When It’s Great to be a Woman in Italy

Festa della donna free museums in Italy

Yes, there might be sexism in Italy — even up to the highest levels of government. Yes, it might be so bad that primetime news shows routinely show half-naked women, that the country lags behind in every statistic from the gender gap in wages to the number of female politicians, and that a million women protested in a nationwide demonstration last month.

But at least this Tuesday, March 8, women get a break: For Festa della Donna, the traditional Italian holiday for women, all nationally-run monuments and museums will be free for females only. In Rome, that includes sites like the Colosseum and Palazzo Massimo.

Hey, it's something. Ladies: Take advantage!

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Rome’s Best Fall Events, from Art to Aperitivo

Rome has so many exciting events coming up this autumn, I decided not to fit it all in one post. I will be updating this one, though (unlike my early-autumn events list), so bookmark this and check back. Last updated: November 11.

Lots of these events involve the extended, or free, openings of old favorites — so plan ahead to save a buck and miss the crowds.

September 21-25. Archeojazz, with a guided tour followed by a live jazz performance at the Mausoleo di Cecilia Metella.

September 25-26. European Heritage Days are here!

Until October 3. Oktoberfest in Rome, with music and lots of beers on tap from 6pm each night. Located on Via Appia here. (It's not in the center).

Until October 29. The Vatican museums open at night. And each Friday in October, they'll have live concerts, too.

Until October 28. The Villa Farnesina, usually open only weekdays from 9am-1pm, is open every Thursday evening, with free guided tours, from 7:30pm-10pm. 

November 17. Budapest Bar-Urban Gipsy concert at the Museo dell'Ara Pacis at 9:30pm. Reservations are required (call 060608), and the concert is free.

November 20. Musei in Musica, with free live concerts (and a couple of dance performances) in 47 different museums and institutes in Rome.

November 27. Jazz Noir at the Museo di Roma in Trastevere, a free performance of music and noir lit reading at 5pm (with your €5 ticket to the museum).

Until December 2. RomaEuropa Festival. The annual festival, now in its 25th year, boasts a series of music, dance and theater performances. Highlights this year include a production of "Orpheus" with hip-hop music and music by Monteverdi and Philip Glass, the British rock group "The Irrepressibles," and Laurie Anderson's "Delusion," a multimedia series of mystery plays that include violin, puppetry, and visuals.

Until December 28. On the last Tuesday of each month, some museums and sites in Rome, including the Borghese, Barberini and Baths of Diocletian, will be open from 7pm-11pm for free.

Until January 8. Each weekend except for the Christmas holidays, the Centrale Montemartini hosts its "Central Notes" concerts. The food and wine tasting, plus concert, costs €8. The showings are on Fridays at 8pm and Saturdays at 10pm.

Until January 9, 2011. "The Two Empires: The Eagle and the Dragon," an exhibit comparing the ancient Roman and Chinese empires, is on at the Roman curia and, after November, Palazzo Venezia.

Until February 6. "Vincent Van Gogh: Campagna senza tempo e città moderna," an exhibit of Van Gogh's works, will be on at the Vittoriano.

Until February 13. Lucas Cranach: The Other Renaissance, an exhibit of Cranach's work in the Borghese gallery.

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On Tuesday Nights, Free Art Across Italy

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Just in case all of the fun events and free entrances on European Heritage Day (September 25-26) weren't enough for you, mark the last Tuesday of the month in your calendar, too.

That's because, on the last Tuesday each month through December 28, a series of state-run museums and sites will have late openings and free entrances. It's called "Martedi in Arte" and takes place across Italy. In Rome and Lazio, the following sites will be open from 7pm-11pm and will be free:

  • Palazzo Barberini, with its reopened archaeological exhibit, Via Quattro Fontane 13
  • Pantheon
  • Borghese Museum
  • Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Viale delle Belle Arti 131
  • Baths of Diocletian, Via Romita 8
  • Crypta Balbi, Via delle Botteghe Oscure 31
  • Museo Nazionale Romano and Palazzo Massimo, Largo di Villa Peretti 1
  • Palazzo Altemps, Via di S. Apollinare 44
  • Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo, Lungotevere Castello 50
  • Villa d’Este, Tivoli (shown above)
  • Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli
  • Necropoli, Strada Provinciale Monterozzi Marina, Tarquinia

To see which sites will be open elsewhere in Italy, check out this list on MiBAC's site (in Italian, but pretty self-explanatory).

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