Rome events in May 2024 - Holidays, exhibits, concerts, and other things to do

Rome events in May include May Day, BNL Tennis, and Rome's Roseto Rose Garden!

roseto rose garden in mayOne of my favorite things about Rome in May is the beautiful Roseto Rose Garden on the Aventine Hill.

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

Rome events in May 2024 - What's happening

I love Rome in May for a lot of reasons, like the beautiful spring weather, longer days, and flowers in bloom all over the city, making the air smell so sweet.

May weather in Rome can still be cooler than many people expect, which makes it comfortable for sight-seeing.

It's also lovely weather for eating outdoors even in the evening. 

Here are the best Rome events in May 2024:

Holidays and special dates in Rome in May

The main holiday to know about in Rome in May is May 1, or May Day.

But there are also some new openings and other special and interesting things to see and do in Rome in May.

may 1 or May Day

May 1 is a national holiday called International Workers' Day, or May Day.

It's celebrated throughout most European countries and is a kind of Labor Day.

I find that Romans enjoy it more than anything as a day for a picnic or big outdoor lunch.

What's closed on May 1, 2024:

What's open on May 1, 2024:

Flowers in Rome in May

Flowers are blooming all over the city and it smells wonderful! 

roses in roman forumThe Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are bursting with flowers in Rome in May.

Here are some special places to see flowers in Rome in May:

Rome's Roseto Rose Garden

Rome's Roseto Rose Garden on the Aventine Hill is open through the month of May (actually it opens on April 21 and closes in early-June. And in recent years, it's also been reopening for a couple of weeks in mid-October.)

But May is when you will see the roses at their most beautiful and in full bloom.

It's not only free, but it's usually fairly uncrowded.

roseto rose garden from aboveRome's Roseto Rose garden is a special thing to visit in May, as it's only open from April 21 - the first week of June (and again for two weeks in October.)

Open daily from 8AM - 5:30PM (subject to change).

At some point in mid-May, the garden may be closed for a day because there is a contest for the most beautiful roses that year.

There will be a sign up on the gates stating what day they might close.

Sometimes they only close the lower half.

With beautiful views of the Palatine Hill as its backdrop, visiting the Roseto Rose Garden is one of my favorite things to do in spring.

Did you know?

The Roseto Rose Garden is also a cemetery!

Find out more on my dedicated page here.

Late April/early May - Azaleas on the Spanish Steps

Speaking of flowers, from mid April through early May, the Spanish Steps are covered in azaleas.

It makes the Spanish Steps more beautiful than ever, and is even more special since the flowers are only there for a few weeks.

spanish steps with azaleasI think one of everyone's favorite Rome events in May is when the Spanish Steps get adorned with blooming pink and white azaleas. To get this kind of shot, you'll need to come by about 7 AM!

The best time to photograph them like this without the crowds is at around 7 in the morning.


Pentecost is observed on the seventh Sunday after Easter and 10 days after Ascension.

Pentecost Sunday takes place on the 50th day of Easter.

Pentecost is often in May but can also be in early June.

In 2024 it takes place on May 19th.

You may want to try to get a coveted spot by attending mass at the Pantheon, where firemen throw thousands of rose petals down from the oculus.

This has become extremely popular in recent years and now, the only chance of getting inside on this morning is to show up at about 7AM and wait in line for the Mass to begin.

The Pantheon is not open to visitors on the morning of the Pentecost. It's ONLY open for people to attend Mass. It reopens after everyone leaves and they have cleaned the floor.

It's free to attend mass and there is no way to buy a ticket to this event.

Current exhibits and events at Rome's museums in May

The cooler spring months are a great time to take in the arts indoors. 

There are several Rome events in May 2024 at various museums around the city.

And as a bonus, at this time of year, some museums stay open later on the weekends, so you have even more time to fit them into your itinerary:


Capitoline Museums


For the first time, the golden glass with the personification of the city of Rome, found during excavations for the construction of the Metro C station at Porta Metronia, will be on display.

Through July 1st 2024

Book here.

Notte dei Musei 2024

Notte dei Musei 2024

May 18th 2024

Rome’s Night of museums is back!

