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Rome events in October 2021 - Holidays, exhibits, concerts, and other things to do

Rome events in October include these amazing sunsets we get, referred to as the Ottobrata Romana.

October sunset in romeOctober in Rome is very special because of a phenomenon called the "Ottobrata Romana", which means we get these incredible sunsets like these.

It's also one of the busiest times of year in Rome. The weather is wonderful, the days are still long, and everything is open and happening.

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

Rome events in October - What's happening

October is a beautiful month to visit Rome. The days are warm, sunny, and comfortable, making it perfect sight-seeing weather. There is no specific holiday in Rome in October (other than Halloween, which is not really an Italian thing), but there is a lot happening.

Keep reading for more info about the best Rome events in October 2021:

Holidays in Rome in October

There are no bank or religious holidays per se in October in Rome.

But there are some interesting Rome events in October.

Halloween in Rome

While Halloween is not really a thing in Italy, in recent years it's grown more popular. 

pumpkin halloween cakes at roscioliThese "Halloween" cakes at Roscioli bakery are made with pumpkins and they look like pumpkins.

If you are in Rome for Halloween and want to get into the Halloween mood, you might want to visit one of Rome's beautiful and historic cemeteries, or you could take a Rome Ghost Tour!

End of Daylight Saving Time

roman clock

In Europe, we turn our clocks back one hour on the last Sunday of October, and return to Standard Time.

In 2021, we turn the clocks back and gain one hour on Sunday 31 October.

Current exhibits and events at Rome's museums in October

There are several Rome events in October at various museums around the city. These are confirmed for 2021:

raphael domus aurea

Domus Aurea

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

Through 31 December, 2021.

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

galleria borghese damien hirst

Galleria Borghese

Damien Hirst - Archeology Now

Through 7 November, 2021.

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

Through 31 December, 2021.

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

5€ full price. Free for Rome residents, 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.

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.

15 October 2021 - 9 January 2022

Via XXIV Maggio 16.

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

Full € 17.50; Reduced (ages 18-25) € 15.50

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

Advanced booking is required

napoloen exhibit at trajans market

Trajan's Market

Napoleon and the Myth of Rome

Through 7 November, 2021.

Coinciding with the 200th year of Napoleon Bonaparte's death, this wonderful exhibit showcases the emperor's relationship with Rome and the ancient Rome.

Advanced booking is recommended.

circus maximus experience

Circo Maximo Experience

The immersive visit of the Circus Maximus in augmented and virtual reality, returns from 8 - 30 October, Friday - Sunday 3 pm - 6pm (last entry at 4:55 pm.)

Full ticket: € 12.00

FAI illustration for fall events

October 16 - 17, 2021

In October, the Fondo Ambiente Italiano (the National Trust for Italy) offers visits to some special places around Italy. For each visit, they request a small contribution.

The places include villas, churches, palazzos, castles, archeological sites and more.

You can see the list of places to visit on their website, which is in Italian only (there is an English language version of the generic portion of the website.)


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. 

October 27, 2021 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.


Palazzo Bonaparte 

Van Gogh

From October 8, 2022 Palazzo Bonaparte will host a major exhibition dedicated to Van Gogh. 

You can book tickets here.

Sport/sporting Rome events in October

appia run logo

October 3, 2021

Rome Appia Run - a loop starting and ending near the Appia Antica.

Visit the website to register (13 km competitive or 13 km or 4 km non-competitive.) It's a pretty bad website, and it's only in Italian, but just click "iscrizioni" to go to the registration page. 

run for autism logo

October 24, 2021

Run for Autism - a 10 km run loop starting and ending at Baths of Caracalla.

Visit the website to register (competitive or non-competitive.) It's another really bad website, and it's only in Italian, but just click "moduli" to go to the registration 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.

Rome events in October - Free things to do

If you're looking for some fun Rome events in October that are free, there are very few so far confirmed for 2021.

The below are either confirmed or pending for 2021.

Please check back as I will be monitoring all these and other possible events:

capitoline museums she wolf

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

On Sunday October 3, 2021, you can visit the Capitoline MuseumsAra PacisVilla TorloniaTrajan'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.


October 16, 2021

In October, you may visit Rome's catacombs for free. The annual "Day of the Catacombs" is being promoted by the Vatican and offers visitors the chance to visit, and tour, some of the miles and miles of catacombs around Rome.

See their website for the itinerary, most of which, unfortunately, is in Italian only.

In 2021, advanced booking is required and you will need a Green Pass to enter.

roseto rose garden

October 9 - 24, 2021

Rome's special Roseto Comunale Rose Garden, on the Aventine Hill overlooking the Circus Maximus and Palatine Hill, is normally only open briefly in spring.

Since 2016, they are opening this lovely garden again in October, as the roses are in their second bloom.

