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Rome events in January 2023 - Holidays, exhibits, concerts, and other things to do

Rome events in January include New Years' Day and the all-important last day of the Christmas season, January 6, the Befana.

But there are a few other fun things happening this month, as well.

blessing of the animals at the vaticanOne of my favorite happenings in January in Rome is the Blessing of the Animals at the Vatican. Find out all the events and things to do in Rome in January.

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

Rome events in January - What's happening


In 2023, January 1 is a Sunday and the Free Sunday will be on - sites and museums across Italy, including the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and many more, are open on this New Year's Day, January 1.

January is a great time to visit Rome for a lot of reasons, whether you are here at the beginning of the month for the holidays, or more towards the middle or end of the month for a more quiet experience.

January weather in Rome is cool, which makes it comfortable for sight-seeing. It's also a good time to enjoy some hot Roman lunches and dinners indoors with some good wine.

Keep reading for more info about the best Rome events in January 2023:

Holidays and special dates in Rome in January

Besides the obvious holiday dates New Year's Day and January 6, there are a few other important Rome events in January to note:

January 1 - New Years Day


In 2023, January 1 is a Sunday and the Free Sunday will be on - sites and museums across Italy, including the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and many more, are open on this New Year's Day, January 1.

January 1, New Year's Day, is a bank holiday after the festivities of New Year's Eve as well as a religious holiday. Many shops are closed, but sites are open (except for the Vatican Museums.)

No matter what day of the week January 1 falls on, Rome is busy on the dates surrounding it and pretty much through about the first week of January.

At noon, you can head to St. Peter's Square to hear Pope Francis give the Angelus (free, lasting about 15 minutes.) 

January 6 - Epiphany / BEFANA

January 6 marks the end of the Christmas holidays. In some countries, including Italy, it's known as the Epiphany or as the Day of the Kings.

In Italy, it's also known as the Befana, who is an ugly but good witch who goes around bringing toys to children. In fact, many Italian children expect to open gifts on this day as opposed to December 25.

You can enjoy the atmosphere in Piazza Navona, when there is a Christmas market.

You can also head to via della Conciliazione near the Vatican and watch a small procession of people in costume. See Vatican events below for more.

Don't forget to bring these essential travel items with you!

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Winter sales!

winter sales in romeOne of the most awaited Rome events in January is the beginning of winter sales, called "saldi" in Italian.

In Italy, we have big sales twice a year, once in summer and once in winter. Look for the signs that say "Saldi."

Winter sales used to start on the first Saturday in January.

In 2023, the first day of winter sales in Rome is January 5.

The last day of winter sales is February 15, 2023.

Current exhibits and events at Rome's museums in January

The cooler fall and winter months are a great time to take in the arts and some art indoors. Some museums stay open later on the weekends.

There are many Rome events in January at various museums around the city, including:

Bonaparte Van Gogh

Palazzo Bonaparte

Van Gogh

Sixty works - including the famous self-portrait - and numerous biographical testimonies reconstruct the human and artistic history of the sensitive Dutch painter, today universally celebrated but with a tormented life.

8 October 2022 to 26 March 2023

Regular hours:

Monday to Friday from 09.00 - 19.00

Saturday and Sunday 09.00 - 21.00

Book your tickets here.

Cursus Honorum

Capitoline Museums

Domitian Emperor. Hatred and love

An important archaeological exhibition dedicated to the ancient Roman emperor Domitian.

13 July 2022 to 29 January 2023

Advanced booking is required.

The Colours of the Ancient Santarelli Marbles

The exhibition in the Palazzo Clementino rooms at the Capitoline Museums presents a wonderful selection of over 660 polychrome marbles from the imperial age.

13 April 2022 to 30 April 2023

Book here

Cursus Honorum: the government of Rome before Caesar

This exhibition focuses on the public offices of magistrates of the Republican age, the cursus honorum, a fundamental aspect of the political life of ancient Rome.

