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Rome events in August 2021 - Holidays, exhibits, concerts, and other things to do

Rome events in August start with the big one - ferragosto, August 15.

In fact, you could almost say that the whole month of August in Rome and the rest of Italy revolves around this one day. And in a way it's true.

roman forum view in augustEven if August in Rome can be hot and quiet, there is still a lot happening and a lot to do.

But aside from being thought of as the month Italians take their vacations, there's actually a lot to do in Rome in August, like concerts, night visits, and the Summerfest along the Tiber.

Find out all the things to see and do in Rome in August.

Rome events in August - What's happening

August can be a great month to visit Rome. Yes, it is hot in August but it also tends to be a quiet month, since so many Italians leave the city. And despite a few restaurants and shops closing, there is still a lot to see and do.

Keep reading for more info about the best Rome events in August 2021:

Holidays in Rome in August

There is one holiday in August, and only one, that counts - Ferragosto, August 15, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

It used to be that the entire country of Italy would almost completely shut down for the whole month of August, but these days, you'll really only find things closed on August 15.

rome august restaurant closingSome classic Rome restaurants still close for the entire month of August, but you won't be without great places to eat.

Yes, some shops and restaurants close in August, but more and more are staying open for longer, so you won't be without places to eat or shop.

And most sites are open on August 15, with the exception of the Vatican Museums.

Click here to read more about ferragosto, what it means, and how it started.

Current exhibits at Rome's museums in August

There are several Rome events in August at various museums around the city. These are confirmed for 2021:

raphael domus aurea

Domus Aurea

Raphael and the Domus Aurea - the invention of the Grotesque.

Through 31 December, 2021.

Monday - Thursday, accompanied site visit. 12€ adult.

Friday - Sunday, guided visit including the workspace. 18€ adult.

Free for anyone under 6, and anyone disabled and their care-giver, with written medical proof. 

Advanced booking is required

galleria borghese damien hirst

Galleria Borghese

Damien Hirst - Archaeology Now

Through 7 November, 2021.

Open: Tuesday - Sunday 9 am - 7 pm. Closed Mondays

Full € 13; Reduced (Europeans ages 18-25) € 2; 

Advanced booking is required

mausoleum of augustus

The Mausoleum of Augustus

Through 31 December, 2021.

Open daily but with availability only for the following few weeks at a time.

5€ full price. Free for Rome residents, children under 6, tour guides, and many other categories. For a full list, click the below link.

Advanced booking is required

torlonia marbles capitoline museum

EXTENDED! - Capitoline Museums

The Torlonia Marbles. Collecting Masterpieces

Visit this stunning exhibit of one of the most important private collections of ancient sculptures.

Through 9 January, 2022 the exhibition I marmi Torlonia, Collecting masterpieces is open in the new exhibition space of the Capitoline Museums, in Villa Caffarelli.

Advanced booking is required.

bansky chiostro del bramante

Chiostro del Bramante

All about Bansky: Exhibition 2

Through 9 January 2022.

Chiostro del Bramante is just behind Piazza Navona.

Open daily 10 am - 9 pm.

15€ Weekdays. 18 Saturdays and Sundays.

Advance booking required.

centrale montemartini mosaics

Centrale Montemartini

Colors of the Romans. Mosaics from the Capitoline Collections.

Through 15 September 2021.

Open Tuesday - Sunday 9 am - 7 pm. Closed Mondays.

16€ regular priced tickets.

Advance booking suggested.

palazzo braschi

Palazzo Braschi

Rome - Birth of a capital 1870 - 1915 - at the beautiful Palazzo Braschi.

Through 26 September, 2021.

Palazzo Braschi is on one end of Piazza Navona.

Open Mon - Fri 10am - 7pm; Sat - Sun 10am - 19pm.

11€ standard. 9€ reduced.

Advance booking strongly recommended.

palazzo barberini

Palazzo Barberini

Tempo Barocco - visit the newest 8 rooms in this stunning, usually empty museum, with a focus on the Baroque, including masterpieces by Bernini, Guido Reni, Domenichino, and many others.

Through 3 October, 2021.

Open Tuesday - Sunday 10 am - 6 pm. Closed Mondays.

10€ standard. 2€ reduced (Europeans 18 - 25). Free for anyone under 18.

Advance booking strongly recommended.

Trajan's Market

Napoleon and the Myth of Rome

Through 7 November, 2021.

Coinciding with the 200th year of Napoleon Bonaparte's death, this wonderful exhibit showcases the emperor's relationship with Rome and the ancient Romans.

Advanced booking is recommended.

