What to Do on a Rainy Day in Italy


We’ve mostly all been there….we wake up in a cozy hotel room with thoughts of getting dressed and meeting the day in an Italian city or village when we are met at the door with a gray drizzle. People outside rush about under umbrellas or towards the nearest overhang to stay dry. Passing cars splash through puddles already beginning to form.  You begin to feel a dampness creep up on you. This was not the kind of day you had envisioned, and your heart begins to sink.

I have found myself several times standing in the rain while mentally viewing my hopes for the day wash away. But I’ve also discovered that there is always a bright side. A rainy day presents opportunities to do those things you have put on the back burner because you wanted to be outside enjoying the weather. So here is your chance. With a positive attitude and a renewed sense of adventure, the day can be transformed into an unexpected delight.

Here is a list of options that I have used when I’m broadsided with a rainy day, whether expected or unexpected.

  1. Duomos – I love to wander through old churches and basilicas. The artwork and architecture are astounding and often house frescoes from famous medieval or renaissance painters. Some of them are so old that the stone floors dip and sway from the patter of many feet over the ages.
  2. Shopping – Check out the centro commerciale, or mercato. These are indoor malls with markets and/or shops mostly in the larger cities where you can escape the drops altogether. If you are in northern Italy,  you will often find arcades that cover the pavement that enable you to shop and stay dry. Or, buy an umbrella from one of the umbrella-sellers for a few euros. Whenever the rain descends in the larger cities like Rome, they are everywhere. Forge ahead and do a little window shopping. Then after a while, find a cozy cafe to warm yourself up with a hearty Ragusa pasta or Margherita pizza. I’ve always felt that its good to get a little chilled so you can come inside and deliciously warm up.
  3. Museums – These are the best at providing insight into the Italian culture. Think of all those times you felt like you should know more about the history and customs over the ages. This is your chance to do this and can take a good portion of your day. Art museums are fascinating as well.
  4. Buses – Take a tour of the city on one of the hop-on, hop-off buses. I have done this for an afternoon. It gave me a great sense of the lay of the land and it is a good vehicle for people watching through the windows. Plus you never know who you might start up a conversation with.
  5. Stay inside – Read a good book. One day not long ago on the island of Capri, I woke up to a downpour that was relentless. Instead of forging out, I found a copy of “The Story of San Michele” and cozied up with it for the day. It was a wonderful book written by a Swedish doctor who lived in a villa that sits high above the harbor of Capri on a spot where Tiberius once had a residence. The next day after the clouds departed we visited the villa. The experience had a lot more meaning and impact because of the book.
  6. Carry on – Regardless of the weather. With the right mindset and proper attire, a great day can still be made while those raindrops keep falling on your head.
  7. Cinema – You can take in a movie at the local cinema and afterward grab a coffee or vino with or without dinner.
  8. Music – Check out the music scene for some good local vibes. Live jazz can be a perfect way to sit back and relax while enjoying an aperitivo.


Although most of the time the weather in Italy during the summer months is warm and sunny, the rains can descend. It’s a great idea to keep a list of rainy day ideas to help you stay on top of your vacation. Sometimes, the best experiences are found in the most unlikely places. It may take a rain squall to get you there.

I hope you enjoyed this post and found some ideas that inspire you to make wonderful memories even in the rain. What have you discovered that worked for you on a rainy day? I love to add new ideas to the list so please feel free to share.



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