An old Roman saying states that Roma, non basta una vita per scoprirla, that is, "One life is not enough to discover Rome. That said, visitors should select very carefully what they want to see in order to make the most of their time in the city.
Those fortunate enough to travel in the month of June will enjoy a climate that is not yet too hot, perfect for strolling through every corner of the Italian capital. In addition, the days are getting longer and the Romans take to the streets to enjoy the activities that mark these dates. Among the best known are the celebration of the Day of the Republic, the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul and the great festival of the Estate Romana.
1. Visit the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran at the Festa di San Giovanni
Although it lost importance for a few years, the celebration of the Feast of St. John, on June 24, in the vicinity of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, is now being revived. During that day, the neighborhood receives a large crowd of visitors who taste specialties such as porchetta or snails. Later, when night falls, the square is illuminated with torches, concerts are held and fireworks are launched.
In the beginning, this festival was one of the main celebrations in Rome and began during the so-called "night of the witches", from the 23rd to the 24th. According to legend, when darkness came, the witches went out into the streets to try to capture souls.
All the Romans also went out into the streets, with lanterns and torches, and went to the Basilica of St. John Lateran. There they prayed to the saint and ate snails in the inns. During those hours, the whole of Rome would explode in the noise of drums, firecrackers or bells with the intention of frightening the witches.
2. Discover St. Peter's Basilica on St. Peter and St. Paul's Day
On the religious side, special masses are celebrated on this day at the impressive St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and at the no less interesting San Paolo Fuori Le Mura. The first of these masses is open to the public, although it is advisable to book in advance. In case you can't find a ticket, you can always watch the ceremony on the screen in St. Peter's Square.
These masses are not the only events that take place during that day. Possibly the most spectacular is the fireworks display that takes place during the night. The very history of these fireworks deserves a separate mention: they were created by Michelangelo and, in their early years, took place in Castel Sant'Angelo. Their fame grew to the point that visitors from all over Europe came to Rome to watch them. **The best place to watch the fireworks is the Piazza del Popolo.
On the other hand, it is quite common for Romans to take advantage of this day to go on a short excursion. Here are some of the most interesting excursions in Rome in case you want to imitate the locals.
3. See the Colosseum at the All'Ombra del Colosseo Festival
The combination of one of the most famous and admired monuments in the world with evening entertainment is something that few can resist. So, every summer, Rome offers the possibility to enjoy its nights at the All'Ombra del Colosseo festival.
The festival takes place between June and September, in the middle of the Roman summer. On those summer nights, visitors and locals can find all kinds of activities: restaurants, comedy shows, access to rooftop pools, bars, etc. In total, All'Ombra del Colosseo offers around 950 performances, while Italian gastronomy, both traditional and modern, can be enjoyed.
However, what really sets All'Ombra del Colosseo apart is the place where it is held: right next to the Colosseum. This wonderful setting puts the finishing touch to all the activities that take place there. If after seeing these shows you are convinced that you must enter the Colosseum to see its interior, I remind you that it is best to buy your tickets in advance.
4. Stroll through the gardens of Villa Borghese in the best time of year
Rome is well known for its classical and Renaissance heritage. Almost everyone associates the city with its churches, fountains, Roman remains or squares, but the city also has beautiful gardens to stroll through, like these that you can see in this article on the best parks in Rome.
Without a doubt, the month of June is one of the best months to get lost in its spectacular gardens, such as those of the Villa Borghese. Here you will find a small zoo, a lake, a children's play area and, of course, the famous Borghese Gallery. Another interesting place for those looking for a quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of Rome is the Botanical Garden of Rome, located in Trastevere.
June is also the month when the fantastic Rose Garden, located on the Aventine Hill, is at its best. Not only will you enjoy the roses and tranquility, but also breathtaking views of Rome's palaces.
5. Be dazzled by Rome by night with a tour
The Romans, like many Mediterranean peoples, try to avoid the heat of the day and concentrate much of their leisure time at night. For this reason, June is the ideal month to enjoy Rome by night.
Strolling through the famous squares of Rome during the nights of June is one of the great pleasures that visitors will find in the city. In addition, some of the most important monuments, such as Castel San'Angelo or the Colosseum, open some days for night visits.
If you do not want to miss Rome by night, but you prefer to do it with a guide, there are night tours that allow you to contemplate the wonders of the Eternal City when the sun goes down.
6. Soak up the local culture at the Festa della Repubblica.
If you are in Rome on June 2nd you can witness one of the most important celebrations in the whole country: the Festa della Repubblica (Festival of the Republic). Throughout the day, multiple activities are held all over the city. The most popular is undoubtedly the great military parade that runs through some of its streets, but if you are not a fan of this type of parades you can also enjoy the cultural and gastronomic activities that take place on that date.
