Rome Destination Guide

A sparkling line-up of world-class exhibitions and spectacular performances are set alongside centuries-old traditions and colourful festivals, with Rome’s historic architecture and ancient ruins a stunning backdrop. All this makes Italy’s capital a captivating place to visit at any time of year. Here’s our guide to the city’s best upcoming events.

Until February 17, 2019

Marcello Mastroianni

A highlight of this year’s Festa del Cinema di Roma is the Museo dell’Ara Pacis’s dedication to legendary Italian big-screen actor Marcello Mastroianni, who rose to fame in 1960 with his role in Federico Fellini’s classic, La Dolce Vita. Featuring smartly choreographed film clips starring the erstwhile heartthrob, the exhibition is sensitively curated by Gian Luca Farinelli and offers a retrospective glimpse at the Italian actor’s career highlights.

Museo dell’Ara Pacis, Via di Ripetta 180, 00186 Rome

Marcello Mastroianni on 
La Dolce Vita set © Cineteca di Bologna / Reporters

Until February 24, 2019

Low Form. Imaginaries and Visions in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Tech meets art in this intriguing selection of immersive installations and multisensory displays. Low Form: Imaginaries and Visions in the Age of Artificial Intelligence corrals a compelling line-up of contemporary works, including Zach Blas and Jemima Wyman’s unnerving life-after-death AI soliloquy, stark cosmic images by Italian photographer Carola Bonfili and thought-provoking simulations by Ian Cheng.

MAXXI, Via Guido Reni 4, 00196 Rome

Image ©  MAXXI

February 2 & 23, 2019

Six Nations Rugby: 2019 Championship

The match between Italy and Wales on 2nd February at the Stadio Olimpico is one of the first to kick off a thrilling rugby season with the Six Nations Championship. While this game is sure to raise the pulses of sports enthusiasts, it’s the following match on 23rd February, when Italy goes head to head with defending champions Ireland, that promises to be the real scorcher.

Stadio Olimpico, Viale dei Gladiatori, 00135 Rome

Image ©  peepo/iStock

February 20 – March 1, 2019

Anna Bolena

Donizetti’s tragic opera in two acts, Anna Bolena recounts the tale of Henry VIII’s doomed second wife after the fickle king’s affections shift to his new lover Jane Seymour. The horrifying denouement is executed with skill and sensitivity against a thundering score, conducted by Ricardo Frizza. Expect dramatic sets and spectacular costumes that successfully evoke the medieval majesty of the Tudor court.

Teatro dell’Opera, Piazza Beniamino Gigli, 00184 Rome

Image ©  Teatro dell’Opera di Roma /Toccafondo

Until March 3, 2019

Antonio Fraddosio. The suits and the steel

Modestly slotted into a quiet cloister garden is Italian sculptor Antonio Fraddosio’s site-specific The suits and the steel. Sturdy rusted steel boxes frame torn and twisted metal plates, a parody of the protective suits worn by workers at ILVA. The installation is dedicated to the ILVA employees who have suffered at the hands of this large and controversial steel corporation.

Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Via Francesco Crispi, 24, 00187 Rome

Image ©  iStock

February 29 – March 5, 2019

Carnevale di Roma

Rome’s nod to Mardi Gras, Carnevale erupts with a full-bodied cascade of magicians, masquerades, performers, parades and parties, with events springing up all over the Italian capital. The city’s main piazzas are where to find most of the action—look out for fireworks and live music throughout the carnival’s run.

Various locations around Rome

Image ©  iStock/G Cammino

Until March 3, 2019

Journey in the Colosseum: Magic and Charm of a Monument

Terrifying, intoxicating, empowering, dehumanising—the Colosseum has a checkered past. A merciless end came to those subject to the games within, but the iconic venue also served as the heart of ancient Rome’s community. Centuries on, Austrian artist Gerhard Gutruf presents 32 original works that capture the many faces of the city’s most famous monument.

Mercati di Traiano Museo dei Fori Imperiali, Via IV Novembre 94, 00187 Rome

Image ©  iStock

Until April 28, 2019

The Street. Where the World is Made

Pooling works from 140 artists in a 200-strong collection of photographs, architectural projects, performance and film, MAXXI draws on the buzzing inspiration of street life for its newest exhibition. The Street. Where the World is Made is an innovative multi-textured, full-flavoured riot of sound, colour and aesthetics, which widely explores the grit, shadow and ultimate beauty of real life in the city.

MAXXI, Via Guido Reni 4, 00196 Rome

Image ©  Moesatt Nova, contemporary

Until May 5, 2019

Dream: L’arte Incontra Sogni (Art Meets Dreams)

Filling the Cloister of Bramante, Dream: L’arte Incontra Sogni  leads visitors through a sequence of site-specific works redesigned for the interiors of Donato Bramante’s beautiful Renaissance architecture. Dream centres around the mysterious realms behind our closed eyes, encompassing themes of sleeping beauties, mysterious creatures and dreamy abstract scenes.

Cloister of Bramante, Arco della Pace, 5, 00186 Rome

Image ©  iStock/Marzia Giacobbe

March – June, 2019

Festa della Primavera (Spring Festival)

Rome’s Festa della Primavera celebrates the change of the season and rings in the arrival of spring with authentic Roman flourish. The al-fresco festival is held each year in the Eternal City, its historic streets and landmarks hosting a vivid programme of concerts and plays. Fragrant azaleas line the Spanish Steps and live entertainment sparkles alongside the Tiber.

