservations. Dinners often stretch well into the night and a second seating is generally not available at most restaurants, so it is likely you’ll be turned away if the restaurant is full at 8 or 9 pm.
Opt for a Food Tour if you want to explore more
When deciding what to do in Rome at night, you might want to opt for a food tour instead of one marathon meal. While the traditional Roman dining experience is worth having at least once, a food tour will give you the opportunity to explore a whole neighborhood without having to commit to just one restaurant. You’ll have just as many courses, if not more, as a traditional sit down meal, but you’ll enjoy them at multiple different venues, allowing you to truly explore the ins and outs of a specific neighborhood.
There are dozens of neighborhoods to choose from, but the most popular one tends to be Trastevere. This location often tops the lists of those planning what to do in Rome at night because of the vibrant and lively bar and restaurant scene that comes to life after the sun sets. This makes for a perfect night out on the town with double the bang for your buck.
The lively nightlife paired with the delicious flavors offered by the various restaurants along the route will give you an up close and personal experience with this hip section of Rome.
Head into the Catacombs for a spooky night tour
If ghosts and ghouls are more your style, one of the best things you can do when planning what to do in Rome at night is a haunted ghost tour of the ominous Catacombs. Between the catacombs of Santa Priscilla and the spooky Capuchin Crypt ossuary, this haunted tour of Rome’s underground is made even more thrilling by the darkness that nightfall brings with it.
Damp earth, long shadows and the haunting vision of crypts, bones and underground catacombs results in not only a once in a lifetime experience but also a spine-tingling one! For the faint of heart, you can also tour the Catacombs by day, but for a quieter and more exhilarating experience, the haunted tales of death over the centuries of Rome’s history make for a truly unique adventure that you won’t find anywhere else.
Extend the ghost tour throughout Rome’s storied streets
If you can’t get enough of the creepy crawling spooky stories, another excellent option of what to do in Rome at night is to take a guided ghost tour of the darker side of Rome’s history. As you navigate the dark, winding streets and alleyways, savvy (and sometimes theatrical) tour guides will regale you with dark tales of the often overlooked aspects of this city’s past.
Rumors of hauntings accented by factual accounts of the darker history of the city combine to create a spine-chilling experience for visitors. Touring the city by dark of night adds to the intrigue of the ghost stories and brutal history that is often overlooked by tour guides during the day. Listen to the quieter night streets echoing the tales of hauntings from centuries and millennia ago and perhaps you’ll realize that the weight of history carries with it something darker!
Live the luxury life at the Teatro dell’Opera
If you’d rather avoid so much dark and spooky lore, perhaps a night at the opera is a better choice! If you’d like a taste of the luxury life, a visit to the Teatro dell’Opera would be a perfect addition to your itinerary of what to do in Rome at night.
This famous opera house first opened in the late 1800s and went through various renovations and re-imaginings before becoming what it is today. Even if you don’t speak Italian, the performances by the award-winning performers transcend all language barriers! You will find more locals and connoisseurs at the Opera than tourists and travelers, so spending an evening at the opera will give you a truly authentic and memorable experience.
Plus, who wouldn’t love an opportunity to dress to the nines and enjoy an opulent evening at the renowned Teatro dell’Opera!
Be sure to get the password for one of Rome’s many speakeasies
One unique and perhaps surprising option for what to do in Rome at night is a visit to one of the many speakeasies found throughout the city! You’ll need a reservation…and the password, to get in the unremarkable front door to these establishments but once you are in, you will be transported to another time! In keeping with the theme of the speakeasy, you’ll find decor, cocktails and snacks reminiscent of the roaring twenties, as well as music to dance the night away!
The trend started in Italy around 2010 and in the decade since, the trend has taken off in popularity! You’ll find a younger, livelier crowd and the appeal of a secret bar and underground drinking scene adds an exhilarating touch to a night out on the town! Each of these venues take mixology very seriously, crafting authentic cocktails using 19th and 20th century recipes.
Additionally, the speakeasy bars have re-imagined the classics and crafted new, cutting edge signature cocktails to stay ahead of the competition. For a truly unique experience, be sure to book ahead of time so you can slip into one of these intimate and seductive establishments for a memorable night in Rome!
During the summer, visit the Lungo il Teverre
If you happen to be visiting Rome during the summer months, you’ll have no shortage of options when planning what to do in Rome at night! Every summer since 2003, the banks of the Tiber River that runs through the city become a sprawling venue of art and culture every evening! The festivities don’t usually start until after 5 pm, making it an obvious choice for night time activities.
You’ll find musical performances along (and sometimes even on) the river, from bands, musicians and even opera singers! Artists set up booths and tents along the waterfront to sell their one of a kind works of art and dancers and performers keep a hearty schedule of events among the food tents, drink stalls and snack carts that fill the streets along the river.
In addition to the arts and culture all along the river, nearby theaters, both traditional and open-air, show films and movies all summer long. You’ll find independent films, documentaries, short films and even big name box office hits in their original language, so you won’t always have to worry about a language barrier!
With such an action packed calendar of events, you’ll be overwhelmed with options for planning what to do in Rome at night if you’re traveling any time in June, July or August!
Visit the Spanish Steps
While the Spanish Steps used to be overcrowded until it became illegal to sit or rest on them, they still look amazing at night all it up by the surrounding light. Come at sunset for an extra twinkle!
Visit the Vatican
While the inside of the Vatican is said to be open on the inside (with limited tickets) on Friday’s from April to October. You are still free to stroll the streets and take in the sites.
Quick list of tours:
Tips for touring Rome by night
- Like with any city, be extra careful where you wander into.
- Keep your belongings on the front of you to help keep away pickpockets.
- Keep eye of the metro times – although the buses run 24 hours.
- Uber is readily available if you need one.
- Have cash on you just in case you need to make a purchase or hail a cab.
- Let your hotel and/or someone else know where you are going as a safety measure.
- Make sure to have plenty of battery on your phone so you can call or use the WiFi if you get lost.
Rome, the Eternal City with a history stretching back thousands of years, is a remarkable and jam-packed vacation destination that offers hundreds of options for things to do. In order to truly maximize your time and attempt to see everything this city has to offer, you’ll have to research ahead of time and decide what to do in Rome at night. Whether you prefer the serenity of the quiet streets under the cover of darkness or you’re looking for a lively and entertaining nightlife experience, you’ll find so many different options to fill the hours at the sun sets!
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