Cities across Italy in August usually empty out as residents head for cooler temperatures along the coasts. Rome is no different, but there is still much to do for tourists visiting Rome in August.
The summer months see the heaviest tourist traffic in Rome and other parts of Italy. At the same time, Romans head out of town, meaning you may encounter fewer crowds at restaurants and bars, though attractions will likely still be busy. If you have your heart set on dining at a particular restaurant, check ahead to see if it's open – many establishments close for all or part of the month of August.
Be prepared for hot, sunny weather in Rome in August. Carry a refillable water bottle with you to fill up at one of the city's many nasoni, or free public drinking fountains. Wear a sun hat and sunscreen, and take frequent breaks to cool off in the shade.
Here are the top events taking place in Rome during the month of August:
Ferragosto in Rome
August 15, Ferragosto (Assumption Day), is a national holiday, so many businesses and shops will be closed in Rome and other parts of the country, especially the larger cities.
The traditional peak of the summer holidays for most Italians, Ferragosto, which falls on the religious holiday of Assumption, is the time when many Romans head to the beach or mountains for a few weeks of relaxation away from the stress of the city. For those who stay in town, there are dance and music festivals and a generally festive mood well into the evening.
Religious Festivals in Rome in August
The Festa della Madonna della Neve is celebrated on August 5. The Feast of the "Madonna of the Snow" celebrates the miraculous August snow that fell in the 4th century, thereby signaling the faithful to build the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. A re-enactment of the event is carried out with artificial snow and a special sound and light show.
Opera at the Baths of Caracalla
From mid-July to early August, Rome's opera company, the Teatro Dell'Opera di Roma, stages performances at the evocative ruins of the Baths of Caracalla. It's an enchanting setting, and an open-air performance here is a must-see event for opera lovers. See the full season schedule on the Teatro Dell'Opera di Roma website.
Lungo il Tevere Roma
From June through August, the embankment of the Tevere, or Tiber River in central Rome welcomes a pop-up village of bars, restaurants, shops, and amusements. Called Lungo il Tevere ("along the Tiber"), the event makes for a fun way to spend an August evening. There's very often live music and impromptu street performances.
Live Music and Open-Air Cinema
Outdoor music and other performances happen throughout the summer in Rome. Estate Romana has a full, fun calendar of summer performances and events, including open-air film screenings across the city. At Castel Sant' Angelo you'll find music and performances in the evenings through mid-August.
On Tiber Island in the middle of the Tiber River, L'Isola del Cinema holds open-air screenings of recent and vintage international and Italian films.
Concerts take place in Rome's squares and parks, the banks of the Tiber are lined with stalls, and Shakespeare plays (in Italian) are performed at the Globe Theater in Villa Borghese.