Want to know what to wear in Rome in December? Winter firmly starts in December in Rome and as you would expect the temperatures plunge. In this guide we tell you everything to pack for Rome in December for sightseeing, the weather, Christmas, dress codes, dinner and more.
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Weather in Rome in December
December marks the beginning of Winter in Rome and temperatures and conditions have definitely started to get cool. But how cold is Rome in December?
Is it cold in Rome in December?
The average temperatures in Rome in December range from 4°C/39.2F – 13°C/55.4F . Therefore it is worth having layers and a jacket with you if you are visiting Rome in this month even though you are unlikely to experience freezing temperatures.
Does it rain a lot in December in Rome?
Overall you can expect on average 8 days of rain in Rome in December. When I travel to Rome in Winter I always travel with a comapct travel umbrella just in case as well as having a coat with some water resistance.
Note: remember that the weather between months in Rome can change quite drastically particularly at this time of year. For this reason if your trip spans two months be sure to check out our other monthly guides:
Does it snow in Rome in December?
Yes you can in fact get snow in Rome in December. However it is not all that common occurrence. So don’t be expecting a white Christmas.
The Snow in Rome in December is usually mixed in with rain as sleet, and very rarely settles on the ground in December.
But it is worth packing lots of light layers to be prepared for cold temperatures and the rare sighting of snow.
And if you are traveling to other regions of Italy be sure to check out our other seasonal specific Italy packing lists:
- What to wear in Florence in Winter
- What to wear in Italy in December
- What to wear in Milan in Winter
- What to wear to Venice in Winter
- What to wear to Pompeii
- What to wear in Naples
- What to wear to the Amalfi Coast
- What to wear in Puglia
- What to wear in Cinque Terre
- What to wear in Lake Como
- What to wear in Positano
Note: although the weather in this guide are historical averages however we advise always checking the weather at your destination 7 days in advance in case of anomalies such as cold snaps and heat waves.
How do Locals Dress in Rome In December
In December you will find that the local Romans have fully transitioned into their Winter Capsule Wardrobes.
Now Romans are always stylish no matter what month you visit, but I think this is especially true in Winter. The locals in Rome in December tend to wear plenty of layers, smart casual attire and are always prepared for the rain.
Romans tend to stick a monochrome color palette pr neutral tones in their winter wardrobes so expect to see lots of black, white and camel colors on the street at this time of year.
What to Wear in Rome in December
Note: This Rome in December packing list covers the city of Rome generally. However if you would like site specific dress code guidance check out the below posts:
- Your Colosseum Dress Code Questions Answered
- Your Pantheon Dress Code Questions Answered
- Your Vatican Dress Code Questions Answered
Tip: Want to skip queues in Rome? we recommend buying your Rome attraction tickets in advance with skip the line access for some of the most popular attractions such as the Vatican, Colosseum, the Forum and Villa Borghese to name but a few.
Best Shoes for Rome in December
No matter the time of year you are traveling, it is really important that you have comfortable shoes for Rome. That is because Rome is a city best seen on foot.
Whenever I travel I rack up over 20,000 steps a day and this is often over challenging terrains. For instance Rome is full of cobblestone streets, stairs and generally uneven surfaces. This is especially true if you plan on going on a tour of the Roman Forum or the Colosseum.
Therefore the best shoes for Rome in our opinion are:
In my opinion ankle boots are the best shoes for Rome in Winter. I find a smarter shoe such as an ankle boot more appropriate for dinners in Rome than a sneaker.
I like an ankle boot that is water proof and also has a thick heel and good sole that will work on Rome’s uneven streets.
Thin heeled shoes generally are on my what not to wear in Rome list. This is because Rome has lots of cobbled streets and uneven walkways. Therefore thin heels are dangerous so should be replaced with thick heels. A boot without a high heel is also suitable for wearing for sightseeing during the day in the Eternal City.
And although you could go for a longer length boot, these are more difficult to pack and take up room in your suitcase.
