Great events in Rome happen year-round… but some of my favorites happen to take place during the summer. So when it comes to summer in Rome, don’t worry: It’s not all about figuring out how to skip the lines and survive the heat. It’s also about some great summer events.
Best festivals for nightlife
My favorite: hands-down, the Lungo Il Tevere summer festival. This is when the Tiber River is lined with almost a mile of shops, stalls, bars, and restaurants. And it’s open until 2am. Come mid-June, every in-the-know Roman starts heading there to meet up with friends and have a drink, dance, or even just a stroll.
Another fun summer-only nightlife option is All’Ombra del Colosseo, a bar, restaurant and club set up, as the name would have it, “in the shadow of the Colosseum,” on the top of the Celian hill. It runs until September 8.
And if you’re looking for those not-so-easy-to-find gay nightlife options in Rome, the summer’s the time: This is when the Gay Village comes to Rome. The festival, which takes over 16 acres of park, includes bars, dance floors, and even an open-air gym, plus hosts lots of concerts, film screenings, and other events.
Best music events and concerts
For rock lovers, summer staple Rock in Roma has a serious series of concerts this summer. On the roster: the Arctic Monkeys (July 10), Bruce Springsteen (July 11), Mark Knopfler (July 13), The Smashing Pumpkins (July 14), Neil Young (July 26), Sigur Ros (July 28) and Blur (July 29). All of the concerts are at the Ippodromo delle Capannelle, near Ciampino airport, but the good news is you can get there by train or take the shuttle run by the venue itself.
Now a yearly tradition, the Buena Vista Social Club orchestra is playing in Rome this summer, this year on July 18.
On a sad note, one of my favorite summer festivals, the outdoor jazz series at the Villa Celimontana, was canceled last year and remains out of commission this summer. (Thanks, economic crisis!).
Luckily, you can get your outdoor-concert fix thanks to the yearly summer festival in Villa Ada. My pick: The Kings of Convenience concert on July 24.
And if jazz is your thing, there’s still the yearly Casa del Jazz festival, which takes place from June 28 to August 4 in, you guessed it, the Casa del Jazz, in the Villa Osio. Upcoming concerts include performances by the Chihiro Yamanaka European Trio (July 18), David Kikoski (July 21), and Nu Indaco (August 4).
Best events for culture-vultures
When it comes to culture, my favorite summer event is the opera outdoors at the ancient Baths of Caracalla (there are ballet performances and concerts, too). The performances are by the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, so they’re incredibly well-done—and being able to watch them outdoors, backdropped by ancient ruins, is just the icing on the cake.
If you’re a history nerd like I am, you’ll love the Miracle Players, who perform in the summers only. You can find this zany theater troupe, famed for their comic, 45-minute shows on Roman history (in English), in the Forum until August 2.
A number of great museum exhibits also are wrapping up in the next month; I’m especially a fan of the Helmut Newton exhibition at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni (until July 21) and the exhibit of famous LIFE magazine photographs at the Auditorio Parco della Musica (until August 4).
If you liked this post, you’ll love The Revealed Rome Handbook: Tips and Tricks for Exploring the Eternal City, available for purchase on Amazon or through my site here! I’m also free for one-on-one consulting sessions to help plan your Italy trip.