13 Best Things to Do in Rome in August – 2023 UPDATE

Rome in August is definitely hot, but I love it. In August in Rome, there is a large organization of events, festivals, and concerts in several locations. Whether it’s along the river, in a park, or an opera with the settings of an ancient bath, summer in Rome is exciting and with plenty of things to see and do.

Everywhere you will taste delicious food, be it fine dining or street food style, and original cocktails and drinks.

This guide to visiting Rome in August will help you decide what to see and do depending on your passions and also plan a smooth trip.

What to do in Rome in August for an unforgettable summer

Join the party along the Tiber

Summer in Rome means Lungotevere. From June through September, every year for almost two decades Roman summer party has been along the Tiber River. Food stands serving traditional Roman dishes as well as international cuisines such as Spanish and Mexican specialties and some 50 stands of artisans and craftsmen selling their original creations.

Image: Lungotevere in summer in Rome

Every night from 9.30 pm, there are also free movie projections and from time to time meetings with Italian key cinema figures such as actor Carlo Verdone and movie director Paolo Virzì. There will also be some stands devoted to culture, literature, and live music.

This series of events has been making the Roman summer for 18 years and every year is a success because both locals and tourists love the variety of the offer to be enjoyed in the fresh air always blowing along the river. If you are planning your trip to Rome in August, do try to make this a stop at least once during your vacation.

  • Where: go down the stairs near Ponte Garibaldi, Ponte Sisto, Ponte Cestio and Ponte Sublicio bridges.
  • When: every day from 7 pm to 2 am.

Make sure you read our post on the most impressive bridges in Rome.

Watch a movie on Tiber Island

Like every year in Rome in August, Tiber Island turns into a large open-air cinema theater. To the point that the initiative has been dubbed “Isola del Cinema”, cinema’s island.

A rich program of movies, exhibitions, masterclasses, the participation of Italian and international guests, cultural events of literature, digital arts, photography, and multimedia experiences.

Image: Isola del Cinema festival on Tiber Island in August in Rome
Photo courtesy of Isola del Cinema

The festival will also pay tribute to important Italian artists such as the late actress Monica Vitti, movie director Federico Fellini, and composer Ennio Morricone.

If you are hungry, don’t worry, along with cinema and movies, Tiber Island offers 15 different food options. From the gourmet Naples-style pizza of Pizzeria Piedimonte Pistritto 3.0 to the hamburger of Smash Tag, from the handmade fresh pasta of Quattro Mani in Pasta to the gourmet cold cuts of La Tradizione.

Image: Isola del Gusto in August in Rome
Photo courtesy of Isola del Gusto

For some on-the-go street food, Le Sicilianedde offers sweet and savory treats from Sicily, while for South American and Asian fish foods, you can grab a table at La Boqueria di Tierra.

For drinks, you can try the artisan beer of Open Baladin, the wines of SO2 Vini Naturali, and the cocktails of Kiirosushi & Städlin.

  • When: From June 16th to September 3rd.
  • Where: Access from Ponte Cestio bridge.
  • How much: Free entry from 6 pm to 2 am.

Visit the Colosseum at night

Visiting the Colosseum at night is a fantastic experience all year, but in summer even better because there is no risk of rain and in the evening the air becomes fresh and more pleasant.

There are some days when the Parco del Colosseo opens its doors for everyone to visit at night, but otherwise, you can book a tour and visit at night when it’s more convenient for you.

Take Walks organize night Colosseum tours all year so if you are in Rome in August, you can book one online and secure your spot in advance because it’s always a very busy month.

Image: Visit the Colosseum in Rome in August

There is also the Colosseum official tour company, CoopCulture, which offers night tours. The tour takes around an hour and you will visit the underground and the arena of the Colosseum. The tunnels and passageways where the gory shows were prepared, where the gladiators waited before going on stage, and where the beasts, still locked in cages, were then loaded onto elevators to reach the arena floor.

To book CoopCulture tours in English, click here, while to see Take Walks tours, click here.

  • Where: meeting point for CoopCulture tours at Cancello Valadier gate 15 minutes before the beginning of the tour.
  • When: CoopCulture tours Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between 8 pm and 12 am.
  • How much: CoopCulture tours 25€ per person, Take Walks for around 90€.