In 2021, the Roseto Comunale will be open (and free) from October 9 - 24. You can visit daily from 8:30 - 6pm.

palazzo borghese

Awaiting confirmation for 2021

In October, the ADSI (Associazione Dimore Storiche Antiche) holds its annual "Open Courtyards" event. This means you may visit courtyards of historic palazzos and private residences not normally open to the public. This great event will take place on Sunday October xxxx, 2021.

It's actually not easy to find out which historic buildings will be open this day, but you can follow up on their website.

tiber river

Tiber Day / Tevere Day

October 17, 2021

For 3 years in a row, Rome has celebrated "Tiber River Day", a day in which activities along the river are promoted, in an effort to bring awareness to this important site in Rome.

The lifeblood of Rome since long before the Roman Empire, the Tiber River is often neglected and forgotten. "Tevere Day" is an effort to promote and protect the river.

There will be events throughout the day and all along the river banks. You can learn more on their Facebook page here.

Visit Rome's Parks and gardens

October is a beautiful time to visit a park or garden in Rome.

Free Sunday Rome events in October 2022

NO FREE SUNDAY October 2021

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

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

You may wish to refer to the free Rome events in October below if you are planning to visit in October 2022 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 recent years, we've enjoyed the "Free Sunday," in which state sites and museums were free the first Sunday of the month, and the Vatican Museums were free the last Sunday of the month.

In October 2021, we will not have any free dates, but hopefully this will return by October 2022.


In October 2021, there are no free dates to visit the Colosseum.

The Colosseum will be free on xxx.

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.

sistine chapel

In October 2021, there are no free dates to visit the Vatican.

On the last Sunday of the month, the Vatican Museums are open and free. Hours are reduced (9:30am - 2pm, with last entry at 12:30pm). Expect long lines.

If you are on a budget, or have limited time, this can be a great opportunity. 

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.

Nighttime things to do in Rome in October

The below nighttime Rome events in October both indoor and outdoor things to do in Rome.

They are not free and should be booked in advance.

The Vatican Museums are open Friday and Saturday until 10:30 pm (Mon - Thu until 6:30 pm). Last entry 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.

viaggio nei fori

The wonderful Viaggio Nei Fori, a nighttime light show on the via dei Fori Imperiali, showcasing the life of Rome's first emperor, Octavian Augustus, is back! This is one of the best Rome events in June - you'll get to enjoy a light show, keep cool at night, all while soaking up some Roman history.

June 10 - October 2 2022. 

Click here to purchase tickets.

gladiator battle show

When in Rome . . . why not attend a gladiator battle? This fantastic show is produced by the Gruppo Storico Romanowith professional re-enactors, and real weapons and armor.

Take your seat in the re-constructed arena, not far from the Colosseum, and enjoy realistic gladiator fights, and other shows including ancient dances, rites of the Vesta, and more.

At the end of the show, you'll be treated to a small aperitif consisting of food and drink made with recipes from Ancient Rome.

Fridays and Sundays. 25€.

colosseum night

Visit the Colosseum by moonlight!

From now through October 31, 2021, you can visit the Colosseum at night. I'd say this is one of the very best Rome events in October as you get to see the Colosseum lit up at night, and it's much less crowded than during the day.

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

NB - They don't usually open this on Coopculture until right before the event so if you don't see availability for when you want to go, check back.

palazzo altemps

Now through end of November, 2021, the Rome National Museums (Palazzo Altemps, Baths of Diocletian, Palazzo Massimo, and Crypta Balbi) will be open for night visits from 7:45 pm - 10:30 pm on various nights.

Click here for the official website, opening dates for night visits for each museum, and to book tickets.

It's free to visit but you must book in advance.

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

Ready to plan your trip?

Rome events in October - Concerts, operas, shows

rome cinema festival logo

If you are a movie buff, enjoy the movie-stars and new releases at the Rome Film Festival, held in Rome from October 14 - 24 2021.

The festival takes place in many locations around Rome. For details, click the picture to visit the official site.

spanish cinema festival logo

Speaking of cinema, the Festival del Cinema Spagnolo e Latinoamericano, or Festival of Spanish and Latin American Cinema will be held in the Cinema Farnese in Piazza Farnese.

October 1-7, 2021.

For details, click the picture to visit the official site (in Italian only.)

rome opera

There is lots of wonderful opera in Rome in October, right in Rome's beautiful Teatro dell'Opera (Opera House.)

rome auditorium

The Rome Auditorium is open and 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.

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

Tours to take in Rome in October

It's a good idea to take a tour in October.

October is peak peak season.

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.

For tours to take in October, start here:

Day trips to take in Rome in October

October is a wonderful time to take a day trip, especially if you are looking to beat the heat in 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 October

October is usually when many kids have gone back to school, but there are still plenty of tours and activities in Rome geared to children of all ages. There are also lots of school breaks in Europe in October.

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 October, and most central. For a complete list of Rome events in October, visit the website of the Rome Tourist Board.

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