5 top tips to beat the heat in Rome

Romans traditionally take their holidays during the entire month of August, escaping the city’s heat and heading for the mountains or seaside. While it may seem that many local shops and restaurants are closed and the tourist sites are oppressively hot, Rome never ceases to provide its patrons with things to do. Here are our top abiding suggestions for staying cool in the eternal city.

Rome View

1. Visit a modern day Natatorium

Even the ancient Romans harked back to older Greek traditions and attended swimming pools in large thermal bath complexes to beat the heat. While not every hotel accommodation has a private swimming pool due mainly to archeological remains, there are a few options for outdoor poolside relaxation or lap swimming around the historic centre. One great option is atop of Janiculum Hill at Grand Hotel del Gianicolo.

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The hill is famous for one of the city’s best views and most spectacular Baroque fountains. While it is tempting to take a dip directly in the Fontanone masterpiece, the hotel pool is just around the corner. Another great pool option is located just outside Villa Borghese at Aldrovrandi Residence City Suites. Located in a quiet and aromatic garden connected to the 20th century luxury hotel, the pool is shaded among Mediterranean pines and palm trees.

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2. Get out of town

If you’ve had enough of sweating among roman ruins and finding shelter in Baroque churches, Go Seek Adventures offers great opportunities to get out of town as the Romans do. One of the most popular beach destinations for Romans is the island of Ponza located just 34 km from mainland shore. The full day excursion offers boat rides around the archipelago of the crystal Pontine islands with opportunities to swim in the clear grottoes and natural swimming pools of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Enjoy the beach and eat pasta aboard the yacht and feel like a local.

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3. Get underground

While Rome’s temperatures can skyrocket in the Summer, the city’s underground historic sites maintain a steady 65 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. The most iconic place to tour underground are the ancient Christian burial places on the Appian Way. Some catacombs extend for 12 miles underground and are built on 3 levels dating from the 2rd-5th centuries. An excursion to the Appian Way affords the opportunity to see Rome’s oldest road dating back to the 4th century, and ruins of ancient aqueducts and monumental tombs. The Basilica of San Clemente, located just a block from the Coliseum is another ideal underground tour and a great escape from the dust bowl of the Roman Forum. The medieval basilica is built on top of 3 buildings spanning nearly two millennium and extending for almost 80 feet underground. Another recently excavated site located in Piazza Venezia, called Palazzo Valentini, offers guided tours of a magnificent ancient Roman bath complex and WWII bunker underneath a Renaissance cardinal’s palace. A great way not only to escape the heat, but to understand Rome’s complex historical layers, literally.

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4. Extraordinary nighttime tours

There is nothing more romantic than touring Rome under the moonlight. Some of Rome’s most famous sites, as well as some not normally open to the public, have extraordinary nighttime Summer opening hours. Throughout the month of August the mausoleum and fortress of Castel San’t Angelo is open for guided tours from 9pm to midnight, offering starlit views over the city’s ancient bridges and Tiber river and candlelit passages through tunnels, prisons and Papal apartments. The tour offers the exceptional opportunity to walk in famous footsteps along the passeto di borgo, an elevated Medieval passage linking the Castel to the Vatican where the Swiss guards would bravely defend the Pope. The Vatican Museums also offers nighttime tours of the Sistine Chapel which is a great opportunity not only to beat the heat but also the crowds. Lastly, the Viaggi nei Fori combines history and technology to bring Ancient Rome to life. Throughout the Summer from 9pm to midnight, tours of the Forums of Augustus and Caesar are available upon request, enhanced by cinematic multimedia reconstructions.

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5. Tiber Island Summer festival

The little Tiber island in front of Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood has a big history as a centre for commercial activity and social life. Once functioning as Rome’s river port, the riverbanks at the bottom of the island nowadays are accessible in the Summer months to enjoy dining among a cool river breeze under the city’s oldest ancient bridges. The Summer festival along the Tiber’s riverbanks is a popular scene for restaurants, bars, outdoor cinema and live music. While it may seem that much of the historic centre of Rome shuts down in the month of August, the Tiber festival is thriving.

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Greg Grant is Owner of Hosted Villas.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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