August is a special month in Rome. It is the classic month of the summer holidays. Most offices and businesses are closed in the two weeks around the middle of the month called “Ferragosto” and in Rome spreads holiday mood. Most shops and restaurants in the city center are open.
I really like Rome in August. There is little traffic and you can get through the city quickly. It is very nice to go by bike or by Vespa through Rome.
The Colosseum is the most visited museum in Italy. It can be visited only by reservation. For the Coliseum, in addition to the standard ticket, there are a few variants with access to the arena, a visit to the underground or the upper floors, as well as a tour of archaeological features in the area of the Roman Forum. The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine are open daily in August 8:30 – 18:15 closing 19:15. Details about the Colosseum Tickets>
The moon above the Coliseum: In summer, the Coliseum is also open in the evening from 8-12 for guided tours in small groups. The tours in the evening in the Colosseum are very nice, because the Coliseum is closed to other visitors. Since only a few visitors are admitted to these tours, they are very exclusive.
Some National Museums in Rome offer a day with free admission in August, namely:
1.8. Galleria Corsini, Etruscan National Museum Villa Giuliaiulia
4.8. Roman National Museums: Crypt Balbi – Palazzo Altemps – Palazzo Massimo – Baths of Diocletian
5.8. Villa Adriana and Villa D’Este in Tivoli
15.8. Baths of Caracalla, National Gallery of Modern Art
All information and opening hours can be found in the list of museums.
The Vatican Museums are among the most visited museums worldwide. During normal opening hours the Vatican Museums are always very busy. It is much quieter before the official opening in the early morning and at the evening opening on Friday. For the Vatican Museums you should buy the tickets well in advance. Otherwise you risk long waiting times at the cash register or even tickets sold out. Details about the Vatican Museums>
The Vatican Museums are closed in August on the following dates: Sunday 4.8., 11.8. and 18.8. as well as on the 14th and 15th of August 2019. Opening hours 9 – 16 closing 18 Night opening every Friday 19 – 21:30 closing 23
Free admission to the Vatican Museums is on Sunday 25th August 2019. However, there are long lines and it gets extremely crowded. 9 – 12:30 closing 14:00
The Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo is open in August from Monday to Friday 8:30 – 13 closing 14, Saturday 8:30 – 16:30 closing 17:30, on Sundays and on 14 and 15 August is closed.
Michelangelo and the secrets of the Sistine Chapel
Until October 2019, there is a breathtaking show in the auditorium in Via della Conciliazione.
Original music, actors and 270° projections are the ingredients of this show, which brings audiences closer to the fascination and beauty of the art of the Sistine Chapel. It is produced with technical advice from the Vatican Museums. There are shows in Italian and English. Book now
Papal audience and Angelus
The general audience of Pope Francis takes place in August 2019 every Wednesday with the exception of Wednesday 14 August. The audience usually takes place in the air-conditioned audience hall. In August, no reservation is required for the general audiences. The audiences start at 9:30, but you should be there by 8 clock, so you get a good seat.
The Angelus Prayer of Pope Francis takes place every Sunday and on the 15th of August at 12 o’clock in St. Peter’s Square. Admission is free. For the Angelus Prayer many security checks are open and there is only a short waiting time. St. Peter’s Basilica and the dome are closed during the Angelus prayer.
