LivingTravelMay events and festivals in Rome, Italy

May events and festivals in Rome, Italy

May is one of the best months to visit Rome, before the summer heat and crowds descend on the city. It is not one of the busiest months in the city in terms of festivals and special events, but there are some fun and important events that take place.

Here are the festivals and events that take place every May in Rome. Please note that May 1, Labor Day, is a national holiday, so many businesses, including most museums and some restaurants, will be closed.

01
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1 de mayo – May 1st

Primo Maggio is Labor Day in Italy and it is a national holiday, so many Romans leave the city or stay for the big concert in Piazza San Giovanni, which usually starts early in the afternoon and continues until around the midnight. Often there are also protest demonstrations that can cause disruptions in local transport. Most of the sites and museums are closed, but you can still walk Via Appia Antica, where some of the catacombs are usually open, or visit the ancient Roman site of Ostia Antica, a short drive from Rome. Of course, outdoor sites like Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain are always open.

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First or second weekend of May – Open House Roma

Open House Rome occurs only one weekend a year, during which public and private buildings in Rome, many normally off limits to tourists, are open for free guided tours. The sites include a mix of ancient to neoclassical, as well as fascist-era buildings and surprisingly bold modern architecture. Reservations are required through Open House Roma.

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Early to mid-May – Italian Open Tennis Tournament

Rome hosts the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, also known as the Italian Open, every May on the tennis courts of the Stadio Olimpico. This nine-day clay court event is the largest tennis tournament preceding the French Open, which is why many top tennis stars use the Italian Open as a warm-up. Here are the biggest names in tennis, including (in 2018) Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Francesca Schiavone (always a favorite of Italian fans), as well as Rafael Nadal (the 2018 male winner) and Novak Djokovic.

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Rose Petal Ceremony at the Pantheon (when Easter falls in March)

The Christian celebration of Pentecost takes place seven weeks after Easter Sunday, so when Easter falls in March, Pentecost is observed in May. At the Pantheon, the Pentecost Mass takes place at 10:30 am, and concludes with the firefighters on the roof of the Pantheon hurling thousands of red rose petals from the oculus to the floor below. It’s a spectacular sight and understandably hard to get through the Pantheon gates that day. If you want to be present for the petal drop, plan to arrive several hours early and be prepared to wait.

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End of May – Roma Summer Fest

This mostly rock music program, with some jazz events, world music and children’s events as well, takes place at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, north of Piazza del Popolo and can be reached by bus or tram. Before the Summer Fest, the Auditorium has a full calendar in May, with various acts from around the world and from virtually every genre.

There is also a lot to do in Rome in June.

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