But whatever style of boots you decide to pack be sure to check. out our guide on how to pack boots in a suitcase.
On top of ankle boots, I would also pack sneakers for Rome even in Winter. Whenever I go to Rome whatever time of year my number one go to shoe is a sneaker as they cope well with the terrain.
My favorite sneaker brands for travel are Hoka and AllBirds for Rome in December. However you also can’t go wrong with a white sneaker such as the Addidas Cloud Foam brand. Not only are these one of the most comfortable sneakers around but they are also super versatile.
What to wear in Rome in December for Women
So now you know what to expect from the weather, what should you wear in Rome in Winter?
But before we get onto the specifics of what to wear in Rome in Winter for women and men, we wanted to reiterate that we think it is a great idea to pack a capsule wardrobe.
It means you are less likely to lose your luggage when traveling and prevents you from overpacking. For help in packing a capsule wardrobe check out these posts:
So what does a Rome Winter Packing List look like for women? In our opinion you should have the below on your list:
A coat is an essential for any Rome Winter packing list. A puffer type coat is a great shout for Rome in Winter or even a parka as this can cope with all types of Roman weather.
Wool Hat or Beanie, scarves and gloves
Winter accessories are a must for Italy in December.
I would also recommend taking with you a matching scarf and gloves set that match your winter coat to finish off the look.
Also it is worthwhile taking with you t gloves that are touch screen compatible. You are likely to be taking lots of photographs in Rome, and you don’t want to have to take off your gloves every time you need to use your phone.
Trousers are my go to bottom layer for Rome in December even over skirts and dresses as they cope with Rome’s changeable weather best.
Jeans are perfect for sightseeing during the day in Rome for museums, restaurants, the Vatican and more. I would recommend picking smarter jeans such as black jeans or dark blue jeans that are more fitted or skinny jeans to be more in keeping with local style.
On top of jeans we recommend also packing some smarter trousers. We love a black pant for anywhere in Italy (we love the Athleta Brooklyn ankle pant for travel) but other great trouser choices for December include a thick wool pant or even some cords.
Also I like to include darker colors in my Rome winter capsule wardrobe as this fits in with local styles.
Short skirts and dresses are not appropriate in churches and not really in keeping with the local style. Therefore we recommend packing midi and maxi length items for Winter.
I love a Winter dress for going out for dinner in Rome but due to the temperatures I recommend sticking to sweater dresses / jumper dresses paired with thick tights.
A blouse works for the cooler days and nights and paired with a cardigan for dinner.
T shirts are a great base layer for Rome in December. For this time of year I would pack a mix of both long and short sleeve t shirts, however you will need more longer sleeve tops generally at this time of year.
And regarding the style of t shirt, black is always in fashion in Rome, and you will also a lot of neutral colors in many Italian capsule wardrobes at this time of year. If you want to look like a local I would steer away from neon colors and anything with large graphics or slogans.
Jumpers are the main staple of Italian wardrobe in Winter for both day and night wear. Something plainer is more suitable in the day but you can do something sparkly or glittery for a jumper at night.
I personally never travel in Winter without a merino wool sweater. Merino wool is one of my favorite fabrics to include in a Winter capsule wardrobe. That is because it provides extra warmth as they are an insulating fabric but is also compact unlike a thick knit. Therefore it is easy to pack and doesn’t take up a lot of space in your case and helps reduce overpacking.
And if you are looking for what to wear in December specifically you may want to add a festive jumper, or at least a jumper with a bit of sparkle for a more festive feel.
A smart cardigan is a great top layer for dining in Italy. I usually pair a smart cardigan with a t shirt or blouse in Winter.
Hoodies are a great addition to the packing list for sightseeing during the day, though I would avoid wearing them at night.
It doesn’t matter where I am traveling, a pashmina is always on my packing list and Rome is no different. A pashmina for Rome can act as a scarf or double up as an added extra layer.
Personally I always pack heavier weight pjs and loungewear for Rome in December.