Make sure you check out our guide to the best Colosseum tours.

See the opera at the Caracalla Baths

Every summer the scenic ruins of the Baths of Caracalla are the venue for scenic open-air operas. Starting in 1937, the Baths of Caracalla hosted operas until the beginning of WWII to start again in 1945 to become a key event in the cultural scene in Rome boasting one of the world’s most suggestive stages. Unfortunately, in 1993 the Baths of Caracalla stopped hosting opera and ballet shows and we had to wait until 2001 for the curtain to ring up again.

Now, the opera shows at the Caracalla Baths are one of the favorite events of the Roman summer among both locals and tourists.

Some of the shows for summer 2023 are:

  • La Traviata of Giuseppe Verdi
  • Rigoletto of Giuseppe Verdi

Visit a museum

I know that museums are perfect places to visit when it rains, but let’s face it, also when it’s too hot, it becomes pleasant to spend some time indoors. By visiting a museum in Rome, you will add tremendous value to your trip whether it’s about history or an art collection.

If you are in Rome in August, I would probably avoid the most famous museums such as Musei Capitolini or the Vatican Museums. Unless it’s your very first time and you are not planning to come on a quieter month, that is. Lesser-visited museums such as Centrale Montemartini in Ostiense, Palazzo Altemps near Piazza Navona, or even Palazzo Barberini near Via Veneto will make for more relaxing experiences.

Make sure you check out our guide to the best museums in Rome.

See a temporary exhibition

Apart from the museums’ permanent collections, in summer they always organize great temporary exhibitions. Modern and contemporary art, classics and new artists, photography, visual installations and more make summer an exciting time to travel to Rome.

Some of the exhibitions that are scheduled to be shown in Rome in August 2023 are:

  • Picasso Metamorfico. Exhibition about Pablo Picasso on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his death. Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (Viale Belle Arti 131). Tuesday to Sunday 9 am-7 pm.
  • Gli Dei ritornano. I Bronzi di San Casciano. An exhibition on the discovery of the bronze statues of San Casciano dei Bagni. Palazzo del Quirinale (Piazza del Quirinale). Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
  • L’amato di Iside. Nerone, la Domus Aurea e l’Egitto. Exhibition on the connection between Rome and Egypt in the 1st century through the figure of Emperor Nero. Domus Aurea (Via della Domus Aurea).
  • I Mondi di Gina. An exhibition devoted to the late Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida. Palazzo Poli (Via Poli 54). Tuesday to Sunday 10 am-7 pm.

Take a dip in a swimming pool

Visit one of the many swimming pools in Rome for a fresh break from the summer heat. Most pools are outdoors and part of hotels but you can access them for a fee even if you are not staying there overnight.

Some cool hotel pools are the ones of Grand Hotel del Gianicolo where you can also enjoy a drink or a meal at the in-house restaurant, or the one of Villa Agrippina Gran Melià near the Vatican. Here, you can enjoy some light bites by the poolside, and amenities include pool sunshades, sunbeds, a gazebo, and towels.

Visit Borgo della Mistica

This is a bit far from the city center but if you are looking for a tranquil day spent in nature and relaxing on the poolside, Borgo della Mistica in the Torre Spaccata area is a great option. A beautiful outdoor swimming pool, a delicious restaurant, and a cocktail bar welcome visitors all day long on a former farm.

The food offered is made with organic ingredients sourced from local producers with plenty of vegan options for those who follow a plant-based diet but without neglecting also meat eaters and sweet tooth customers.

  • Where: Viale Marisa Bellisario 300.

Experience rural life in Borgo Pigneto

You won’t stray too far from the city center but the atmosphere of Borgo Pigneto will be of a “masseria”, a large farm typical of the Puglia region and southern Italy. After years of restoration, the historical Villa Lauricella opens its doors to locals and tourists offering a great chance to experience the traditional rural vibe in the heart of the city.

Surrounded by the large and elegant gardens of the villa, you can enjoy live music, concerts, and cultural events while savoring the tempting gastronomic creations and original drinks for aperitif, dinner, and after dinner. Key in both the food menu and the drink list are high quality and locally sourced ingredients.

