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Rome events in May 2022 - Holidays, exhibits, concerts, and other things to do

Rome events in May include May Day, BNL Tennis, and much more!

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 2022 - What's happening

May is a great time to visit Rome 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 cool, which makes it comfortable for sight-seeing. It's also lovely weather for eating outdoors even in the evening. 

Keep reading for more info about the best Rome events in May 2022:

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. Read on:

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, 2022:

What's open on May 1, 2022:

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 aboveOne of everyone's favorite Rome events in May is the opening of the Roseto Rose Garden.

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 one of my favorite special things to do in Rome in May.

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 see them like this without the crowds is at around 7:30 in the morning.

Current exhibits and events at Rome's museums in May

The cooler spring months are a great time to take in the arts indoors. Some museums stay open later on the weekends.

There are several Rome events in May 2022 at various museums around the city:

raphael domus aurea

Superbarocco. Art in Genova from Rubens to Magnasco

April 14 - July 3

Il palazzo delle Scuderie del Quirinale

Open every day from 10am to 8pm (last admission at 7pm)

Advance booking strongly recommended.

guido reni

Galleria Borghese

Guido Reni

Through May 22, 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.

May 2022 open from Tuesday to Sunday 9.00-19.00 (last access 18.00). Closed on May 1.

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

The Notte dei Musei, or Night at the Museums, is a fun initiative (at many cities throughout Europe, in fact) to allow visits to museums at night, for the symbolic entry price of only 1€.

Saturday 14 May 2022 from 20.00 to 02.00 - you can find more information here.

In May, you may visit hundreds of buildings, palazzos, ruins and monuments in and around Rome for free

In 2022 Open House Roma dates are May 21-22.

The project is called Open House Roma, and includes a wide range of properties, from contemporary to ancient. The site is only in Italian, but you can see photos of the many places you can visit, and if you click on any one, it will open a map of where it is.

Palazzo Bonaparte exhibitions in May 2022 include:

  • Bill Viola exhibition | March 5 - June 26 2022
  • Jago | March 12 - July 3 2022

There are 4 ongoing exhibitions you can visit in Palazzo Esposizioni in May 2022:

  • Video Art in Italy - "Il Video Rende Felice" | April 12 - September 4 2022
  • Dark Rhymes | March 10 - May 15 2022
  • World Press Photo Exhibition | April 28 - June 12
  • Tana Hobana's Picture Books "Looking is a Game" | April 30 - September 4 2022

Chiostro del Bramante

CRAZY: Madness in Contemporary Art

Through 8 January 2023.

Chiostro del Bramante is just behind Piazza Navona.

Monday to Friday 10 am - 8 pm

Saturday and Sundays 10 am - 9 pm

The box office and show entrance close one hour before.

15€ Weekdays. 18€ Saturdays and Sundays.

Advance booking strongly suggested.

Circo Maximo Experience

A fantastic and fascinating visit in augmented and virtual reality of the largest place of entertainment of ancient times and one of the City’s undisputed landmarks: Circo Maximo Experience reopens to the public, an immersive walking itinerary divided into 8 stops, lasting approximately 40 minutes.

From 29 April 2021 to 28 August 2022

Trajan's Markets Museum

1932, l’elefante e il colle perduto - A selection of about 100 pieces, including archaeological objects, graphic designs, art objects and videos, some of them exposed for the first time, describes the story of the lost Velia and 'its' elephant.

08 April - 24 May 2022

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 2 - 15, 2022

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 5 - 8, 2022

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.

Rome events in May - Free things to do

If you're looking for some fun Rome events in May 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 May 1, 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.

sistine chapel

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

In 2022, the Vatican Museums will be free and open on Sunday May 29Expect 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

As of April 2022, the Free Sunday initiative has ALSO returned for Rome's state museums and sites which includes the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, the Baths of Caracalla, Ostia Antica and many more.

So for May 2022, the date is Sunday May 1.

For these sites, you cannot book in advance and will need to pick up tickets from the ticket offices, which are issued on a first come, first serve basis.

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 2022 are still to be announced. Please check back!

colosseum at night

Night visits of the Colosseum

As of May 20, 2022, you can visit the Colosseum at night

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

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!

sistine chapel inside the vatican museums

Every Friday and Saturday, from April 22 to October 29 2022, the Vatican Museums are open from 9:00 ot 10:30 PM, last entry 8:30 PM.

It won't be uncrowded, although it is less crowded than during the day.

And it's a magical way to spend a Friday or Saturday evening. (And you can opt for happy hour inside the Pinecone Courtyard!)

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

light show on Augustus' Forum

Not yet available in 2022

Viaggio Nei Fori (Journeys Through Ancient Rome) is one of the best shows you can see in Rome to really get a sense of Ancient Rome.

Usually through early November, every night there is an hour-long light show, with holograms, lasers and fabulous narration (in several languages), that brings the whole thing to life.

For more nighttime tours and Rome events in May, visit Viator.

Rome events in May - Concerts, operas, shows

Disclosure : If you make a purchase through a link on this page, I may receive a small commission - at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my site!

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.

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. 

Wednesday 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 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€.

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€.

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 Rome events in May, visit the website of the Rome Tourist Board.

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