Various locations

Image ©  iStock/Benelox

March 12 – 16, 2019

Eros Ramazzotti

Beloved Italian musician Eros Ramazzotti appears on stage in his home city for three nights in March. Producing hit after hit, the singer-songwriter has released 12 studio albums since his debut in 1985 and has since sold 60 million records worldwide. Here, the star and his guitar present his Latin pop/rock favourites.

Palalottomatica, Piazzale Pier Luigi Nervi, 1, 00144 Rome

Image ©  iStock/Eugene Sergeev

March 16, 2019

Six Nations Rugby: Italy v France

The annual rugby championships return to Rome’s iconic Stadio Olimpico where the home team battles France in March. Since Italy joined in 2000, Six Nations Rugby has cheered as England, Scotland, Wales, France, Ireland and Italy go head-to-head to win the crown. This year’s series is no less thrilling, with Rome erupting in roars and cheers as two of Europe’s heavyweights thrash it out on the pitch.

Stadio Olimpico, Viale dei Gladiatori, 00135 Rome

Image ©  iStock/Wavebreak Media

March 23 – 24, 2019

FAI Spring Day

A true celebration of Italy’s vibrant art, culture and heritage, FAI Spring Days are a unique opportunity to visit sites that are usually closed to the public. For one weekend only, the doors of historic and private properties are flung open, and the curious are invited to explore spectacular interiors, art collections, historical architecture and gardens.

Various locations

Image ©  iStock/SBorisov

April 21, 2019

Natale di Roma

Happy birthday, Rome! The Italian capital was founded by Romulus 2,771 years ago, and it’s an occasion that’s celebrated with due pomp and pageantry across the capital. Gladiators don their armour, ceremonies are re-enacted and knights on horseback challenge each other to friendly duels, while concerts and performances guarantee a convivial atmosphere throughout.

Various locations across Rome

Fridays, April – October, 2019

Vatican Museums by Night

Explore the nocturnal ambiance of the Pope’s museums, including the Gregorian Egyptian Museum, and Galleries of the Candelabra, Tapestries and Geographical Maps. The vivid frescoes lining the Borgia Apartment are certainly memorable, as is, of course, the grand opulence of the Sistine Chapel, which is beautifully lit after dusk. The tour is available from 7pm until 11pm, allowing plenty of opportunity to explore.

Vatican Museums, Viale Vaticano, 00165 Rome

Image ©  iStock/Tomas Sereda

April 21, 2019

Easter Mass

It’s something of a spring tradition in the Italian capital to join 80,000 or so well-wishers in St Peter’s Square for the papal mass on Easter Sunday. Sign up for complimentary tickets in advance, and arrive early to gain a spot on the square. The Pope delivers an Easter message and blessing from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica at around noon—it’s well worth the wait, and the atmosphere is very special.

Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Vatican City

Image ©  iStock

Until December 31, 2019

Welcome to Rome

A multi-media display of maquettes, film and holographic imagery invites a deep immersion into the drama of Rome’s nearly three millennia of history. Projections onto walls and ceilings animate the Italian capital to demonstrate its colourful evolution into a buzzing modern metropolis, with detailed 3D models offering an opportunity to observe the city’s architectural blockbusters in the round.

203 Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 00186 Rome

May 6 – 19, 2019

The Italian Open

The world’s tennis heavyweights converge in Rome for a fresh round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, aka the Italian Open. Last year, Rafael Nadal pipped Alexander Zverev to the men’s singles post, winning his eighth Golden Racket, while Elina Svitolina trumped world champion Simona Halep. Secure some courtside seats to witness 2019’s champions in the making.

Foro Italico, Viale del Foro Italico, 00135 Rome
+39 06 36851

Image ©  iStock/Peepo

May 10 – 12, 2019

Festival del Verde e del Paesaggio (Festival of Greenery and Landscapes)

Duck out of Rome’s heat and hustle to experience an explosion of fragrance and colour. The Hanging Gardens at the Auditorium Parco della Musica are replete with summer blooms and foliage for the Festival del Verde e del Paesaggio. Explore state-of-the-art garden designs and contemporary outdoor furniture displays alongside a varied programme of talks and demonstrations.

 Auditorium Parco Della Musica
Via Pietro de Coubertin 30, 00196 Rome
+39 06 9484 4234

Image © Festival del Verde e del Paesaggio

Until December 31, 2019

The Ara as it Was

The Ara Pacis is an altar dedicated to Pax, the Roman goddess of peace, dating back to 13BC. In this innovative exhibition, the Ara is brought to life in full colour through virtual reality. Participants don augmented-reality goggles for a full immersion in the Italian capital’s history to discover how the Ara looked in ancient times, with its vivid murals illustrating the rise of Rome.

 Museo dell’Ara Pacis, Lungotevere in Augusta, 00186 Rome
+39 06 0608

Image © iStock/piola666

May 17 – 20, 2019

La Notte dei Musei (The Night of the Museums)

The Italian capital joins 30 major cities across Europe in extending the opening hours of their cultural sites to 2am. More than 50 museums, galleries, universities and libraries – including the Capitoline Museum, Maxxi, National Gallery of Modern Art, Chiostro del Bramante and University of Rome – open their doors to the public for a cursory entrance fee of one euro.

Various locations
+39 06 0608

May 24 – 27, 2019

Rolex Rome Grand Prix

One of the most glamorous events in Rome’s social calendar, the Rolex Grand Prix is a white-knuckle four days of against-the-clock horse races. Alongside the action, enjoy a lively programme of entertainment, and don’t miss the final on Sunday, where the world’s finest jockeys and their steeds race neck and neck to claim the prestigious cup.

Piazza di Siena, 1, 00197 Rome
+39 06 8191 8637

Image © iStock/ZE14361