Explore Rome: August 2016 Events

Sigh. August.

This is the month of exodus.

Most Italian businesses (and thus employees) take their summer holidays in August, so expect the beaches to be significantly more packed from today on. This general summer merry-making culminates on August 15th- Ferragosto, the peak of summer. Expect many things to be closed on that Monday.

In fact, expect many things to be closed in general. While many physical shops will be shut, most attractions remain open every day except the 15th.  Plus, there are some events that only take place in the summer months, and August is your last chance to take part.


Pack an evening picnic for Circo Massimo, and make sure to see an opera in Terme di Caracalla, or find a concert at Teatro Marcello after dark. Anything to get out of your stifling apartment/hotel.

Us? Well, like good Romans, we’ll be escaping for several weeks…


All August: Rome’s river bars are open, but are careful not to block Triumphs and Laments, as part of  Estate Romana 2016).

Various dates: More interested in music than movies? Casa del Jazz is hosting a summertime line up that you can see on a few dates in August here.

Various dates: There is still time to catch an opera at the Terme di Caracalla  through early August. Among the ruins, you can watch Madame Butterfly, The Barber of Seville, and Nabucco.

Various dates: I think the concerts in Teatro Marcello are sweet. The musicians are professional and play beautifully, but the temporary plastic deck chairs do it a bit of a disservice. Because Teatro Marcello is still contains private homes, the temporary nature is all that is available in the stunning setting. However, the biggest shame is that so few people take advantage of these concerts which take place throughout the month and are worth at least one evening out.

Various dates: Castel Sant’Angelo becomes the stunning setting for an intimate summer concert series.  Only 11 euro for a ticket, the concerts seat a maximum of 200 people in the center of the monument. Check the website for the schedule of the Sere d’Arte.

Through 14 August: Villa Medici (the French Academy) is hosting Theatre of Exhibitions #7. The initiative gives visitors the chance to experience the work of current fellows at the academy. The exhibition is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm.

1 August: The final showing of the Festival Trastevere Rione del Cinema will be Ballando Ballando.  The outdoor screening starts at 9:15 pm in Piazza San Cosimato. More information is available here.

1-9 and 11-13 August: Villa Ada becomes the backdrop for a series of summer concerts.

5 August: I’m not sure if you have some other burning Friday night plans, but I am going to try to stay awake long enough to take in the miracle of the Madonna of the Snow. In Italian it’s called the miracolo della Madonna della Neve, and the event has been held since 1983 to celebrate the freak August snowstorm that directed the faithful to build the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore where it now stands on Esquilino hill.  Giovanni first tipped me off to the event during our Vespa tour of Rome, and I have been waiting to go. The show starts at 9 pm and runs until midnight.

6-7 August: Hop in the car and head towards Rocca di Papa in the Castelli Romani for a Pizza Festival in the main square. I am guessing it will be fairly slapped together, but it is a good excuse to spend the day exploring the small towns around Rome. More information here.

7 August: Free entrance to many of Rome’s museums and monuments as part of Domenica al Museo (the first Sunday of every month).

17 August: The choir of the Royal Church of St Alfege, Greenwich London will be touring Italy in August and will be giving a free concert in Rome at the Chiesa Santa Maria dei Miracoli on Piazza del Popolo on Wednesday 17thAugust at 8pm. More details are here.

22-23 August: After the sun sets and Rome cools off a teeny tiny bit, explore the Roman Forum by night. The guided tour starts at 21:30 and must be booked in advance.

26 August: At 9 pm, enjoy a free jazz concert featuring the Flavio Boltro BBB Trio on the terrace of the Vittoriano.

Ongoing exhibits: 

Banksy at Palazzo Cipolla: It is the last month to see one of the largest shows of work by the artist Banksy, which is still taking place in Rome through 4 September. The show pulls together works from private collections around the theme War, Capitalism and Liberty.

Roma Anni Trenta: The Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Villa Borghese is hosting an mix of styles and techniques around the 1930s theme.  I definitely want to see this one, and you have until 30 October to make it to the show.

Roma anni 30

Barbie. The Icon. Yes, really. A Barbie exhibit at the Vittoriano, which I hear is really quite good. Of course, I have heard this from my 8-year-old friend of Ai Marmi fame. The exhibit tells the story of the ageless doll from 1959 to present, and runs through 10 October.

Still looking for more? Try my posts on things to do in Rome or get off the beaten path and explore the unexpected Rome.


I will update this post as more events are announced. Feel free to send me an email if I have missed one!

6 thoughts on “Explore Rome: August 2016 Events

  1. Roberta says:

    Hi Natalie, I am an Italian (from Milan) who has been living in Pasadena, CA for over ten years. I love reading your blog and your fresh take of living in Italy from the expat’s point of view. I am a bit disappointed by your comment about plastic chairs at the concerts in Teatro Marcello though. I am disappointed when you say that “it cracks you up”. I mean: cultural events in the US are so expensive that only if you have money you can afford it, and free events organized by municipalities are really, really rare. Fortunately I can afford going to concerts to Walt Disney Hall and other venues (I am an astrophysicist working in Caltech) but if there is one thing I really miss about Italy/Europe (..and, believe me, there is more than one !) is that there is literally culture everywhere and it is not just a luxury for the wealthy. So, yes, I’d exchange a concert at Teatro Marcello for 30 bucks or so (and less if you don’t go for a front row seat) and all the plastic chairs in the world any day 🙂

    • Natalie says:

      Ciao Roberta! Thanks so much for the comment, and for sharing your thoughts because that was not at all my intention. Actually, what I love most about Rome is exactly what you describe – that the culture is around every corner, and that for just 15 euro (or by standing outside) you can hear the concert. It makes me shake my head only because these incredible little tidbits are not well publicized. Very few people take advantage of them!

      I will edit the post to better reflect this and hope that you are enjoying life in Pasadena… I remember taking my little sister to get ice cream in downtown Pasadena right before I moved to Italy and I think of it often when I miss my family back home!

  2. Georgette says:

    Fabulous list Natalie, I’m adding it to my list of events as well for anyone coming to Rome. By the way I will for sure be in Rome from September 5th to the 11th and I’d love to catch up! We are partly going for Nico’s parents who will be joining us that Monday and then the weekend but then I’ll be on my own :).

  3. Doris says:

    Natalie, I just happened upon your blog, fun and informative. My husband and I are planning a visit to Rome this weekend Aug 26 ,The hotels that were recommended to me are filled. is this a particularly special weekend in Rome or is it always very busy. THanks for your help Doris

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Doris!
      I am not sure if special means luxury? There is Hotel de Russie, The First Luxury Art Hotel and G-Rough that are all meant to be lovely and are very central to enjoy Rome.

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