The 9 Best Festivals and Events in Rome

Written by Rem Malloy, since 1995 Rem has been guiding and designing trips to Italy and all of Western Europe and is considered an expert in his field for over 30 years.

Home > Blog > The 9 Best Festivals and Events in Rome

Rome Trevi Fountain

Rome attracts visitors with its historical marvels, fine foods and enchanting setting. However, if you want to elevate your visit to the Italian capital, consider timing your tour of Rome with one of the many events that take place in the city. Attending celebrations, rubbing shoulders with locals and taking part in traditional activities in Rome are some of the best ways to ensure you have a monumental experience. 

In this guide, we highlight the top 9 festivals in Rome that occur throughout the year. We showcase some of the best traditional Italian festivals and celebrations in Rome that will immerse you in the local culture. We also discuss the best summer events in Rome and present some of the best cultural festivals in Rome that are ideal for those who want to immerse themselves in all things film, art and food. 

So if you’re keen to dive headfirst into the thrilling events in Rome, read on to discover what splendid experiences await in the Eternal City.

The Best Traditional Italian Festivals in Rome

One of the best reasons to visit Rome is to experience traditional Italian festivals and soak up the vibrant culture of the city. From parades and religious processions, these colorful events are some of the best things to see in Rome. 

Carnevale

Carnevale in Rome, as in many other places, is a festive season leading up to Lent. It typically takes place in February and ends on Shrove Tuesday, but exact dates will vary based on the liturgical calendar. It is one of the most significant festivals in Italy and while Venice is known for its lavish Carnevale celebrations, Rome embraces the festive energy just as eagerly.  

The festivities include colorful parades, masquerade balls, street performances and various entertainment activities. Historic landmarks of Rome, like Piazza Navona, burst into life as revelers don intricate costumes and ornate masks. These masks often reflect historical figures and traditional characters in Italian culture. 

Carnevale in Rome is suitable for all kinds of travelers, whether you’re visiting on your own or with family. There are often puppet shows and face painting, which makes it a great event in Italy for families with young children. It offers visitors a chance to experience the joyful atmosphere and experience local Italian traditions

Natale di Roma

Another traditional Italian festival that showcases the rich culture of Rome is Natale di Roma, also known as the Birthday of Rome. It is celebrated on April 21st and marks the traditional founding date of the city in 753 BCE by the legendary Romulus. The celebration is rooted in the myth of Romulus and Remus, two brothers raised by a she-wolf who would later establish the city of Rome. 

During the celebrations, visitors can attend historical reenactments, concerts and parades which promise to inspire. Natale di Roma is a great event in Italy as it brings together locals and tourists who can experience the fascinating history of Rome through cultural activities. 

The main event of Natale di Roma is the ceremony on Capitoline Hill. This ceremony often includes the reenactment of ancient rituals and the offering of flowers at the Capitoline Wolf statue. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in Rome’s ancient past and learn more about the legacy of Romulus.

Epiphany (La Befana)

One of the most traditional events in Rome is Epiphany, celebrated on January 6th. This is a Christian holiday that commemorates the visit of the Three Kings to the infant Jesus. A main feature of this Italian festival is processions that include floats, costumes and representations of the Three Kings. 

In Rome, Epiphany is a public holiday marked by religious processions, particularly around St. Peter’s Square. One of the main ceremonies of the event is the Papal Mass held by The Pope at St. Peter’s Basilica. Many gather here to receive The Pope’s blessing and participate in the spiritual ambiance. 

In Italy, Epiphany is also associated with the figure of La Befana, a witch in Italian folklore who is said to bring gifts to children on the evening of January 5th. During the celebrations, you will see parades with individuals dressed as La Befana, offering sweets to children. This makes it a great event in Rome for families and is certain to entertain all.

The Best Summer Events in Rome

It’s no secret that summer is one of the most popular times to visit Rome. With gorgeous weather and an influx of tourists, it’s the perfect time to attend some amazing events in Rome. From the cultural wonders of Lungo il Tevere to the colorful Festival of Green and Landscape, summer is one of the best times to visit Rome for sensational Italian festivals.  

Lungo il Tevere

Translated to English as ‘Along the Tiber River’, Lungo il Tevere is a popular summer festival in Rome. The festival transforms the riverside of the Tiber into a vibrant and lively cultural space from June to September. The event usually takes place after sunset and makes for an excellent evening activity while visiting Rome in the summer. 

The festival is characterized by stalls and kiosks set up along the Tiber River between Ponte Sisto and Ponte Mazzini. These stalls offer a variety of goods, including arts and crafts, clothing, accessories, and traditional Italian foods. There is also a range of entertainment such as live performances, theater shows and dance acts. 

Lungo il Tevere often features art installations, exhibitions, and cultural displays, contributing to the festival’s vibrant and creative ambiance. What’s more, many riverside venues turn into open-air bars and restaurants, making Lungo il Tevere a must for those seeking to experience the nightlife in Rome.

Festa dei Noantri

A standout event in Rome is Festa dei Noantri, a traditional Roman festival celebrated in the Trastevere district during July. It has deep roots in the local culture and is a significant event for the neighborhood residents. It emphasizes the strong sense of community that is evident within Trastevere. 

