Entertainment in Rome

Rome has a long and interesting history in theatre, one of the chief and best entertainment venues, even today. But in Ancient Rome, plays weren't quite the productions you see now. For one, their theatres were outdoors, which eliminated the need for lighting and sound systems. Still, since attending almost any event was a cause for socializing, the noise from the audience often overrode the actors' lines.

As a consequence, Roman theatre took on established methods of presenting plays, such as women wearing white masks, while men wore brown, happy or sad, according to their roles. Rich characters wore purple, soldiers wore red, and children wore striped togas. And as in all male dominated societies, women weren't allowed to perform. Their roles were taken by boys.


Today, the tourist in Rome can enjoy a number of productions, by Italian and other troupes. The Ghione Theatre, which is located on one side of St. Peter's Square in the centre of Rome, has brought new life not only to the building, but to the theatre scene in Rome. Renovated in the early 1980s by the leading Italian actress Ileana Ghione and her husband, the 600-seat venue is now the home of not only classical productions, but also musical concerts and other guest performances. The theatrical offerings include Pirandello, Ibsen, Molière, Feydeau and Euripides.

The Miracle Players are an entertaining troupe of English speaking players, who put on comedic performances at historic locations around the city, during the summer. At the Forum you can see Rome In A Nutshell, and 200 Years of Roman History, presented in 40 minutes. Great fun for the whole family.


If your preference is for opera, classical music and ballet, you can't do any better than the Teatro Dell'Opera, also known as the Teatro Costanzi. Be warned though, to bring the tux and the fancy togs, because the patrons often rival the magnificence of the building as they make a splash in Rome's nightlife pool. Other classical music and opera venues are the Auditorium- Parco della Musica, Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Accademia Filarmonica Romana, and Il Tempietto.

More modern musical tastes can be satisfied by visiting such music clubs as Alexanderplatz, Via Ostia 9, a local jazz club with a fine roster of performers, making it one of the most popular in Italy. Or for more variety, try Foncea, Via Crescenzio 82A, offering live music every night, ranging from jazz, blues, rock, Dixieland and funk. The club is not open in July and August.

Of course, there always major musical concerts playing Rome throughout the year, and the best place to check for those is either with your travel agent, the hotel where you stay, or by picking up one of the many entertainment guides at newspaper kiosks.

La Passaggiata

One attraction that is totally free, and in which you can join the locals, is the ritual known as "la passaggiata", the evening stroll.

Piazza Navona (detail)After dining in one of Rome's fine restaurants, tourists and residents alike promenade the piazzas.

Their dress is usually more suited to an evening out, than what they were touring in during the day.

Two of the most popular hangouts, are the Via Condotti from Piazza di Spagna to the Via del Corso, and the Piazza Navona.