Festivals and Events in Rome

Never let it be said that Rome is, or was, a dull place! Ancient Romans had festivals for almost every occasion or whim. However, their businesses were never closed unless it was a very solemn occasion, such as a major religious event.

While Augustus ruled, there were a "mere" 115 festivals a year, a number which zoomed to over 200 under later emperors! Today, there is still a wealth of events to choose from, with a wide variety of entertainment for almost every taste.

Rome Independent Film Festival, February

Showcasing more than 40 films from over two dozen countries. Showings are held at the Cinema Pasquino, Cinema Roma and the Ripa Hotel.

Eurochocolate, March

Death by chocolate, but oh so heavenly! More than 500 exhibitors and merchants participate in this annual orgy of the cocoa bean, which even includes a chocolate themed film festival, and the cascade of some 3,000 eggs that pour over the Trinita dei Monti staircase.

Good Friday Procession, March/April

Not strictly a celebratory event, but for the religious pilgrim, or historical buff, there is a re-enactment of the route Christ's body was carried, from the cross to His tomb, with the 14 stations of the Cross, on a route that travels from the Colosseum up the Monte Palatino.

Roma Jazz Festival, October/November

This international celebration of jazz kicks off at the Parco della Musica and runs until mid-November. Multi-national performances by artists from Finland, the United States, Tunisia and more.

Gay Village, June/August

For three months, the Testaccio area of Rome sprouts pop concerts, theatre performances, discos, and comedy performances, in a temporary "village" of goodwill, where the by word is tolerance, and the crowd is gay, straight, young, old, hip and just there for the fun!

International Urban Theatre Festival, September

This festival is an annual attempt to alleviate the urbanization of Rome and return some of the excitement of drama and theatre to the streets —literally. Performances are scheduled for pre-determined locations on street corners and other open-air public venues, which means free admission!

Great Autumn Market (Antiques) October

Held at the Autodromo di Vallelunga, 18 miles outside of Rome, this is the largest antiques fair in the region. You will find not only period pieces, but also simpler relics, paraphernalia of Roman life, unusual gadgets and other goodies.

Painters in Via Margutta, April and November (occasionally May)

A select event held at the "in" centre of bars, shops and cafes. Each year 100 artists are selected from all applicants, to display (and sell) their works in an area long known for its resident painters.

High Fashion Show of Trinità dei Monti, July

For a peek at the haute couture de Roma, head south of the Piazza di Spagna, where the elegant stairway of Trinità dei Monti serves as stage and backdrop for the undulating models. Be warned, it is an exclusive event where tickets are by invitation, but the public can stand at the back.

Expo Tevere, June/July

A wonderful way to combine the feel of home, and the feel of the "real" Rome, this annual festival takes place between Sant'Angelo bridge and Cavour bridge, and remains open from 6 AM until 1 AM The primary goods on display/sale are handcrafts, but you can also find jams, jellies, sauces, wines, liquors and all kinds of "native" goods at better prices than the trendy shops.