May 1st is traditionally a day for excursions in Rome. When the weather is nice, you can go to one of the Roman parks, into the mountains or to the sea. A big concert is being held at the Basilica of San Giovanni.
Labor Day is a public holiday in Italy and is celebrated extensively in Rome. This year, May 1 falls on a Monday. That gives a long weekend.
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The biggest event in Rome on May 1st is traditionally the trade union concert in front of the Basilica of San Giovanni. It will also be televised.
It is important to know that many museums are closed on May 1st in Rome. In particular, municipal museums such as the Capitoline Museums and Trajan’s Markets, and also the Vatican Museums are closed. So what is there to do in Rome on May 1st and what are the Romans doing?
Although May 1 this year is a Monday, most National Museums are also open, otherwise closed on Monday. Among others, the Baths of Caracalla, the Baths of Diocletian, the Pantheon, the Vittoriano, Villa Farnesina and the National Museum of Modern Art are open. The Bioparco and many private museums are also open.
Our advice: On May 1, there are many short holidaymakers in the city. If you want to visit a museum, be sure to book in advance. A visit to the excavations of Ostia Antica or to the Appia Antica is also worth a visit.
Opening hours of shops
On May 1st, many shops and markets are closed in Rome. In the city center, however, numerous shops will be open. Open until 11pm, the La Rinascente flagship store is located in Via del Tritone. The Eataly delicatessen, located at the back of Ostiense station (metro station Piramide line B), is open until midnight.
So shopping in Rome is also possible on May 1st.
Public transport is based on public holiday timetable. This means, above all, that buses only operate at very large intervals. If the May Concert should take place in front of the St. John Basilica, there will be traffic obstructions in the whole area.
Opening hours at the Vatican
May 1st is not a holiday in the Vatican. The Vatican Museums are closed. St. Peter’s Basilica is open.
What do the Romans?
Many Romans are leaving the city for a long weekend. Classics are a traditional barbecue excursion with the family or a trip to the sea.
If you want to enjoy a good fish plate by the sea on May 1st, you definitely need to make a reservation!
Many Romans use the day off for a trip to the Appia Antica with a visit to the catacombs, a good lunch and a walk on the “Regina Viarium”.
If you do not want to go that far, you can visit the botanical garden. It is located under the Gianicolo and the entrance is in Trastevere at Largo Cristina di Svezia.
The zoo (bioparco) on the edge of the Villa Borghese park is also open.
The traditional may concert
The most important event on May 1st in Rome is the traditional May concert, organized by the Italian unions.
It takes place in front of the Basilica of St. John and there are major traffic diversions in the area.
Admission is free. The concert starts at 3 pm and ends after midnight. It mainly plays Italian artists and groups. There are 50 artists announced from young talents to the big names of the Italian music scene.
The concert can only be reached on foot from the Manzoni metro station or Re di Roma metro station, both on line A.