Image: Borgo Pigneto to enjoy in Rome in August
Photo courtesy of Borgo Pigneto

Borgo Pigneto sprawls in a large space divided into different visual concepts, each of them ensuring the privacy of visitors and customers. The green and natural design are maintained also in the interior décor through plants and flowers.

For a casual meal, right after the entrance is the Picnic Area where customers are given specific towels and a picnic basket with a selection of cheeses and cold cuts, baked goods, veggie and fruit preserves as well as a large list of alcoholic and alcohol-free drinks.

Part of the dehors are also the kiosk for a more formal meal and the so-called “Trabucchi”, similar to stilt houses for private parties and large group dinners.

The other two areas include the “Locanda” and the “Salotto”. Italian for tavern, the Locanda features tables both indoors and outdoors and serves traditional handmade dishes from a strictly seasonal menu. A selection of platters, fried specialties, game ragout, stuffed pasta, fish from the catch of the day as well as a choice of cakes and tarts, and a drink list of wines, beers, and cocktails.

The Salotto, Italian for parlor, is on the first floor of the villa and is devoted to luxury cocktail-based drinks so perfect for a quality after-dinner hangout in Rome in August.

  • Where: Via Prenestina 216.
  • When: Tuesday to Sunday 6 pm-12 am. Monday closed.
  • How to get there: metro (Pigneto, line C).
  • Website.

Attend a summer event

Apart from the themed festivals gathering in a single location such as the Lungotevere or Villa Ada, all around Rome in August is an explosion of cultural events. With concerts and festivals around every corner of the city and beyond, the Roman summer is as exciting as it gets for both locals and tourists.

Whether you like music or want to dig deeper into archaeological discoveries, Rome offers something to everyone.

Are you feeling like listening to classical music? Go to the music festival known as Concerti del Tempietto (Piazza di Campitelli), near Teatro Marcello, to listen to pianists Giovanni Reggio, Zhuoya Wang, and Ana Gashtarovska, and concerts such as the one starring Yuxuan Jin on the violin with Vera Cecino on the piano, and the one starring Marta Silvestrini on the violin with Rocco Caruso on the piano.

Relax in Rome’s parks

From Villa Borghese to Villa Pamphilj, Rome has many parks to be enjoyed all year round. Green oases dotted with fountains, sculptures, lakes, gardens, and large trees, Rome’s parks are a great way to take a break from the city’s traffic to have some peace and breathe a bit of fresh air.

You can enjoy a picnic under a tree, have a walk, or rent a bike or one of those wheeled carts available in Villa Borghese. If you go to Villa Pamphilj, you can order a picnic from the local Vivi Bistrot which serves gourmet street food made with organic and locally sourced ingredients.

Every year in summer, Villa Ada is the venue of a popular music festival where Italian and international artists entertain their fans every day from the afternoon into the night. Enjoy the concert or any of the artist’s performances sipping on your favorite drink or cocktail or tucking into one of the street foods you will find in the kiosks part of the event. These will include local fares such as ciabatta bread with porchetta cured meat, or salmon or pulled pork sandwiches.

Image: Rowing a boat in Villa Borghese lake one of the places to propose in Rome

Villa Ada is one of Rome’s largest and most beautiful parks. Located on the northern side of Rome and accessible from Via Salaria, Villa Ada is a huge English-style garden. Adorned with neoclassical and eclectic buildings, it was the Roman residence of the Savoys, the former Italian royal family.

Apart from the statues and palaces, Villa Ada includes also the Catacombs of Priscilla, several trees such as pines, holm oaks, and laurels, as well as a great variety of local fauna including squirrels, hedgehogs, wild rabbits, birds, and water turtles in its lake.

In the lovely Villa Celimontana park, there is the annual Village Celimontana festival featuring some 100 concerts of different music genres from jazz to Brazilian samba to rock’n’roll. Rich also the food and drinks offer starring plenty of street food, cocktails, and more.

Enjoy the music of Parco Appio

Every summer, Parco Appio becomes the place of parties and festivals. A large space in front of the Parco dell’Appia Antica and the spring of the Egeria water, considered sacred in Rome since ancient times, Parco Appio offers food, drink, and entertainment every evening.

