May 2017 Events in Rome: Your Calendar of What to Do

Just when we thought that spring had arrived, April pulled back the warm weather and made us break out our coats once more. However, May has arrived with picture perfect blue skies and I am so ready for this.

May is one of the best times to visit Rome. The city seems to have come back to life overnight and everyone is stirring with energy before summer.

This month brings new art openings, multiple film festivals and some boozy weekends.

Pretty much a dream time to be in the Eternal City – so here is what to do in Rome this May:

All May: The Rome Rose Garden is open! This small garden has an interesting history and a great location overlooking Circo Massimo. It is only open for about 8 weeks a year, so I recommend a quick stop by (perhaps while on your way to or from the Orange Garden).

1 May: Hello! It is glorious outside, which is well timed because today is “primo Maggio” – the first of May. Officially, today is Labor Day which is a national holiday. Unofficially, it is a day for picnics with fave e pecorino. In Rome, 1 May also means a free concert at San Giovanni. More information is here (in Italian).

6 May: The lovely owners of The Beehive are hosting a mercato dell’usato / artigianale where used goods and handmade products will be on sale from 11 am – 5 pm.

4-7 May: The Nordic Film Festival brings some of the best films from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden to Casa del Cinema in Villa Borghese. A full program is here.

4-9 May: The Festival del Cine Español – or Rome’s Spanish Film Festival returns to the city for 6 days. The screenings will be held at the Cinema Farnese Persol in Spanish with Italian subtitles. More information is available on the website.

5-7 May: Craving street food? The Food Truck Fest will take place this weekend at Piazza Mastai in Trastevere. There is no entrance fee – you simply take your choice from the high concentration of trucks and pay for what you order.

11-13 May: Eataly is hosting a wine festival – as if there weren’t already enough delicious things there.

19 May: The Istituto Svizzero di Roma is hosting an open house with live music. It is good opportunity to visit Villa Maraini, and to hear DJs and other musical guests. More information here.

20 May: Notte dei Musei returns to Rome. The city’s museums will be open from 8 pm – 2 am, and entrance is just €1. It is a cool way to explore the collections after hours.

19-21 May: More good things are coming to the Ostiense Eataly, which is hosting a street food festival throughout the weekend. Expect to find classics like supplì, piadine and gelato. The festival works by purchasing tokens (€2 each) and using the tokens to pay for your selected goodies (which cost between 1 and 4 tokens depending on the product). More information on their Facebook event page.

18-21 May: The Testaccio Spring Beer Festival is seriously one of my favorite boozy events in Rome. Held at the Citta dell’Altra Economia, the vibe is relaxed and the beer is great. There are also food trucks so you don’t have to worry about drinking on an empty stomach.  CANCELLED 🙁 🙁 🙁

24 May: We’ll be out at craft beer bar RedRum in Ostiense for a night of jazz. Some of Jimmy’s paintings will be on display for the night, so come out and say hi!

25-27 May: The Spring Attitude Festival returns with three days of electronic music at the MAXXI. A seriously cool venue, more information about the DJs and performers is available here.

27 May: Testaccio Market is having an Open Day — which really means “open night.” The popular market will be open in the evening, with street food and drinks widely available. I love going to this event because there is such a buzz in the market. Wait in line at the butcher’s for an impromptu grill fest, or check out favorites like Mordi e Vai , Piadina, or Le Mani in Pasta.

28 May: The last Sunday of the month means free entrance to the Vatican Museums up until 1 pm. (But be ready for a serious line).

Ongoing Exhibits in Rome

Vivian Maier: An exhibit of Vivian Maier’s photography will be open at the Museo di Roma in Trastevere through 18 June. I will definitely be heading out to see this one because the story behind this relative unknown street photographer is fascinating.

Giovanni Boldini:  An exhibition featuring the works of Giovanni Boldini is running through 16 July at the Vittoriano. The painter is best known for his beautiful portraits of high society Parisians. Jimmy went recently and loved it.

Botero: Also at the Vittoriano is a major retrospective of Colombian artist Fernando Botero. 50 works from 1958 through 2016 will be on display from 5 May to 27 August.

Boom, Beat, Bubble: The Japanese Cultural Institute has partnered with the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna on a new show that features Japanese prints from the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The exhibit opens on 4 May and runs through 18 October at the Istituto Giapponese di Cultura via Antonio Gramsci 74.

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

This post will be updated as more information about May events in Rome becomes available. 

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