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Rome events in January 2022 - 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

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 2022:

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

January 1, New Year's Day, is a bank holiday as well as 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.

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 2022, the first day of winter sales in Rome is on Wednesday, January 5.

Perhaps this strategic decision was made to move the date to just before the Befana, due to the lack of Christmas markets this year.

The last day of winter sales is February 22, 2022.

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 several Rome events in January at various museums around the city:


Palazzo Braschi - Museum of Rome

Klimt - This exhibition marks the return to Italy of some of his masterpieces from Vienna and other locations around the world. 

Through March 27, 2022

Palazzo Braschi is on one end of Piazza Navona.

Open Mon - Fri 10 am - 8 pm; Sat - Sun 10 am - 10 pm.

13€ standard. 11€ reduced.

Advance booking strongly recommended.

inferno at scuderie

Scuderie al Quirinale

Inferno - in honor of the the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri.

More than 200 artworks depicting Hell. From public and private collections from across Europe.

Through January 9, 2022

Via XXIV Maggio 16.

Open: Sun - Thu 10am - 8pm; Fri - Sat 10am – 10:30pm. 

Full € 15; Reduced (ages 18-25) € 13

Free for anyone under 18, and anyone disabled and their care-giver, with written medical proof. 

Advanced booking is recommended. 

raphael domus aurea

Domus Aurea

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

Through 7 January 2022.

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

guido reni

Galleria Borghese

Guido Reni

Through February 2022

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


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.

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.

Sport/sporting Rome events in January

we run rome

Corsa degli Avanzi - Race of the leftovers

January 1, 2022, 10:15 am

This is a fun run with the goal of collecting any unopened leftovers you can donate to charity. It takes place at Rome's Ostia beach, and is followed by the New Years' Day swim - yes, in the ocean!

For details (in Italian), visit their website or Facebook page.

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 2022:

capitline museums she wolf

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

On Sunday January 2, 2022, 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.

Green Pass is required.

sistine chapel

As of January 2022, the Vatican Museums are bringing back the Free Sunday!

In 2022, the Vatican Museums will be free and open on Sunday January 30Expect 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.

Free Sunday Rome events in January 2023

NO FREE SUNDAY January 2022

Due to Post-Covid-lockdown new opening rules at Rome sites, there are currently no free dates at Rome's state museums, which include the Colosseum.

We DO have the Free Sunday at Rome's civic museums and at the Vatican Museums (see above.)

You may wish to refer to the free Rome events in January below if you are planning to visit in January  2023 as these will hopefully 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 January 2022, there are no free dates to visit the Colosseum.

The Colosseum will be free on the first Sunday of the month.

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.

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). In 2022, the attendance to these masses will be limited to comply with Coronavirus restrictions.

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, 2022 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.

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.

Sunday early 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. 

Wednesday evenings. From 25€.

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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pin rome january events 2022

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