Free Museums, Fireworks and More for Italy’s 150th Anniversary

150th anniversary and notte tricolore in RomeDespite some reservations about whether Italy's ever really unified, Rome's going all-out to celebrate the reunification's 150th anniversary. From this Wednesday night through Thursday, events, concerts and lots of free museum entrances are all part of the package.

The festivities kick off on Wednesday night with "Notte Tricolore," a night of culture-focused fun. And there's a lot going on. Here's just a selection:

Free museums, open late: Among other sites, the Quirinale (with its temporary Lorenzo Lotto exhibition), Musei Capitolini, Castel Sant'Angelo, and Palazzo Barberini will all be open from 8pm to 2am — and free. (Yay!) And don't miss the Museo dell'Ara Pacis (also open 8pm-2am, also free), since the Ara Pacis will be "colored" using lasers to show you what it actually would have looked like back in the first century B.C. Usually, this is only done during the summertime

Light shows: Rome's ruins get prettied up with light shows — from 7pm, check out the Colosseum, Fori Imperiali, and Hadrian's Temple in Piazza di Pietra.

Dances: At 7pm, there's a dance show at Teatro Piccolo Eliseo (Via Nazionale 183) for €2. Polka and other genres will be part of the "Dance for Unity" in Palazzo Barberini at 8pm.

Concerts: Feelin' funky? Check out the Mo’ Better Band Funky Street Band — either at 8pm in Piazza dei Cinquecento, or at 11pm in Piazza Vittorio. Risorgimento songs are on the schedule at the Piazza del Quirinale concert, starting at 8:30pm. Chiesa Nuova hosts a sacred music concert, with pieces by Rossini, Verdi and Wagner, at 8:30pm, 9:30pm and 10:30pm.

Fireworks: At midnight, keep your eyes peeled — fireworks will take place over Celio.

Here's the complete Notte Tricolore program (in Italian).

Meanwhile, Thursday's a nationwide holiday.

Happy culture-vulturing!

 

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Chinese New Year, Coming to a Rome Near You

We won't sugarcoat it: Rome long has had an uneasy relationship with its immigrant population, including its Chinese residents. Over the past few months, though, from the Palazzo Venezia exhibit comparing the ancient Roman and Chinese empires to the launch of "The Year of Chinese Culture" in Italy, that seems like it's starting to turn around.

How Rome's celebrating the Chinese New Year this weekend makes that attempt at more mutual respect even clearer.

Rome's Chinese population always has celebrated the New Year, of course. But the parades and parties have been at the Esquiline hill — the neighborhood around Termini and Piazza Vittorio often nicknamed "Chinatown" for its plethora of Chinese families and businesses.

This year? Those festivities will take place in Rome's center. It's a recognition not just of the Year of Chinese Culture, but, perhaps, of the sheer size and influence of Italy's Chinese population: The Chinese make up the nation's 4th-largest foreign community, after the Romanians, Albanians and Moroccans.

The top two events are:

Tomorrow, Feb. 5, the Auditorium Parco della Musica will host a performance with lions, dragons, and a drum dance. That's from 6pm-8pm.

And on Sunday, Feb. 6, a Chinese New Year parade will take place at Piazza del Popolo, ending with a firework display. That goes from 6pm-8pm, too.

There are also events nationwide, including in Naples, Turin, Venice, Milan, and Prato.

 

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One Night, 47 Concerts: November’s Musei in Musica

On Saturday, November 20, Rome — a city not particularly known for its live music scene — will host free concerts in no fewer than 47 museums and institutes city-wide. Don't miss it!

Some top choices:

Milonga (the Latin American predecessor to tango), played by the Orchestra Buenos Aires Cafè Quintet. They're livening up the Galleria Alberto Sordi (yes, that big neoclassical shopping gallery) at 11pm.

At the edgy MACRO Testaccio, folk music: Greek at 8pm, Estonian at 9pm, Norwegian at 10pm, and Italian at 11pm.

The Quartetto del Teatro dell'Opera, performing Puccini and Delibes, at the Corte di Cassazione at Piazza Cavour. The concerts are at 8m, 9pm and 10pm, and this one's expected to be so popular, reservation is obligatory (call 060608).

Hebrew music at the Jewish Synagogue, including "liturgical Hebrew music of an Italian rhythm" at 10:30pm.

For those looking for sounds of the American South, the New Orleans Jazz Quintet plays at the Accademia Belgica at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm.

There will be an Egyptian dance performance at the Museo dell'Ara Pacis at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm.

At the Castel Sant'Angelo, Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" by the renowned Orchestra Arcus Caelestis. (Reserve in advance for the concerts at 8pm, 9:30pm or 11pm by calling 3313946149).

Guitar concerts at the National Museum of Musical Instruments (pretty appropriate, no?), at 8:30pm, 10pm and 11:30pm.

For more information and listings, click here.

Don't forget about all of those other music and museum events going on this fall, too!

 

 

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