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

Rome events in September mostly involve the city coming back to life after the summer holidays.

september sunsets are spectacularSeptember is one of my favorite months for catching spectacular sunsets in Rome, like this one at the top of the Spanish Steps.

Romans start flooding back home, any shops or restaurants that closed in August reopen, and it's the time of year when new shows and exhibits open.

September is in fact one of the busiest months of year in Rome.

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

Rome events in September - What's happening

September is a beautiful month to visit Rome.

It somehow manages to cool down just enough from the August heat and humidity to make it perfect sight-seeing weather. There is no specific holiday in Rome in September, but there is a lot happening.

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

Holidays in Rome in September

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

But there are some interesting Rome events in September.

pantheon sepember 4 light beamOn September 4 at 1 pm, you can catch this amazing phenomenon inside the Pantheon when the light beam from the oculus fits perfectly over the door. Read on to find out the significance of this event.

Pantheon - Arc of light on September 4

One of the many amazing things about the Pantheon is the way the sunbeam that comes in through the oculus moves around the inside of the dome and the rest of the building throughout the year.

Several times a year, the sunbeam moves over the door to interesting effect (we presume there were specific reasons for this when the Pantheon was built in ancient Rome).

At 1pm on September 4 (and maybe 1-2 days on either side of this date), the sunbeam perfectly encompasses the arc over the doorway, creating a ribbon of light on that arc, and a burst of sunlight through the doorway.

The theory is that this was to celebrate one of the most important, if not THE most important deities of the Roman pantheon, Jupiter Optimus Maximus. 

There is a similar phenomenon in early April to honor another important Roman deity, Cybele.

For me this is one of the best and most fascinating Rome events in September.

For more about this, click here to read the academic paper about it.

Current exhibits at Rome's museums in September

There are several Rome events in September 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 - Archaeology 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.

centrale montemartini mosaics

Centrale Montemartini

Colours of the Romans. Mosaics from the Capitoline Collections.

Through 15 September 2021.

Open Tuesday - Sunday 9 am - 7 pm. Closed Mondays.

16€ regular priced tickets.

Advance booking suggested.

palazzo braschi

Palazzo Braschi

Rome - Birth of a capital 1870 - 1915 - at the beautiful Palazzo Braschi.

Through 26 September, 2021.

Palazzo Braschi is on one end of Piazza Navona.

Open Mon - Fri 10am - 7pm; Sat - Sun 10am - 19pm.

11€ standard. 9€ reduced.

Advance booking strongly recommended.

palazzo barberini

Palazzo Barberini

Tempo Barocco - visit the newest 8 rooms in this stunning, usually empty museum, with a focus on the Baroque, including masterpieces by Bernini, Guido Reni, Domenichino, and many others.

Through 3 October, 2021.

Open Tuesday - Sunday 10 am - 6 pm. Closed Mondays.

10€ standard. 2€ reduced (Europeans 18 - 25). Free for anyone under 18.

Advance booking strongly recommended.

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 Romans.

Advanced booking is recommended.

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 September - Free things to do

If you're looking for some fun Rome events in September 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:

European heritage day logo

On Saturday and Sunday, 25 and 26 September, 2021, some Rome museums and archeological sites will participate in European Heritage Day, "Giornate Patrimonio Europeo" in Italian.

A lot of sites and museums will be open Saturday September 26 until midnight, either for free or at a reduced rate, usually of a symbolic 1 Euro.

Sometime in early September, they will release information about which sites are open late and participating. You can follow the event on social with hashtags: #GEP2021 #museitaliani #europeanheritagedays #patrimonioculturaletuttiinclusi

You may also wish to visit the official website of the Beni Culturali, which shows the many appointments for special tours that day in Rome (Italian only.)

vatican museums - sistine chapel

World Tourism Day is commemorated each year on 27 September. On this day, you can visit the Vatican Museums for free. You cannot book in advance, or book a tour. 

If the 27th falls on a Friday or Saturday, you will be able to book, and pay for, the regularly scheduled visits to the Vatican Museums.

In 2021, the Vatican Museums is not participating in this event and it is not free to visit that day.

Visit Rome's Parks and gardens

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

Sporting Rome events in September 2021

Whether you want to participate or watch, there are a few exciting sporting things to do in September in Rome:

longines global champions tour

In astounding news, the Longines Global Champions Tour, the prestigious horse world's show jumping circuit, is coming this September to the Circus Maximus.

This means that for the first time in nearly 2,000 years, the Circus Maximus will be used as it once was, for horse racing (think Ben Hur).

And best of all, it's free (but you must register. Visit the official site here.)

What an amazing opportunity to see history repeat itself.

