Italians have been showing the rest of Europe how to have a good time since A.D. In Ancient Rome, nearly half the year (150 days!) was set aside for festivals and recuperation. Today, the calendar may not be so generous, but modern day Romans sure know how to make up for it in the summer! The months of June, July and August are packed with the best Rome events: music festivals, cultural extravaganzas and weird and wonderful summer events around the city.
Are you spending the summer in Rome? Check out the lineup for Rome's biggest music festivals, the programme for moonlit opera and outdoor cinema, and also the best family-friendly events! I've put together a handy month-by-month summer events snapshot guide, followed by detailed descriptions of each event by genre. There’s also a 3-in-1 map so you can see how to pack it all in.
In a hurry? Scroll down to the bottom and check out the top ten Rome events this summer!
Summer in Rome Events Snapshot: month by month
- Republic Day Parade (2 June) | Family
- Lungo Il Tevere: riverside festival (All summer) | Family
- Auditorium Parco della Musica (June and July) | Music
- Vinòforum: Wine festival (14-23 June) | Food & Drink
- Giudizio Universale: multimedia theatrical show (All summer) | Culture
- La Festa della Musica Roma (21 June) | Music
Average daytime temperature: 27℃
- Festa de' Noanti: religious parades (Last 2 weeks of July) | Family
- Teatro dell'Opera di Roma (All summer) | Music
- Rock in Roma (23 June to 28 July) | Music
- Concerti del Tempietto: classical music (All summer) | Music
- Filarmonica Romana: orchestra (All summer) | Music
- L’Isola di Roma: outdoor cinema (All summer) | Cinema
Average daytime temperature: 31℃
- Notte di San Lorenzo: religious festival (10 August) | Family
- Art City: festival of arts (All summer) | Culture
- Ferragosto: religious day (15 August) | Family
- Villa Ada: family festival (July and August) | Family
- Open Museums: first Sunday (4 August) | Family
Average daytime temperature: 31℃
Family Festivals in Rome
Republic Day Parade | 2 June
Via dei Fori Imperiali
If you are in Rome in early June, you will hear people talking about “Festa Della Repubblica”. Republic Day or Festival of the Republic is a national holiday on the 2nd of June, and one of the most noteworthy Rome events. The whole of Italy shuts down, and Rome organizes an enormous military parade because it celebrates the end of the monarchy in 1946.
The parade will go down Via dei Fori Imperiali, the street that runs alongside the Roman Forum
. What makes the Republic day parade a family fun event? First of all, there are small festivals throughout the city, the Presidential Gardens in Palazzo del Quirinale are open in the afternoon, and lastly, the festival ends with fireworks!
Highlight: The Frecce Tricolori flyover. Italy's Air Force planes will fly over the Altare della Patria monument in Piazza Venezia, leaving behind a trail of green, white and red smoke. Who doesn't love planes making flags in the sky?
Lungo Il Tevere: riverside festival | All summer
If you do one thing in Rome this summer, check out Lungo Il Tevere! This riverside festival, Along the River Tiber 2019, is the highlight of summer in the Eternal City. This festival is fun for everyone: families, friends, couples and solo travelers. You name it: theatre, acrobatic dance, craft beer tasting, international food trucks, classical concerts, and even more, you'll find here! For all-around family fun, take your bambinos to the Lungo il Trevere.
Highlight: It's free!
Notte di San Lorenzo (Night of St. Lawrence) | 10 August
Go outside on the night of 10 August, and look towards the heavens. If you're lucky, you may see a shooting star! Is it the cosmic meteor shower from the Perseid comet? Or the tears of St. Lawrence, martyred on this day in AD 258? One of the most venerated figures in Catholicism, due to being the third patron saint of Rome, his death is commemorated by events throughout the Eternal City.
Highlight (but not for the faint-hearted): A relic of his burned remains is displayed in the Vatican for veneration.
Villa Ada | July and August
Via di Ponte Salario 28
This summer-long festival is one of the highlights of summer in Rome. A cultural extravaganza featuring outdoor concerts, theatre, dance and more. The best part about this event is that you can take part too! Villa Ada is indeed geared towards immersive performances, adults can learn photography or dance (swing, tango, rock and roll) and kids will love the parkour and circus workshops!
Highlight: The Giardino di Lulù summer center: it has sports, games, theater, music, horse riding as well as workshops for children.
Ferragosto | 15 August
August 15 is one of the most important religious days in the Catholic Calendar
and Rome is, of course, the capital of Catholicism! Ferragosto celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the city shuts down as traditionally families head to the seaside for a city break. It also kicks off the Rome events summer calendar, as it is officially the start of Italy's holiday season! Locals leave but museums and major attractions like a visit to the Colosseum
, the Pantheon, and Galleria Borghese will certainly stay open, making it the perfect day for sightseeing with kids!
Highlight: The Gran Ballo di Ferragosto with live music and dancing!
Colosseum Underground Tour and Visit to Belvedere
Festa de' Noanti: religious parades | Last two weeks of July
The quiet neighbourhood of Trastevere, one of Rome's hidden gems
, comes alive during the Festa de' Noantri. This ancient religious festival dates back to the 16th century. A classic Roman holiday, it starts with the Madonna del Carmine procession. The next two weeks are full of street theatre and arts events, and wine flows from street vendors!
Highlight: Above all, the finale fireworks display.
