Ferragosto in Rome, the holidays of Augustus, the holidays in August go back to ancient times. It’s one of the highest holidays in Italy, the 15th August. The church celebrates on the 15th August Assumption Day. In the weeks before and after Ferragosto, offices and factories are closed. Many Romans go to the seaside or in the mountains.
The period around Ferragosto is the most beautiful time in Rome, because many Romans are on holiday and the offices are closed. The city is quiet, livable and lovable. Most of the restaurants in the center and the shops are open also in August.
Rome Ferragosto · Opening hours of shops
On the 15th of August the shops are closed. Shops are opened in the tourist centers and in Ostia as well as the supermarkets.
Rome Ferragosto · Opening hours of the museums
The Vatican museums are closed on the 14th and 15th of August, 2019. On Friday, August 16, they are open late in the evening, as every Friday in summer. The Vatican museums are open on Sunday, 25th August until 2pm and admission is free. The entrance closes 90 minutes earlier.
The Apostolic Palace in Castelgandolfo is closed on 15 and 16 August. On Saturday, August 17, as every Saturday in August, there is an extended opening time 8:30 – 16:30 with closing at 17:30. Sunday is always closed in August.
The national museums and the museums of the Municipality of Rome are open.
Rome Ferragosto · Pope masses and audiences
The Pope is in Rome in August.
General audiences in August 2019
Every Wednesday with the exception of Wednesday 14th August, 2019, the Pope’s General Audiences are held. The audiences take place in the air-conditioned Audience Hall. Admission is free and you don’t need a reservation. Although the audience officially starts at 9:30am, I recommend that you be there by 8am at the latest so that you can find a seat.
Pope Masses and Angelus
Every Sunday and on 15 August the Pope gives a speech at 12 o’clock and prays the Angelus. Admission is free and you don’t need a reservation.
St. Peter’s Basilica and cupola are closed until the end of the Angelus.
Rome Ferragosto · Traffic
Bus and trams follow a reduced summer schedule in August. The Metro runs on Friday night and Saturday night until around 1:30 in the morning. The night buses operate according to the normal timetable.
Since many Romans are on vacation, there is little traffic. The roads are clear and many are driving too fast. There are numerous accidents due to excessive speed.
Rome Ferragosto · Events
The 15th of August is celebrated in seaside resorts such as Ostia and Fregene with festivals, concerts and fireworks.
In Rome, celebrations are held mainly on the Tiber. In addition, there are concerts and events.
Rome Ferragosto · Excursions
Many Romans go at Ferragosto to the sea or in the mountains. If you want to follow them and discover attractions in the area, here are some suggestions for you:
Ferragosto in Rome · Trip to Tivoli
On the foothills of the Apennine mountains, 20 miles east of Rome is Tivoli. The city with about 50,000 inhabitants is located at 770ft altitude on the river Aniene. Tivoli is the namesake for amusement parks. In the 16th century, a cardinal built the Villa D’Este, famous for its water games, including an organ fountain. Villa D’Este is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an oasis, especially on hot summer days.
Further down in the valley are the ruins of Villa Adriana, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in the years 118 to 134 by Emperor Hadrian. It is the largest palace complex, which was built by an emperor. For the visit of the Villa Adriana, take a sun protection with hat or umbrella with you.
Ferragosto in Rome · Trip to the Castelli Romani
The Castelli Romani, the Roman castles, are wine villages in the south of Rome on the slopes of the volcano of Lake Albano. Here it is cooler than in Rome.
A classical tour is the visit of the Pope’s summer residence and the gardens in Castel Gandolfo, which are however closed on 16th and 16th August.
But there are some other tours available, like a wine tour, a bike tour where you take the train to Castel Gandolfo and after lunch cycle back downhill to Rome, as well as a day trip with the Vespa.
Ferragosto in Rome · Excursion to the sea
Popular destinations for a trip to the sea are in the south of Rome Anzio, Sperlonga and Gaeta. You can reach these destinations by regional train connections.
There are also some special tours like:
A visit to the island of Capri, in the South of Naples. Even Emperor Tiberius withdrew to Capri and did not want to return to Rome.
A visit to the island of Ponza with a sailboat ride around the island. After the ride by speedboat from Anzio to Ponza, you will board the sailboat and enjoy the bays and crystal-clear water in a five-hour drive. If you are not inclined to seasickness, this tour is a dream.
Read also A day trip to Ostia