On the afternoon of June 2 you can access for free to the gardens of the Quirinal Palace, one of the official residences of the President of the Republic. In addition to the beauty of the gardens themselves, during the visit you can listen to music performed by various military bands.
Please note, however, that as a public holiday, banks and many museums are closed on this day. In addition, the large crowds in the Roman streets can make it difficult to find a place to eat. If you need help, here is the article with the best restaurants in Rome.
7. Discover the Corpus Domini
This feast does not have a fixed date, as it is celebrated 60 days after Easter. Catholics dedicate this day to honor the Holy Eucharist and the main masses take place in the Vatican itself. On the same day, a procession takes place from the Basilica of St. John to Santa Maria Maggiori and is led by the Pope himself.
Many cities in Italy celebrate this day by creating the so-called infiorata, a beautiful carpet of flowers. If you want to see it, just head south of the city, to the town of Genzano. One of the consequences of this holiday is the huge influx of people in the Vatican. For this reason, it may not be the best day to visit the monuments there.
For the rest of the days, remember that it is interesting to study the options offered by the Omnia Card and the Roma Pass, two Rome tourist cards that allow access to the Vatican and other monuments at reduced prices.
8. Find your cultural plan in Estate Romana
Estate Romana is Rome's major summer festival. The activities last from June to September and range from concerts to book fairs, dance performances or night openings of various museums.
All these activities are a great attraction for locals and visitors, especially during the month of June when temperatures are not yet so high. Some of the most interesting options that can be found in Rome during these dates are the following:
- The open-air concerts organized by the Teatro dell'Opera. Particularly worthwhile are those taking place at the Baths of Caracalla.
- Festival Invito alla Danza, held in Villa Massimo
- Musical evenings at Castel Sant'Angelo
- Music and drama at the Roman Theater of Ostia Antica
- The concerts at Villa Adriana
9. Choose your Lungo il tevere plan
Lungo il Tevere (Along the Tiber, in English) is another of the summer festivals held in Rome. In this case, as the name suggests, the activities take place on the banks of the river that runs through the city. Visiting this festival will delight lovers of gastronomy, handicrafts and live music. Children also have their place, as there are some games dedicated to them and other children's activities.
The activities take place on the west side of the Tiber. To reach the area where the activities take place you have to go down the stairs leading down to the shore and there is a special wheelchair access at Lungotevere Ripa.
The area of the river from Ponte Sublicio to Ponte Sisto is lined with bars, restaurants, art exhibitions and places to sell handicrafts. As if that weren't enough, from here you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city' s illuminated domes.
Joaquin's Traveller Tip
Imitate the Romans by stopping overnight at one of the kiosks selling a slushy fruit juice called pica grattacheccha.
10. Experience a movie day at Isola del Cinema
Starting in mid-June, a film festival takes place that lasts until September for about 80 nights. The screenings take place on Tiber Island, which gives the event its name.
One of the attractions of this festival is that all the films (Italian and foreign) are shown in open-air cinemas. Proof of the success of this activity are the 250,000 visitors, including tourists and locals, who attended in 2019.
This massive attendance makes it advisable to buy tickets, whose cost is about 6 euros, in advance.
Temperatures in June in Rome
The weather in Rome in June has not yet reached the high temperatures characteristic of its summer. Average highs are between 27ºC and 29ºC, while lows are in the range of 17ºC to 18ºC.
On the other hand, rains can make an appearance in the Italian capital during the month of June, as the historical average indicates that there are usually about 10 days of rainfall in the city.
The best way to be sure of the weather that awaits you on your visit to Rome is to visit this weather forecast page a few days before your departure.
What to wear when visiting Rome in June
As I have noted, it is always advisable to check the weather before you start your trip. Generally speaking, if you are traveling to Rome in June, you should bring light and cool clothes, although it never hurts to include a thin sweater or similar garment in case it gets too cold for your liking.
It is also essential that the shoes you wear are very comfortable, as Rome is an ideal city to enjoy long walks on foot.
Tourist crowds in Rome in June
For quite a few years now, the concept of high season in Rome has become very diluted. It is now common to find large numbers of visitors all year round, including the colder winter months. There is so much to discover in Rome. Even so, summer is still the time when the city receives the most tourists. The month of June is considered the beginning of that season, although without reaching the crowds more typical of July and August.
The festivals that I mentioned above make, however, that the streets of the city are also filled with Romans and Italians from other locations, so it is normal to find large crowds in the most touristy areas.
Traditionally, prices of hotels and other tourist services begin to increase in June due to high demand. Therefore, if you are planning to visit Rome during these dates, it is essential to organize your activities and book your accommodation well in advance.