Goes without saying. Goes without saying. I like to pack merino wool socks for Winter travel. They are thinner than hiking socks but are insulating so are good for cold weather.
What to pack for Rome in December for Men
So now you know what to pack for women in Rome in December, we will turn our attention to a men’s packing list. Alongside our regular men’s travel essentials we recommend adding the following items to your men’s packing list for Rome in Winter:
For men visiting Rome in December I recommend having a couple of pairs of smarter jeans and chinos or dockers.
If you have a smarter tailored pair of jeans or chinos this will be the perfect day to night transition item.
But heavier weight trousers such as a corduroy or wool are also good for December.
During the day t-shirts are fine but I recommend having at least one button down shirt with you for Rome in December at night.
The Rome dress code at night tends to be more smart casual than casual so you will feel more comfortable when out in a shirt over a tshirt.
However if shirts aren’t your thing then be sure to pack a smart polo on top.
T Shirts are fine for sightseeing in Rome during the day and work as a base layer in your Italian capsule wardrobe. However I recommend making them the plain type instead of highly graphic or slogan t shirts.
For this time of year, be sure to have some long sleeve tees with you.
A coat is a good idea for Rome in December as a top layer as the weather turns chillier.
For Winter you will want lots of light layers such as sweaters or cardigans with you as the weather starts to cool.
Goes without saying.
What to Pack for Rome in December (Non Clothing)
So now you know what to wear for Rome in December including the best shoes to pack, we will turn our attention to what to pack for Rome in December other than clothes.
Our essentials to pack for Rome in December are:
- Documentation – i.e. including but not limited to Passports, travel insurance, prescriptionsm visas etc.
- Backpack – for storing items on your day trips.
- Crossbody Bag – anti theft type as with any city it can have issues with pickpockets around main tourist attractions.
- Compact Travel umbrella – useful to keep in your bag should you get a rainy day.
- Sun Screen – an essential for all travel packing list even in Winter.
- Lipbalm with SPF – Our favorite brand at the minute is sun bum and is good to combat the cold air effects on your lips.
- Reusable Water Bottle – There are water fountains all around the city where you can refill your water bottle. This will save you money and is better for the environment so be sure to pack one with you.
- Charging Equipment
- Power pack / Battery Pack
- Travel Adapaters for electronics – Italy uses standard European outputs and plugs.
- Toiletries – depending on space in your case you could buy these on arrival or pack and take with you. For a full toiletries packing list check out this post.
- Travel First Aid Kit
- Blister plasters
How to Dress for Special Events in Rome in December
Christmas is obviously the main special event in Rome in December. There are many Christmas related events such as the lighting of the Christmas tree in St Peters Square, and the Christmas Fair in Piazza Navone.
The main thing to consider about Christmas events in Rome is that most are outside so it is important to pack layers and for rain etc.
Other than that Rome also celebrates the Immaculate Conception, or Immacolata on December 8th. There are no special dress code requirements for this however you may find that many shops are shut on this day in the city.
Rome Winter Packing List Checklist
So just to recap here is our complete list of what to add to your Rome Winter Packing List
- Waterproof and Wind resistant Coat or jacket
- Scarf, Gloves, Hat
- T shirts
- Thicker weight trousers such as jeans, wool trousers or corduroy trousers.
- Merino Wool Thermal socks
- Layers such as sweaters, fleeces, jumpers and hoodies
- Dresses / Skirts
- Warm Nightwear
- Ankle Boots
- Medication and Documentation
- Back Pack
- Travel Adaptor
- Battery Pack
- Travel first aid kit including blister plasters
- Lip Balm
FAQs about December Rome Packing List
Do you need a coat in Rome in December?
Yes a jacket or thick coat is absolutely an essential for Winter in Rome.
Can you wear jeans in Rome in December?
As the weather has cooled, jeans have become the perfect trouser for Rome for Winter. I tend to stick with darker colored jeans that are more tailored or skinny fit as these are more in keeping with local fashion styles.
What would you add to this Rome in December Packing List?