The perfect 3-day itinerary in Rome

Trying to figure out how to organize your visit to Rome? I've got the perfect 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors (or those who have not been here in a while.) It works for a 2.5 day visit as well.

In my 3-day itinerary, you'll see all the major must-see Rome attractions like the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant'Angelo, and much more.

And if you have more time, or want suggestions for extra/other things to do, you'll find that there too.

Visit my page with the best 3-day itinerary in Rome for first-timers.

Visit my dedicated pages for all the summer months in Rome

Rome events in August - Free things to do

If you're looking for some fun Rome events in August that are free, there are very few so far confirmed for 2021.

The below are either confirmed or pending for 2021.

Please check back as I will be monitoring all these and other possible events:

rome tiber summerfest

One of the best Rome events in August is the Roma estate Lungotevere.

From early June through the end of August, enjoy the annual outdoor festival, Roma Estate Lungotevere, along the banks of the Tiber River.

Entry is free, but you can also eat, drink, listen to music, watch movies and shop. Prices vary. On both sides of the Tiber, between Ponte Garibaldi and Ponte Sublicio (entries near Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere.) Click the photo to the left for a full program including cinema showings. 

loggia of santa maria maggiore with mosaic

If you are in Rome on August 5, you can visit the papal basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (Saint Mary Major), and join in the fun as they re-create the miraculous snowfall that happened in the year 352, which was a sign to Pope Liberius that he should build a church on the spot where it snowed.

The photo depicts the 13th century mosaic in the loggia that tells the story of the miraculous snowfall.

Either attend Mass (10 am) or Vespers (5 pm) inside the basilica, where you will see white flower petals rain down from the ceiling, or come to the piazza outside for a 9 pm "snowfall" created by a foam machine.

meteor shower

San Lorenzo was martyred in Rome on August 10, 258 CE by being burnt on a grill (the grill is visible in one of the many churches dedicated to him, San Lorenzo in Lucina.)

On the nights between August 10-13, more or less, you should be able to see some falling stars that are part of the Perseid meteor shower. This phenomenon is associated with the saint as it's said shooting stars are his tears.

Visit Rome's Parks and gardens

August is a beautiful time to visit a park or garden in Rome (and cool down!)


Do you want to see Pope Francis in Rome in August? You may be in luck! In recent history, popes have spent their summers outside of Rome, in the Papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. However, Pope Francis has yet to take a summer holiday there.

Since August 2015 Pope Francis has held audiences throughout August in the Pope Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican.

No tickets are necessary to attend the Papal audience during the month of August. The same plan is in place for 2021 (not yet confirmed).

And on August 15, a major Catholic holiday, you may attend the Angelus in St. Peter's Square for free. It begins at noon.

Click here to read more about seeing the Pope in Rome.

Free Rome events in August 2022

NO FREE SUNDAY August 2021

Due to Post-Covid-lockdown new opening rules at Rome sites, there are currently no "free" dates at any sites or museums.

You may wish to refer to the free Rome events in August below if you are planning to visit in August 2022 as these are likely to have free dates by then.

As things evolve, I'll update you about opening rules and possible free dates as we go month to month.

In recent years, we've enjoyed the "Free Sunday," in which state sites and museums were free the first Sunday of the month, and the Vatican Museums were free the last Sunday of the month.

In August 2021, we will not have any free dates, but hopefully this will return by August 2022.


In August 2021, there are no free dates to visit the Colosseum.

The Colosseum will be free on xxx.

You can expect the Colosseum to be pretty much a mob scene. I'd highly recommend visiting one of the other sites that is also free on this day, like the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill, or Ostia Antica.

sistine chapel

In August 2021, there are no free dates to visit the Vatican.

On the last Sunday of the month, the Vatican Museums are open and free. Hours are reduced (9:30am - 2pm, with last entry at 12:30pm). Expect long lines.

If you are on a budget, or have limited time, this can be a great opportunity. 

You cannot buy tickets in advance for the Free Sunday, but you can book a tour of the museums through the Vatican. If you don't want to book this tour, just come early. By early I mean by 8am.

But otherwise I recommend you book your visit ahead of time and pay to go another day.

Nighttime things to do in Rome in August

The below nighttime Rome events in August are mostly outdoor things to do in Rome (except for visiting the Vatican Museums on Fridays.)

They are not free and should be booked in advance.

The Vatican Museums are open Friday and Saturday until 10:30 pm (Mon - Thu until 6:30 pm). Last entry 2 hrs prior to closing time.

The ticket is a regular ticket and must be booked in advance.