Rome's Museums, monuments, art galleries, archaeological sites, libraries, academies and embassies are open to the public for the price of €1

Participating museums: Capitoline Museums, Centrale MontemartiniMercati di Traiano – Museo dei Fori ImperialiMuseo dell’Ara PacisMuseo di RomaMuseo NapoleonicoMuseo di Roma in TrastevereMuseo Pietro Canonica a Villa Borghese, Musei di Villa Torlonia (Casina delle CivetteCasino NobileSerra Moresca)Museo delle MuraMuseo Carlo Bilotti – Aranciera di Villa BorgheseMuseo di Scultura Antica Giovanni BarraccoMuseo Civico di ZoologiaMuseo della Repubblica Romana e della memoria garibaldinaGalleria d’Arte ModernaMuseo di Casal de’ Pazzi and more. AND rumor has it the Colosseum will be participating this year.

Click here for more info.


DART Chiostro del Bramante


Through July 31, 2024.

Contemporary Art Tells The Story of Emotions

For more information and tickets, click here.

Virgilio Retrosi Torlonia

Villa Torlonia

In the name of Cambellotti. Virgilio Retrosi artist and craftsman

In the Villa Torlonia museum this exhibition is dedicated to Virgilio Retrosi (Rome 1892-1975).

A collections from the Museum of Rome with the 14 plates dedicated to the historic districts of Rome.

Runs through June 2, 2024

Discover more details and how to book your tickets, book here.

There are a lot of smaller exhibitions in May.

To see a complete list of them, visit this page of the Rome Tourist Board where you can filter to see all Rome events in May, or drill down further by category such as dance, music, etc.

Sport/sporting Rome events in May

formula e cars

If you are a tennis buff, you may already know that every May, the BNL Tennis championships are held at the Olympic Stadium (Foro Italico) in Rome.

May 14 - 17, 2024

race for the cure logo

Every May, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is held in Rome. This 4-day event begins in Circus Maximus, where there are all kinds of things to participate in, leading up to the race.

The race goes through the historic center of Rome.

May 9-12, 2024

NB - The site for the race is only in Italian but try to translate if you want to learn more about the events or to participate.

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

May is one of the best months to visit a park or garden in Rome, when flowers are blooming all over the place.

Vatican Events in May

saint peter's square during angelus

When the Pope is in town, you can attend the Wednesday Papal Audience, or watch the pope give the Angelus in St. Peter's Square on Sunday.

Both are free.

For the Papal Audience, you need tickets.

For the Angelus, you don't.

Free Things to do in May

If you're looking for some fun Rome events in May that are free, the below are confirmed for 2024:

capitline museums she wolf

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

On Sunday May 5, 2024 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

The Vatican Museums will be free and open on Sunday May 26, 2024.

Expect large crowds on this day.

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.

sistine chapel

On Sunday May 5, 2024, the Colosseum will be free for everyone.

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.

Nighttime things to do in Rome in May

In Rome in May the evenings can be cooler than you might think, but it's usually comfortable enough to spend evenings outside, albeit with a cardigan or jacket.

There are plenty of Rome events in May open for night visits and experiences.

Some of the dates for 2024 are still to be announced. Please check back!

colosseum at night

Night visits of the Colosseum

You can visit the Colosseum at night

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

In May 2024, the Colosseum switched ticketing provider and as a result, are not offering nighttime visits to the Colosseum until June.

NB - Sometimes there is availability for this only a few days in advance, so if you don't see availability for when you want to go, check back!

youtube video about vatican night visits

The Vatican Museums are open Friday and Saturday until 8 pm (Mon - Thu until 7 pm). Last entry is 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.

Ready to plan your trip?

Book your train

Planning to travel between cities in Italy and other parts of Europe?

Use Trainline to see all the different options available across the different rail companies.

Find your hotel

Find your perfect place to stay in Rome.

Use to choose between hotels, guesthouses, and self-catering apartments in neighborhoods throughout the Eternal City.

Buy your TurboPass

Purchase the convenient Turbopass and visit all of Rome's top attractions including the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Vatican.

With one handy pass, it's all included.

Rome events in May - Concerts, operas, shows

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rome opera

Enjoy the opera 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.

Thursday 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.

Sunday evenings.

casa del jazz logo

Rome's Casa del Jazz has concerts throughout the season. 

Click here to visit TicketOne where you can see the schedule and buy tickets.

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

Tours to take in Rome in May

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 more tours to take in May, start here:

Day trips to take in Rome in May

May 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 May

Whether you are visiting Rome in May for spring break or just for a short getaway, if you are coming with kids, there are plenty of tours and activities in Rome geared towards 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 May, and most central.

For a complete list of events in May, visit the website of the Rome Tourist Board.

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