24 March 2022 to 23 April 2023

Book here

stone painting borghese

Galleria Borghese

A Timeless Wonder: Painting on Stone in Rome in the Seventeenth Century

The Borghese Gallery presents a suggestive exhibition dedicated to the invention of painting on stone, inspired by Sebastiano del Piombo. The great Venetian painter began to paint on more resistant supports than the canvas following the loss of numerous works of art during the Sack of Rome in 1527.

25 October 2022 to 29 January 2023

Find out more here

bob dylan retrospectrum

MAXXI Museum 

Bob Dylan Retrospectrum

The first European monographic exhibition exploring the broad oeuvre of Bob Dylan, an iconic figure whose talent and work span across mediums and disciplines.

16 December 2022 to 30 April 2023

Read more and book tickets here.

mausoleum of augustus

The Mausoleum of Augustus


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

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

Advanced booking is required.

forum troy exhibition

Parco Colosseo (Roman Forum)

The Journey of Aeneas: From Troy to Rome

Within the Temple of Romulus in the Roman Forum a new exhibition explores the myth of Aeneas and his contribution to Rome.

No additional ticket needed in addition to the regular entry to the Palatine Hill/Roman Forum/Colosseum park.

15 December 2022 to 10 April 2023

Find out more here.

pietro cascella exhibition

Villa Torlonia

Pietro Cascella Unedited

In the Villa Torlonia museum this exhibition tells a little-known chapter in the history of the artist Pietro Cascella through more than one hundred works, many of which have never been seen before.

1 December 2022 to 19 March 2023

Discover more details and how to book your tickets here.

incanto di luci

Incanto di Luci

This incredible experience has taken over the Orto Botanico in Trastevere, where you can explore a 1.5km illuminated trail and the enchanted gardens.

19 November 2022 to 8 January 2023

Book your entry tickets

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 Rome's Parks and gardens

While January can be a cold month, it can still be a beautiful time to visit a park or garden in Rome, and they are all open in winter.

Rome events in January - Free things to do

If you're looking for some fun Rome events in January that are free, the below are confirmed for 2023:

capitline museums she wolf

The first Sunday of the month, Rome's Civic Museums are free for everyone.

On Sunday January 1, 2023 you can visit the Capitoline Museums, Ara Pacis, Villa Torlonia, Trajan's Market and many others for free. For more details and booking, click the link below to visit the official site.

Advance booking is required.

sistine chapel

As of January 2022, the Vatican Museums have brought back the Free Sunday!

In 2023, the Vatican Museums will be free and open on Sunday January 29. Expect large crowds on this day, even in January.

St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Square are free and open daily.

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.


In January 2023, the Colosseum and other state-run sites/museums will be open and free to enter on the first Sunday of the month, January 1.

This is a special opening, normally sites are closed on New Years Day, but for 2023 the Italian Ministry of Culture announced the extraordinary free opening!

Vatican events in January

vatican square in january

On January 1, you can head to St. Peter's Square for the Angelus.

At noon, Pope Francis appears in one of the windows, and address the crowds.

It's free, and lasts about 15 minutes. Expect large crowds.

inside saint peter's basilica

There will be papal masses held on January 1 (Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God), January 6 (Epiphany). 

If you want to try to get tickets to attend any of these masses, visit my page about Seeing the Pope in Rome.

befana procession

On the BefanaJanuary 6, which is the Epiphany (Day of the Kings), you can watch a mini-procession called "Viva la Befana" along the street leading up to St. Peter's Square, Via della Conciliazione.

Starting at about 10am (but you should get there earlier for a decent viewing position), there will be a little procession, with people dressed in period costume, that will sort of re-enact the visit of the 3 Wise Men.

Great thing to do with kids!

blessing of the animals

January 17, 2023 is the celebration of Sant'Antonio Abate in St. Peter's Square. I have been and it's absolutely wonderful!

It's the "Blessing of the Animals" and many farmers bring their farm animals, but also locals bring their pets. You will also see a big parade of officials on horseback, in all their regalia.