extended until 25.8.2019 DREAM Art meets dreams, in the cloister of the Bramante (near Piazza Navona) Tickets
Cinecittà si mostra Visit the dream factory of Roman cinema, Metro A Station Cinecittà Tickets
Until 22.9.2019 Rome in the dark room, photos from the 19th century until today Exhibition at the Museo di Roma Palazzo Braschi at Piazza Navona. Tickets for Palazzo Braschi
Ritratto di famiglia
On Flower Power, the Role of the Vase in Arts, Crafts and Design
Giuseppe Uncini, Realtà in equilibrio
Connection Gallery – Andrea Mastrovito. Very Bad Things
Tuesday – Sunday 8:30am – 7:30pm via delle belle arti 131 Tram 3, 19 Galleria Arte Moderna Tickets for the National Gallery of Modern Art
Until 13.10.2019 Donne. Corpo e immagine tra simbolo e rivoluzione and Wechselspiel Galleria d’Arte Moderna Tuesday – Sunday 9am-7pm via Francesco Crispi 24 Metro A Barberini, Bus 52, 53, 62, 63, 84, 85, 160, 492 Tritone/Barberini Tickets for the Gallery of Modern Art
Until October 13 Frank Holliday in Rome, an exhibition of his works in Rome in summer 2016, Museum Carlo Bilotti in Villa Borghese, the entrance is free.
Until October 18 Mortali Immortali, Treasures of Sichuan in ancient China, Trajan’s markets, at Piazza Venezia Tickets
Emperor Claudius, Messalina, Agrippina uand the shadow of a dynasty, 9:30-19:30 Museo dell’Ara Pacis Tickets
Until 31 October, visit of the historic French Academy Villa Medici above the Spanish Steps. Guided tours in French, English, Italian, Spanish, Russian Tickets
Until November 3, Bulgari – The story – The dream, Exhibition in the Castel Sant’Angelo and in the Palazzo Venezia. With the ticket of Castel Sant’Angelo you can also visit Palazzo Venezia.
Until February 2, 2020, Colors of the Etruscans, Treasures in terracotta in the Centrale Montemartini, Via Ostiense 106, Metro B Garbatella, Bus 23, 769, 792 Ostiense/Garbatella Tickets
During the holiday season in August there are only a few big concerts in Rome. Concerts take place especially in the context of the Roman Summer.
Concerts in the Baths of Caracalla
One of the highlights of the Roman summer are the concerts at the Baths of Caracalla. The ancient ruins provide a unique backdrop. If you love opera, you should indulge yourself in an unforgettable performance at the Baths of Caracalla.
All performances start at 9pm. Tickets for all performances are available at order online. There are the following performances:
August 1 Romeo e Giulietta August 2 La Traviata August 3 Aida August 4 Romeo e Giulietta August 8 La Traviata
On August 7 at 9pm Placido Domingo gives the Gala “Noche espanola” Tickets
Rome summer fest
The Rome Summer Fest is the festival of the Roman Philharmonic Parco della Musica. The festival takes place at the Cavea open-air stage designed by Renzo Piano. Auditorium Parco della Musica – Cavea Tram 2 Apollodoro
A summer evening on the banks of the Tiber in Rome is a great experience. You can stroll along the river or enjoy culinary specialties.
In summer, stalls and tents are built on the banks of the Tiber. Associations inform about their work, you can buy clothes and objects and there are bars, restaurants and pizzerias. One area is below the Castel Sant’Angelo, a second major area goes from the Sixtus Bridge and across the Tiber Island to Porta Portese.
In addition to the predominantly culinary offer here you will find entertainment games, events and an outdoor cinema. The best time to visit the Tiber is between 8pm and midnight.
Another festival takes place further south in the Marconi district. There is the theater Teatro India, which offers events on a former industrial site every evening.
Every day from 7 pm there is music, concerts, street food, cocktail bar and specialty beers.
Every Monday from 10 pm RUM – Roma Underground Movement with music 90/00.
Teatro India is opposite the Ponte della Scienza pedestrian bridge. From the Tiber Island, it is 2 miles along the banks of the Tiber, from the metro station Piramide it is through the lively area along Via Ostiense and Via del Porto Fluviale, then via Riva Ostiense and over the bridge 1.3 miles. Nearest bus stop Piazza della Radio line 170, 766, 780, 781, N16
Summer party in the gardens of Castel Sant’Angelo
In August, there is a summer party in the Gardens of Castel Sant’Angelo. There are book readings, concerts, dance evenings and games.
