How to beat the heat In Rome

Blazing temperatures can make Rome sightseeing a challenge

While the temperatures soar, sightseeing in Rome can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you keep cool on even the hottest of Roman afternoons so that you can still enjoy visiting Rome in the summer.

Beaches and pools are certainly not on the list of top attractions in Rome. However, as a major European summer destination, it is understandable that eventually one can be driven to extreme measures to find a way to cool off somehow as noontime temperatures surpass 40 degrees on a regular basis.

How one accomplishes this is the issue at hand, whether at one of the nearby beaches, lakes, pools, or even with one’s head under the flow of cool fresh water pumping through one of Rome's many fountains.

There is no need to travel far from Rome to reach a decent beach. The closest is located near Fiumicino Leonardo Da Vinci Airport in the town of Ostia. Trains leave Rome from the Piramide metro station about every ten minutes, reaching the Ostia railway station in about 30 minutes. The ride is quick, and if you happen to go after schools have let out for the summer it can be quite amusing. Summer vacation means teen couples are let loose on the city and its coastline. Do not be surprised if they spend most of the ride giving shocking displays of public affection, most often involving some serious and possibly painful liplock action. However, if you bring an iPod and/ or a good book and are on the train early enough to score a seat, consider life good. From the station, you really only have to cross the road to get to the beaches.

Many of the Ostia beaches are occupied by “stabilimenti” or private beach clubs. Access to the clubs, along with a beach chair and an umbrella usually costs between 10 and 15 euro per person. If you continue walking towards the end of the beach, part of the shoreline is set aside as “spiaggia libera” or public beach, where there is no cost to enter, sunbathe, or swim. Most of the beach clubs are modern and well attended to, with bathrooms, showers, cabanas, bars, cafes, and even little beach boutiques where they have a variety of swimsuits, tanning products, beach accessories, and more. Rest assured though, whatever you don't find at the shops will inevitably make its way to your beach blanket as about 300 competing mobile vendors approach you while you attempt to sun your buns. It is customary, and expected of you to bargain with them.

If a tight schedule of Rome Tours and sightseeing allows neither the time nor the energy to haul yourself out to the beach, you needn't worry. Rome now boasts several swimming pools which offer a quick respite from the blazing heat. The nicest of these pools belong a few of the 4 and 5 star hotels in Rome. One that stands out from the rest is that of the Radisson SAS hotel. This large pool sits atop the hotel by the rooftop restaurant and lounge with a view over Termini Station (not overly picturesque, but honestly the pool more than compensates for the view of the train tracks). The pool is large, and beside it there is a mini version for children, with a wide wooden floor and sunbathing space dividing the two. The pools are not heated, which means that the temperature is usually refreshingly cool, and it is best to just jump in, no inching in bit by bit!

Non-hotel guests may use the pool for a fee of 40 Euros per person.

This year, a lovely new public pool was inaugurated by the city of Rome just behind the Colosseum. As part of a summer entertainment series known as "All'Ombra del Colosseo" (Under the shadow of the Colosseum), a series of concerts, jazz festivals, art exhibits, and of course the pool were devised and offered to the public. The main entrance to this pool is on Via di San Gregorio, just across the street from the Palatine Hill entrance. Cooling off at this city oasis will cost you 7 Euro per person per half day, 10 Euro per person per full day (10 and 13 on the weekends).

Published on September 2nd, 2009
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