Auditorium Parco della Musica | June and July
Via Pietro de Coubertin 30
Music lovers travel from all over the world to the Roma Summer Fest: two months of live concerts in the unique Auditorium Parco della Musica. All musical tastes are catered for; you can listen to the best Italian and international names in rock and pop, jazz and more. Over the years the Roma Summer Fest has seen the likes of Elton John, Leonard Cohen, Ringo Starr, and Bob Dylan; it’s one of the most significant events in the music industry.
Highlight: Certainly Ben Harper on 13 July!
La Festa della Musica Roma | 21 June
For one day, everyone in Rome is a musician! On this day the whole city opens up to musicians who play in the squares, parks, and piazzas. This much anticipated Music Festival of Rome has been running since 1985 and draws musicians from all over the country.
Highlight: It's open to everyone - therefore bring your guitar!
Rock in Roma | 23 June to 28 July
Ippodromo delle Capannelle
It's in the name: when it comes to rock music, Rock in Roma is THE festival of the year. If you like the sound of this be warned, it will be crowded and tickets sell out fast! Giants of the genre have graced the stage at this legendary festival, including Radiohead, Placebo and the Killers. Time to Rock n' Roma!
Highlight: Kraftwerk on 22 June.
Classical Music and Opera
Teatro dell'Opera di Roma | All summer
Terme di Caracalla
Majestic Roman ruins and breathtaking views: what better backdrop to an Italian Opera? This year the highlight event of the opera season will take place in the stunning Caracalla Baths. Rome's Opera di Roma will run all summer so you will have plenty of opportunities to catch a concert during your Roman holiday. Remember to bring your binoculars though, because the set is vast!
Highlight: Alongside Opera and Ballet, world-famous composer Ludovico Einaudi will also perform twice.
Filarmonica Romana | All summer
For the summer months, the Academia Filarmonica Romana heads to a new venue for those warm evenings: the fairytale grounds of the Villa Borghese. While the focus is on orchestral music, there will also be concerts of jazz and more contemporary genres.
Highlight: Certainly the leafy and lush Villa Borghese gardens.
Concerti del Tempietto | All summer
Summer concerts of classical music will take place in various venues around the Eternal City. The main locations are the archeological grounds of the Marcello Theatre and Sala Baldini (piazza Campitelli 9). These concerts provide multi-sensory experiences: hauntingly beautiful classical music against stunning and historical backdrops.
Highlight: Above all, the guided tour of Teatro di Marcello (reserved for concert ticket holders).
Theatre and the Arts
Giudizio Universale | All summer
Via della Conciliazione 4
Giudizio Universale is described as an aesthetic, emotional and spiritual experience. A wholly immersive show that combines technology and theatre to take you on a journey through time to follow Michelangelo on his journey to complete the Sistine Chapel frescoes.
It was created by Marco Balich, the artistic director of numerous Olympic Games ceremonies, and with consultation from the Vatican itself. This cutting edge and revolutionary show combine live performances and 270° 3D projections. The Giudizio Universale is argued to mark the birth of a new spectator experience.
Highlight: The original soundtrack by Sting of course!
Art City | All summer
Palazzo Venezia, Vittoriano and Castel Sant’Angelo: these are three of the most breathtakingly beautiful buildings of Rome. This summer, they will also host the international festival Art City! All sorts of weird and wonderful Rome events are on offer, making this one of the best things to do in Rome this summer. Visit one of these fantastic venues and watch a jazz concert, ballet or dramatic production in their classical courtyards.
Highlight: Certainly the guided tour of the Ancient underground of Vittoriano (sold separately).
Open Museums | 2 June, 7 July & 4 August
If you are in Rome on one of the above dates, leave your wallet at home and head out to explore the city's museums! On the first Sunday of the month, many museums and monuments in Rome do not charge entry fees. These include the Colosseum, Roman Forum and the Galleria Borghese. In contrast, privately owned galleries are not free on the first Sunday of the month. These include the Doria Pamphilj Gallery (still owned by the family of the same name). If you want to visit all the museums then grab a skip-the-line museum ticket and beat the crowds.
Highlight: Your wallet will be happy because the museums are free!
St Peter's Basilica Reserved Entrance and Self-Guided Audio Tour - VisitPass
L'Isola di Roma | All summer
What better way to spend a summer evening in Rome than by watching a movie under the stars? This year will see the 15th edition of L'Isola del Cinema, which will host outdoor film screenings at venues around the Tiber Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Grab your picnic blanket and get ready for some moonlit cinema evenings all summer long. This year the international film festival will be exploring the boundaries between genres.
Highlight: In particular, the Immersive VR room on the banks of the Tiber River!
Food and Drink
Vinòforum | 14-23 June
Finally, we couldn't finish our guide to summer in Rome without a wine festival! In the culinary capital of Italy (and possibly the world) Vinoforum brings together leading chefs, wine experts, and restaurant owners for five days. The best restaurants in the country will have pop-up stalls and there will be tastings and samplings of the finest wine & food in Italy. This is a key event of the food industry. If you love fine wine and good food, Rome events like these should certainly be on your radar!
Highlight: The Wine and Gourmet Arena is most noteworthy.
Top Ten Rome Festivals this Summer
- Lungo Il Tevere | Family
- Giudizano Universale | Culture
- L’Isola di Roma | Outdoor Cinema
- Art City | Culture
- Rock in Roma | Music
- Teatro di Opera | Music
- Festa de’ Noanti | Religious
- Festa della Musica | Music
- Vinoforum | Food & Drink
- Villa Ada | Family