With its enviable Mediterranean location, Rome enjoys plenty of sunny summer days. When the centigrade rises, all thoughts turn to the best places to soak up the rays. Luckily, there are plenty of places to enjoy the summer season while working on your abbronzatura.
We’ve collected amazing spots that are reachable from your vacation apartment or hotel. Whether you want to head to the beach, lounge by the pool, or find a sunny spot in a quiet corner of the city, here are the 10 best places to work on your tan in Rome:
Rome’s largest outdoor pool can be found in the EUR suburb south of the historic center. The pool was first built in the 1960s and still has a bit of retro charm about it. Be sure to go early to claim a lounge chair, but there should be plenty of room in the water. The Olympic-size pool was actually created for the Olympics (the XVII Olympics to be exact). The pool was donated to the city when the games were finished and it is a classic summer throwback to the dolce vita era.
The Castelli Romani hills outside of Rome have some beautiful lakes, but the largest body of water in the center of the city may very well be in the laghetto in Villa Borghese. This tiny man-made lake is ridiculously cute and is made all the more adorable by the tiny rowboats that can be rented in 15-minute intervals. For a few euros, you can paddle around the little lake and stretch out in your own private boat while you soak up the sun.
The beaches around Rome can be slightly underwhelming but it is more than worth the €3 fare to catch the train an hour north to Santa Marinella. The seaside town is known for its dining options along the ocean. Once you have finished your meal, spread out a towel on the “free” section of the sand, or opt to rent a lounge chair and an umbrella for about €10/day to really get your tan on.
With so many days of sun, Rome has plenty of savvy restaurants that move their seats outside when the weather heats up. If dining al fuori is high on the agenda, then one of the most beautiful settings to work on a tan over lunch is inside Villa Pamphili. Rome’s largest park is an easy tram trip from the center and boasts a delicious organic restaurant to boot. Find a garden table at Vivi Bistrot and soak up the sun while indulging in fresh baked cakes and muffins, as well as seasonal salads and fruit juices.
The best beaches near Rome are about an hour away, but for closer escape, you can hop aboard a regional train for a 30-minute trip to Castel Gandolfo. The hilltop town overlooks the deep blue waters of Lake Albano. Bring a towel to lounge on the small sandy beach that is a short walk downhill from the train station. The setting is so pretty that the Pope chose the area for one of his summer homes outside the city.
Leave the Colosseum to the crowds and make your way out to Parco degli Acquedotti. The park is an easy walk from the Lucio Sestio stop on Metro A but it is rarely filled with more than a handful of picnickers. The park is named for the ancient Roman aqueducts that run through the verdant green fields outside of the city center. Roll up your sleeves and relax in the sunshine next to the one-of-a-kind archeological ruins.
On the deck at Baja
Rome’s Tiber river divides the historic center from the trendy Trastevere neighborhood. Most people cross back and forth over the bridges without giving much thought to the water below. While the boat tours of the city are scarce, you can still enjoy a day out of the water with a trip to Baja. The cool restaurant and lounge is built aboard a boat that is permanently anchored on the river a little north of Piazza del Popolo. The hotspot is crowded with locals listening to DJs at night, but by day you can find a table in the sun to work on your tan while enjoying a light meal or a cheeky drink.
Well-heeled Romans know that one of the chicest places to catch a few rays in the heart of the city is atop the stunning La Rinascente store on Via del Tritone. A stone’s throw from the Trevi Fountain, the high-end department store has endless window shopping opportunities and an ancient aqueduct running through the basement, but no one will blame for heading directly to the roof. The terrace bar has views out over the Eternal City and is the perfect place to bask in the sun with a drink in hand.
Every summer the walkway along Rome’s river transforms into a waterside escape in the heart of the city. White pavilion tents become the temporary home to restaurants and bars, and Rome’s mayor announced that in 2018 there would even be a beach built along the banks. The sandy beach plans seem to have been set aside but the sloping sides of Tiber Island (Isola Tiberina) have long been one of the most popular spots to work on a tan in the center of the city.
Catch the last rays of the day from one of Rome’s best sunset spots high above Trastevere. The Gianicolo (or Janiculum Hill in English) is the perfect vantage point to admire the city in the fading light of the day. Watch the terracotta colored rooftops of Rome turn pink as the sun sets while you take advantage of that one last chance to work on your own golden glow.
Wherever you plan to get a tan in Rome – make sure that you consider the rest of the day’s activities as well! While shorts and tank tops are great for getting a bit of color, that summer wardrobe won’t fly at places like the Vatican Museums or the Pantheon. Since these Roman attractions are also working churches, shoulders and knees must be covered at all times.
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Written by our guest blogger, Natalie Kennedy, an American living in Rome.