Italy: What it’s like to visit Rome right now

Rome: Tourists return to Rome as the locals enjoy the last of the summer wine and the final beach days of the season. September is, in many ways, the perfect month to visit Rome.

The city is still in summer mode, without the baking heat of July and August, and most social and cultural events are based outdoors. It is also still warm enough to take a day trip to the beach or the lake.

Life in Rome has moved outside even more than usual this year – a knock-on effect of covid-19 – and in September it is balmy enough at night to enjoy dinner and drinks under the stars.

The biggest change in daily life in Rome this summer has been the Green Pass – a digital or paper certificate showing that people have been vacinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19.

This document – or its equivalent for those coming from abroad – is required to dine indoors in restaurants, visit museums, cinemas and swimming pools, as well as for long-distance travel around Italy.

The Green Pass is not required for having a coffee while standing at the bar or taking local public transport.

The majority of people are adapting to the system – the latest “new normal” in a series of covid-related restrictions over the last year and a half – and initial protests against the restrictions are starting to fizzle out.

Rome’s once long-lost tourists are back, not anywhere near the pre-covid days but the city is definitely humming with life in comparison to just a few months ago.

There are no longer any curfews in Italy and – aside from the Green Pass and having to wear masks in indoor public spaces – it is pretty much business as usual.

Tourists who are returning to Rome for the first time in a couple of years will notice some changes however.

Museums and archaeological sites must be booked in advance online, with time slots, and the obligatory Green Pass.

Bear in mind that for weekend visits it is mandatory to book at least a day ahead for the Colosseum, Castel S. Angelo and the Pantheon.

Restaurants have spilled out onto pavements in a big way – this is fine for September but is likely to less popular as the temperatures drop in the autumn.

Other changes include the ubiquitous electric scooters – a popular but contentious form of transport – as well as some city-centre streets swapping their sampietrini cobblestones for asphalt and vice versa.

Those with an eye for nature will notice the poignant sight of sick pine trees all over the capital, at risk of being killed off by a deadly parasite.

On a more uplifting note there are plenty of events to enjoy this September, from the cutting-edge arts festival Romaeuropa to jazz concerts under the stars with a backdrop of the Colosseum.