Click here to book your tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel on Friday night.

viaggio nei fori

The wonderful Viaggio Nei Fori, a nighttime light show on the via dei Fori Imperiali, is one of my favorite nighttime Rome events in August.

This hour-long show highlights the life of Rome's first emperor, Octavian Augustus.

Through 7 November 2021. 

Click here to purchase tickets.

night tour of imperial forums

This is a fantastic visit inside the Imperial Forums, and one of my favorite Rome events in August. You'll have a short guided walk through Trajan's Forum and the Forum of Julius Ceasar. It's all lit up and there are some effects to bring the space to life.

It's a truly fantastic immersive visit to Ancient Rome.

June 24 - September 26, 2021, every night. Visit are every 20 minutes, spaced from 18:30 - 21:50, and last 1.5 hours. Max 9 people per visit.

4€ adults, free for MIC card holders.

Advanced booking recommended.

colosseum night

Visit the Colosseum at night.

From now through October 31, 2021, you can visit the Colosseum at night. I'd say this is one of the very best Rome events in August as you get to see the Colosseum lit up at night, and it's much less crowded than during the day.

Entry for night visits to the Colosseum is NOT part of the Roma Pass.

NB - They don't usually open this on Coopculture until right before the event so if you don't see availability for when you want to go, check back.

gladiator battle show

When in Rome . . . why not attend a gladiator battle? This fantastic show is produced by the Gruppo Storico Romanowith professional re-enactors, and real weapons and armor.

Take your seat in the re-constructed arena, not far from the Colosseum, and enjoy realistic gladiator fights, and other shows including ancient dances, rites of the Vesta, and more.

At the end of the show, you'll be treated to a small aperitif consisting of food and drink made with recipes from Ancient Rome.

Fridays and Sundays. 25€.

gay village

From early June through mid September 2021, everyone is welcome to Gay Village, one of Rome's largest LGBT festivals of the year, held in EUR.

Open daily, there will be dance, music, nightclub and other live outdoor events. Sunday - Wednesday, from 6pm. Thursday - Saturday, from 7pm.

Restaurants and cocktail bars are also on-site.

Tickets required.

Click the photo on the left for events schedule, directions and tickets. 

For more nighttime Rome events in August, start here:

Ready to plan your trip?

Rome events in August - Concerts, operas, shows

baths caracalla summer opera

The opera/concerts normally held at Baths of Caracalla will be held in Circus Maximus (see below for schedule and tickets.) The schedule for the baths has been postponed to 2022 and beyond.

Click here to see a schedule of concerts and shows and to purchase tickets from 2022.

rome opera

The Rome Opera House is OPEN. Some shows are being held at Circus Maximus.

Click here to see current shows and to purchase tickets.

casa del jazz

Summer Jazz at Casa del Jazz

Now through 26 September 2021.

See the program here.

Jazz at the Colosseum

August 12 - September 28, 2021, Rome's famed jazz club, Alexanderplatz, is hosting outdoor jazz overlooking the Colosseum.

To book, phone or send WhatsApp to +39 338 7070737, or send them an email.

celimontana jazz

Celimontana Jazz

Now through 10 September, 2021.

100 free jazz concerts. Open nightly and Sundays for brunch (a first!)

Plenty of food and drink to purchase.

See the program here.

opera pass

Get your Rome Opera Pass to choose from a number of shows inside a scenic and suggestive setting in central Rome (locations vary).

These wonderful opera singers put on a mini-production of various operas, often in full costume.

concerts at marcellus theater

Enjoy outdoor concerts at Teatro di Marcello in Rome's Jewish Ghetto.

From 1 July - 30 September 2021.

Advance booking required.

For more concerts and music Rome events in August, click here to visit Get Your Guide.

Tours to take in Rome in August

August is such a hot month that taking a tour can be a great way to maximize your time and limit your exhaustion.

Most tours are 2-3 hours at most, and go either early morning or late afternoon. A good guide will keep you focused so you enjoy the sites and get back out of the heat.

For tours to take in August, start here:

Day trips to take in Rome in August

August is a wonderful time to take a day trip, especially if you are looking to beat the heat in Rome.

We have lots of options for places to visit which you can easily reach within 1-2 hours of Rome. For organized day trips, visit Get Your Guide.

Activities with kids in Rome in August

August is when many families travel to Rome thanks to school breaks. There are plenty of tours and activities in Rome geared to children of all ages.

If you're looking for some fun activities with kids, start here:

I've listed some of what I think are the most fun and interesting Rome events in August, and most central. For a complete list of Rome events in August, visit the website of the Rome Tourist Board.

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