The festival begins with a procession through the streets where a statue of the Madonna del Carmine is displayed for the attendees. This is a chance for locals to express their devotion to the Madonna and is a central part of the celebrations. After parading through the narrow alleys, the statue is then guided down the River Tiber in a stunning maritime procession. 

The festival typically lasts for a few days and brings a vibrant atmosphere to Trastevere. Visitors can explore stalls that pop up throughout the district and even experience traditional folk music and performances which fill the air with captivating songs. This is also an excellent time to try traditional Roman cuisine and local delicacies.

Festival of Green and Landscape

Known as “Festival del Verde e del Paesaggio” in Italian, this festival occurs in April or May, just before the summer high season and is an absolute must for any green-thumbed travelers. The event is dedicated to promoting sustainable living, environmental issues and landscape architecture. It is held in the Auditorium Parco della Musica, but often features competitions where locals will decorate their balconies in greenery.   

During the event, visitors can explore a range of exhibitions and installations that showcase the innovation of local designers. There are also talks and workshops where you can learn about reconnecting with nature and leading a slower-paced lifestyle. There is also a market on site where visitors can purchase delicious food and snacks for a lovely outdoor picnic. 

It is worth noting that the dates of this event in Rome can sometimes change, in 2023 the event was pushed forward to March. Be sure to check the official website for up-to-date information about exhibitions, timings and schedules.

The Best Cultural Events in Rome 

As the capital of Italy, Rome hosts an array of cultural events throughout the year which showcase its wonderful heritage and artistic achievements. From the show stopping Romaeuropa Festival to the delectable Taste of Roma event, there are plenty of celebrations in Rome that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture. 

Romaeuropa

One of the most prestigious events in Rome is the Romaeuropa Festival. This multidisciplinary arts festival usually takes place in autumn and features stellar performances in music, dance, theater, and contemporary art. The festival showcases both local and international artists and aims to bring together the creative community. 

The performances at Romaeuropa are innovative and experimental, offering visitors a truly unique and boundary-pushing experience. The event takes place across multiple venues in Rome, including theaters and unconventional spaces which complement the outstanding performances. 

The Romaeuropa festival fosters cultural exchange by bringing together people from all different walks of life. There are often multimedia displays and interactive exhibits which engage the audience and allow them to immerse themselves in this bounty of culture.

The Roman Colosseum

Taste of Roma

One of the best events in Rome for foodies is Taste of Roma, a culinary event where top chefs, restaurants, and food producers come together to showcase their creations. This delectable festival is a celebration of Rome’s vibrant food scene and allows visitors to sample a wide array of Italian dishes. It typically takes place in September after the peak summer season. 

The Tate of Roma festival is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the culinary culture of Rome. Visitors can attend gourmet tastings from top restaurants in Rome and experience the expertise of renowned chefs. There are also live cooking demonstrations where skilled chefs share their techniques and tips which will inspire your cooking.  

Taste of Roma is an ideal event for those who want to learn more about Roman cuisine and discover the stories behind traditional dishes. With such a delicious array of food on offer and an amiable atmosphere that brings everyone together, this is certainly a celebration in Rome that you don’t want to miss.

Festa Del Cinema di Roma

Our final event is the Festa Del Cinema di Roma or ‘The Rome Film Fest’. This annual film festival is hotly anticipated in the international film scene and attracts filmmakers, actors, and film enthusiasts from around the world. It is usually held in October and takes place over several days, with plenty of activities that will appeal to film buffs. 

The main venue for the film festival is the Auditorium Parco della Musica, which accentuates the atmosphere with its gorgeous setting. Visitors can attend screenings of feature films, documentaries and short films which encompass a range of genres and languages. The films showcased are exceptionally varied, with works from major filmmakers as well as emerging ones. 

There are also plenty of other features that make Festa Del Cinema di Roma an unmissable event. Visitors can marvel at red-carpet events where international film stars attend screenings. Likewise, there are also workshops and classes from top filmmakers and industry leaders. Anyone visiting Rome who is interested in cinema will have a fabulous time at this one-of-a-kind film festival.

Summary

Beyond its tourist offering, Rome captivates visitors with its exceptional array of events and festivals that are perfect for adding some flair to your trip. Traditional celebrations in Rome like Carnivale and La Befana are an excellent way to learn more about the local culture and history. 

If you’re visiting Rome in summer, be sure to attend the splendid Lungo il Tevere for some evening leisure and head to Trastevere for the joyous celebrations of Festa dei Noantri. If you want to immerse yourself in the culture of Rome, events like Romaeuropa and Taste of Roma are a great way to experience a different aspect of the city and enjoy unique activities in Rome.

No matter what your preferences are, you are certain to find a festival in Rome that inspires you and leaves you with fond memories of this incredible city. 

To find out more about events in Rome and get planning your perfect tour of the Eternal City, contact Italy4Real and speak to a member of our expert team.

About the Author

Rem Malloy started Italy4real back in 1995 with his mother, Deborah de Maio.

He specialises in Italian tours as well as customised tours to France, England, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Greece and Spain. He was also featured in the Travel Channel show Mysteries at The Museum in 2016.

Rem has family in Italy and his mothers home town is Cava di Terrani, near the Amalfi Coast. The family has a street named after them in Sorrento, Via Luigi de Maio; a relative who was mayor of Sorrento.

Other Blog Posts You Might Like

Enquire