Jazz at Villa Celimontana
Every evening in August, jazz concerts are held in “Village Celimontana”. Villa Celimontana on Caelius Hill can be reached on foot from the Circus Maximus via the Salita di San Gregorio. From the Colosseum take Via Claudia. Bus 81 Stop Villa Celimontana Bus 81 Stop Villa Celimontana
Gianicolo in Musica
In summer, the Estate Romana hosts concerts on the terrace of the Gianicolo in Piazza Garibaldi . Admission is free. From 18:30 you can enjoy an aperitif at the bar. The performances are divided into the themes of music, jazz, theater, tango and disco and start between 19:00 and 21:00. Details of the program (external link)
Open air cinema in the Villa Borghese
The Casa del Cinema at Villa Borghese hosts free performances during summer. The topics are space, short stories, opera films, the comedians Age & Scarpelli, the director Carlo Mazzacurati and the production house BIM Film. The performances are partly in original with Italian subtitles. Largo Marcello Mastroianni, 1 Download the program (pdf)
Climate and clothing
In August the maximum temperatures in Rome are always above 85°F and the minimum temperatures never lower than 70°F. You should choose your accommodation with air conditioning. In the city is a constant draft and the temperatures are not unpleasant in the shade. In the middle of the month, the weather changes in some years and it can be stormy for a few days.
Since you spend a lot of time outdoors in Rome, you need protection against the sun. Well suited are a sun hat or a umbrella. You also need comfortable shoes.
Attention! Visiting the sacral sites, including the catacombs and the Vatican Museums, your shoulders and knees must be covered, even on hot summer days.
Rome for early risers
In the early morning it is pleasantly fresh and there are only a few people on the way. The sunrise offers wonderful pictures and maybe you will meet at one of the monuments a wedding couple during a photo session. The early morning is also the best time to jog.
Rome on hot days
When planning your day you should be careful not to walk around in the heat of the afternoon. You should plan rest periods with a visit to a park, a swimming pool or a drive to the sea.
After sunset, a lively and colorful nightlife develops. Traditional festivals and events along the banks of the Tiber provide a change.
On hot summer days you might not feel like having a hearty lunch. Often a nice salad plate, a sandwich, fresh fruit or a sundae is enough. Many bars offer small meals for lunch. For a good ice cream, I recommend that you read my report on ice cream parlors in Rome.
For dinner, the Romans spend more time. It can take several hours between appetizer and dessert. There is a lot of fish and grilled meat. The heavy Roman cuisine is rather less suitable for the summer.
On beautiful summer evenings, you can eat well on the banks of the Tiber. It is also a good idea to take the train from the pyramid to Ostia and enjoy a nice meal by the sea there. However, it is very crowded in Ostia in August and you should book a restaurant if you want to go there.
If you have more time in Rome, you should take some time for a trip outside the city.
Very nice and popular is the drive to the sea. Easily reachable is Ostia with the local train from the pyramid (Metro B) to Ostia Lido. On the way you can visit the interesting archaeological excavations in Ostia Antica. There you will find the rests of a complete trading city with a Roman theater. Read also a day trip to Ostia
Many Romans go to the mountains. Very nice is a visit to Villa D’Este in Tivoli. The numerous fountains and water features fed by the River Aniene provide a cool breeze even on hot summer days. You can also go to visit Villa Adriana, the largest villa ever built by a Roman emperor, but it’s very hot there in August.
Pleasant is also the drive to Castel Gandolfo. There you can visit the papal summer residence and bathe in the volcano lake Lago di Albano. In August 2019 there will be maintenance on the railway line and the trains will be replaced by buses between Ciampino and Albano.
A little further away is Assisi, where St. Francis founded his order.
The high-speed trains take you to Naples or Florence in less than two hours. You can easily visit the Vesuvius from Rome or the Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. You can also travel to Venice in one day.
So it’s worth it to stay a few more days in Rome and organize some excursions.