As the centre of Italian cinema, the city’s cultural and historical wealth means that there is always something going on in Rome.
The city’s annual events calendar brims with food, music, film and national and religious celebrations. The various festivals in Rome encapsulate the old and the new, giving all kinds of audiences something to celebrate.
Expats who move to the city will find plenty of things to see and do and have many opportunities to rub shoulders with the locals, participate in the Italian capital’s cultural life and feel right at home.
Annual events in Rome
Blessing of the Animals on St Anthony Day (January)
A must-see for animal-loving expats, Roman Catholics from all over gather in the piazza outside San Anton Church and bring along their dogs, cats, ferrets and horses to receive their blessing. For a day, the area turns into a petting zoo, and the results can be pretty entertaining.
Easter at the centre of the Catholic Church is a momentous occasion. Tens of thousands of religious pilgrims descend upon the city, often to hear the Pope give his Easter Mass. Expats who would prefer to avoid the crowds can still enjoy the festive atmosphere that pervades the city during this time, along with the flower decorations that adorn the entire capital.
100 Painters of Via Margutta (April–May and October–November)
Via Margutta is a long, narrow street that cuts through the centre of Rome, housing art galleries and antique stores. Twice a year, the street is transformed into a public gallery as onlookers have free access to marvel at thousands of artworks by 100 selected local and international artists.
Natale di Roma (April)
Held on 21 April every year, the city celebrates its formation more than 2,000 years ago. Throughout the day, expats will be able to watch re-enactments of famous Roman battles – the most impressive of which occurs at the Circus Maximus, also known as the Colosseum. Many of the city’s museums and monuments allow visitors in for free, and spectators can also watch street parades and live music throughout the day. The event ends with a spectacular fireworks display in the evening, with the city’s most famous landmarks forming an impressive backdrop.
Italian Open (May)
The Italian Open is one of the world's most prestigious red-clay tennis tournaments, second only to the French Open. Here, tennis-loving expats can watch some of the game’s most famous names compete for the title.
Rome Summer Festival (June–September)
Held every year since 1977 and organised by the local government, the Estate Romana is a celebration of local culture in all its various forms. Attendees will be able to enjoy a diverse range of entertainment, from live music and theatre to films and performance art.
Feast of Noantri (July)
The Feast of Noantri is a traditional festival in the Trastevere district, celebrating the Madonna of Mount Carmel. The neighbourhood comes alive with religious processions, folk music and bustling street markets. Expats can immerse themselves in local traditions and savour authentic Roman cuisine at the numerous food stalls.
Romaeuropa Festival (September–November)
As one of Europe's most significant cultural festivals, Romaeuropa showcases a fusion of dance, theatre, music and art from international and avant-garde artists. Expats can engage with contemporary cultural expressions and witness groundbreaking performances at various venues across the city.
International Rome Film Festival (October)
With several events running concurrently, the festival celebrates films of various genres from all over the world and from Italy itself. Unlike other festivals where a jury chooses award winners, the biggest awards at the International Rome Film Festival are selected by the people, with spectators getting to vote for their favourite films, actors and actresses.
Are you an expat living in Rome?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Rome. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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