Rome May 1, 2021 · What’s up on May 1 in Rome

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. It is not yet known what provisions there will be regarding the coronavirus. The current rules apply until April 30th.

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Most of the celebrations last year had to be canceled or they were broadcast online.

It is important to know that most museums are closed on May 1st in Rome. In particular, the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums are closed. So what can you do on May 1st in Rome and what do the Romans do?

Open museums

It is not yet known which museums will be open. On May 1, 2019, the following museums were open in Rome:

  • Castel Sant’Angelo
  • Roman National Museum: Crypt Balbi – Palazzo Altemps – Palazzo Massimo – Baths of Diocletian
  • National Gallery of Ancient Art in the Palazzo Barberini
  • National Gallery of Ancient Art in the Palazzo Corsini
  • National Gallery of Modern Art
  • Palazzo Venezia
  • Vittoriano at Piazza Venezia
  • Galleria Spada
  • National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia
  • Museum of Civilization in the EUR district
  • Baths of Caracalla
  • Archeo Park of the Appia Antica
  • Excavations of Ostia Antica
  • National Museum of Musical Instruments
  • Museum Boncompagni Ludovisi for decorative art
  • Museum H. C. Andersen

In Tivoli were open Villa Adriana, Villa D’Este and Villa Gregoriana

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

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 usually 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 4 pm and ends after midnight. It mainly plays Italian artists and groups.

If viewers are allowed, there will be restricted access. The concert can only be reached on foot from the Manzoni metro station or Re di Roma metro station, both on line A.


The 2020 concert was streamed online:

Primo Maggio 2020 - Il backstage!

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