Outside the square, a cardinal gives a prayer and blesses the animals. It's quite festive. When I went once, a man brought his turtle and lo and behold, the cardinal blessed it!

Nighttime things to do in Rome in January

In Rome in January the evenings can be pretty chilly and of course it gets dark early.

But that doesn't mean you cannot enjoy the city after the sun goes down! 

For nighttime tours and Rome events in January, visit Viator.

Rome events in January - Concerts, operas, shows

rome opera

Enjoy the opera in Rome in January, right in Rome's beautiful Teatro dell'Opera (Opera House.)

rome auditorium

At the Rome Auditorium, you can attend wonderful concerts and other events.

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.

capuchin crypt

Visit the extraordinary Capuchin Crypt, then head into the recently restored church to listen to sacred music in a gorgeous setting.

Wednesday afternoons.

rooftop aperitivo and opera

Don't miss this unique opera + aperitivo on one of Rome's most amazing rooftops, the Borromini Terrace. Combine beautiful music, with the stunning baroque setting on Piazza Navona, and a special aperitivo, to make for a fabulous evening in Rome.

There's a maximum 30 people (including an art historian guide), to keep this experience exclusive and special.

Friday evenings.

3 tenors - nessun dorma

The Three Tenors - Nessun Dorma

See the "Three Tenors" in a beautiful church setting.

You will be treated to three of Rome's most famous tenors singing some of the best-known and loved songs of Neapolitan opera, accompanied by the Mandolin Orchestra.

Music from La Traviata, Rigoletto, Tosca, and many others. 

Saturday evenings. From 25€.

rooftop and aperitivo piazza navona

Enjoy private access to one of Rome's most exclusive rooftops right on Piazza Navona, while sipping your aperitivo and listening to Italian opera classics from Verdi, Rossini, and Puccini.

Tuesday and Sunday early evenings.

New Years DAY Concerts

3 tenors new years

The Three Tenors - Enjoy a New Year's Day Concert in Rome in the beautiful Caravita Church in the center of Rome.

The singers are some of Rome's most talented, and they do credit to the original Three Tenors. 

January 1, 2023, 9pm. From €58. 

Great for families; wheelchair accessible.

Sparkling wine after the concert is included.

new years concert with opera

Greet the new year in Rome with a beautiful lyrical concert of classic opera and concert music, performed by the renowned I Virtuosi dell'opera di Roma inside the Church of St Paul within the Walls.

Works include pieces by Puccini, Strauss, Rossini, Verdi, Mozart, and many more.

January 1, 2023. From €37.

Great for families; wheelchair accessible.

concert in santa chiara

Opera Concert at the Palazzo Santa Chiara

Enjoy opera in the small, elegant auditorium of 17th century Palazzo Santa Chiara, known for its excellent acoustics.

Head to this hidden gem right behind the Pantheon, grab a cocktail at the intimate bar inside, then sit back and enjoy some beautiful music.

January 1, 2023, 7:30 PM (other dates also available).

arias concert

"The Most Beautiful Opera Arias" Concert

Immerse yourself in Italian opera and enjoy compositions by famous composers such as Puccini, Bellini, and Mascagni.

This intimate concert is held in the Ponte Sant Angelo Methodist Church, a venue with exceptional acoustics just across from Castel Sant'Angelo.

January 1, 2023, 7:30 PM (other dates also available).

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

Tours to take in Rome in January

January can be really busy in the first part of the month.

So booking a tour is a good way to make sure you get tickets to the sites you want to visit, and also get to enjoy them without fighting the crowds too much.

And even if it's not too crowded, a tour is a great way to see the sights and get to know a bit about them as you go.

For tours to take in January, start here:

Day trips to take in Rome in January

January is a wonderful time to take a day trip, especially if you want to try some food/wine ventures outside 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 January

Whether you are visiting Rome in January for the holidays or just for a short getaway, if you are coming with kids, 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 January, and most central. For a complete list of Rome events in January, visit the website of the Rome Tourist Board.

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