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Rome events in May 2023 - 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 2023 - 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 2023:

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.

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!

What's closed on May 1, 2023:

What's open on May 1, 2023:

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 2023 at various museums around the city:

Galleria Borghese Deposit Collection

Borghese Gallery

The Deposits

For a limited time only, the Borghese Gallery is reopening their lower level collection of art to visitors.

This collection is organised as it would be in a regular art gallery, but is not normally open to the public, with pieces displayed here that you would otherwise not be able to see.

23 February 2023 - 5 May 2023

Group size is limited and must be booked in advance - see here for more information

Infinity Chiostro del Bramante exhibition image

Chiostro del Bramante

INFINITY - Michelangelo Pistoletto

Made up of fifty works and four large site specific installations, contemporary art exhibition INFINITY covers more than 60 years of art and almost 90 years of life for Michelangelo Pistoletto.

18 March 2023 - 15 October 2023

For tickets and further details, visit the website of the Chiostro del Bramante here.

capitoline rome of the republic exhibition image

Capitoline Museums

The Rome of the Republic

This exhibition tells the story, through a series of themes and archaeological contexts, of the transformation of Roman society over the course of five centuries, from the birth of the Republic to the formation of the Empire. 

13 January 2023 - 24 September 2023

Entrance is included with your general Capitoline Museums entrance ticket - see all details here.

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

In 2023 Open House Roma dates are May 20-28

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.

night of the museums 2023 capitoline museums

Night at the Museum

This very popular event returns in 2023 on the evening of Saturday May 13!

For the thirteenth year, Rome's civic museums, including the Capitoline Museums, Ara Pacis, and Trajan's Market Museums, will be open for a special evening event.

Visit these museums at night for just €1 per person per museum, complete with live shows and other events as part of the night's entertainment.

Participating museums will be open from 8pm-2am, for all details visit the Musei in Comune website 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 8 - 21, 2023

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 4-7, 2023

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 7, 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

The Vatican Museums will be free and open on Sunday May 28 2023. 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 7 2023, 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 2023 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.

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 from late April to mid October, the Vatican Museums are open from 9:00 AM to 10:30 PM, last entry 8:30 PM.

On Saturdays, the museums are open until 8 PM, with last entry at 6:00 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 2023

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.

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. 

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.

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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