September 10-12, 16-18, 2021

run rome marathon sept 2021

Conquer Rome in the early hours of September 19, 2021, in the Run Rome The Marathon Alba Edition Special Race in Rome's center.

Put on by Acea, this marathon takes you from the archeological site of the Fori Imperiali through the most beautiful parts of Rome's historic center.

Race starts at 06:45. Visit the official site to register.

Foodie Events in Rome in September


Vinoforum is a fantastic wine event showcasing  600 vintners and 2500 labels.

You'll find stalls with where you can nibble on bites and full on dinners with Michelin star chefs.

Click the image to visit the site (in Italian only)

September 10 - 19, 2021

taste of rome event

This event is not happening in 2021

Enjoy a real foodies' food-fair at Taste of Roma. 

This 3-day event happens around the third week of September each year. In 2021 it's xxxx September.

Meet some of Rome's top chefs, try their food and in some cases, even cook with them! The Taste of Roma is at the Rome Auditorium, which is easily accessible by tram from piazza del Popolo.

For tickets, book here.

Free Sunday Rome events in September 2022

NO FREE SUNDAY September 2021

Due to Post-Covid-lockdown new opening rules at Rome sites, there are currently no "free" dates at any sites or museums.

You may wish to refer to the free Rome events in September below if you are planning to visit in September 2022 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 September 2021, we will not have any free dates, but hopefully this will return by September 2022.


In September 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 September 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 September

The first 3 weeks of September are still summer and in fact, it feels a lot like summer.

So, many of the summer nighttime events, in particular those held outdoors, are still going on.

The below nighttime Rome events in September are mostly outdoor things to do in Rome (except for visiting the Vatican Museums on Fridays.)

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, is one of my favorite nighttime Rome events in September.

This hour-long show highlights the life of Rome's first emperor, Octavian Augustus.

Through 7 November 2021. 

Click here to purchase tickets.

night tour of imperial forums

This is a fantastic visit inside the Imperial Forums, and one of my favorite Rome events in September. You'll have a short guided walk through Trajan's Forum and the Forum of Julius Ceasar. It's all lit up and there are some effects to bring the space to life.

It's a truly fantastic immersive visit to Ancient Rome.

June 24 - September 26, 2021, every night. Visit are every 20 minutes, spaced from 18:30 - 21:50, and last 1.5 hours. Max 9 people per visit.

4€ adults, free for MIC card holders.

Advanced booking recommended.

Visit the Baths of Caracalla by night.

From September 2 - 30, 2021, on some Thursdays and some Saturdays you can visit this amazingly intact ruin from Ancient Rome at night.

Options are a self-guided/accompanied entrance (10€) with no guide, or a guided tour that includes the underground and the mithraeum, in Italian only (20€).

Advanced booking required.

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 September 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.

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€.

gay village

From early June through mid September 2021, everyone is welcome to Gay Village, one of Rome's largest LGBT festivals of the year, held in EUR.

Open daily, there will be dance, music, nightclub and other live outdoor events. Sunday - Wednesday, from 6pm. Thursday - Saturday, from 7pm.

Restaurants and cocktail bars are also on-site.

Tickets required.

Click the photo on the left for events schedule, directions and tickets. 

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

Ready to plan your trip?

Rome events in September - Concerts, operas, shows

baths caracalla summer opera

The opera/concerts normally held at Baths of Caracalla will be held in Circus Maximus (see below for schedule and tickets.) The schedule for the baths has been postponed to 2022 and beyond.

Click here to see a schedule of concerts and shows and to purchase tickets from 2022.

casa del jazz

Summer Jazz at Casa del Jazz

Now through 26 September 2021.

See the program here.

Jazz at the Colosseum

August 12 - September 28, 2021, Rome's famed jazz club, Alexanderplatz, is hosting outdoor jazz overlooking the Colosseum.

To book, phone or send WhatsApp to +39 338 7070737, or send them an email.

celimontana jazz

Celimontana Jazz

Now through 10 September, 2021.

100 free jazz concerts. Open nightly and Sundays for brunch (a first!)

Plenty of food and drink to purchase.

See the program here.

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.

concerts at marcellus theater

Enjoy outdoor concerts at Teatro di Marcello in Rome's Jewish Ghetto.

From 1 July - 30 September 2021.

Advance booking required.

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 September, click here to visit Get Your Guide.

Tours to take in Rome in September

It's a good idea to take a tour in September. First of all, it can be hot, and a good tour will both take your mind off the heat and also keep you focused and spending limited time outside.

Second of all, September really 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 September, start here:

Day trips to take in Rome in September

September 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 September

September 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.

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

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