Image: Parco Appio to visit in Rome in August
Photo courtesy of Senza Spine Osteria

Different types of music festivals, from 1980s disco music to rock’n’roll, animate the evenings and a great variety of foods and drinks completes the fun. Immersed in the green but still inside Rome, at Parco Appio you can enjoy concerts and an open-air movie theater, or a chat in the relaxation zone while enjoying your aperitif or dinner.

Whether you want to go for different bites on the go from the street food stands, tuck into pizza, or enjoy a steak from the on-site steakhouse, Parco Appio covers it all. For a drink, you can visit the cocktail bar or sip on an artisan beer.

If you are a fan of fish and seafood, don’t miss the kiosk of Senza Spine Osteria that wants to combine the traditional vibe of a trattoria with a more refined menu.

Photo courtesy of Osteria Senza Spine

For lunch, the menu will be more classic with dishes such as lupini tagliolini pasta, or mixed deep-fried seafood. For dinner, to be enjoyed open-air in the common courtyard, the offer will still be street-food-style but more gourmet with fares such as prawn-cream supplì (deep-fried rice balls), Genoa-style focaccia with amberjack sausage and stracchino fresh cheese, and bun with fish frittata and salmoriglio, typical Italian herb-based dressing.

  • Where: Via dell’Almone 105.
  • When: Parco Appio every day in the evening. Senza Spine Osteria Thursday-Sunday 7 pm-12 am, Saturday and Sunday also for lunch.

Take an evening walk

Whether it’s along the river or in the city center, August is a fantastic time to take a walk in Rome. In the evening, the air is nice and fresh and a pleasant breeze blows all over the city, especially along the Tiber.

Stifling hot days are more common in July, and while in August in Rome you will still find some peaks, it’s certainly not the whole month. If you are not too tired after a day of sightseeing, in the evening take a stroll and enjoy the city when the landmarks are closed. You will love Rome’s Centro Storico spruced up for the night, the dim lights reflecting on the cobbled alleys, and joining the locals for some artisan gelato.

Party at Rome’s first House of Peroni Nastro Azzurro

In the beautiful setting of the garden of Pacifico restaurant in Palazzo Dama, the famous Italian Peroni beer factory opens the first House of Peroni Nastro Azzurro in its home country to launch a series of exciting events between May and October.

Plenty of music, shows, dance and VIP guests from the Italian showbiz scene, and obviously plenty of drinks. Beer lovers will be pleased to know that while enjoying the concerts and shows, they can sip on delicious Peroni-based cocktail infusions by famous bartender Simone Caporale.

  • Where: Lungotevere Arnaldo da Brescia 2.

Enjoy the view from a rooftop terrace

With such fantastic views everywhere, it’s only normal that Rome is full of rooftop terraces. In the city center, you can book dinner or aperitif in places such as Sofitel Villa Borghese hotel or Casa Valadier.

The fine-dining restaurant of Sofitel Villa Borghese is Settimo and features a great rooftop terrace with a view of the nearby neighborhood and its historical buildings, palaces, and domes. Casa Valadier is inside Villa Borghese and the view from its upper floor is really breathtaking.

Image: Alto Cocktail rooftop bar to visit in Rome in August
Photo courtesy of Alto Cocktail Bar

For a gourmet dinner, aperitif, or a cocktail, you can try Alto Cocktail Bar on the rooftop of The First Musica boutique hotel. Here, along with classic cocktails, the bar manager offers signature cocktails based on fermented foods such as kombucha, kefir, and miso. The aperitif is served from 6 to 10 pm and includes both cold and warm dishes while from 10 pm to 2 am only cold dishes to which you can add a mouthwatering choice of patisserie.

Go to the beach

I know that the beach is not really one of the main attractions in Rome but if you are coming in August, it’s quite likely that you are going to find some pretty hot days. If you are looking for a close beach, Ostia Lido is probably the easiest to reach with public transport as it only requires half an hour train ride from Piramide (Ostiense).

The coastline around Ostia has plenty of beaches, each of them offering different services for different types of vacationers. Some are for party lovers, some for families, and some more secluded dunes are perfect for those who like a more tranquil experience. Ostia features also many restaurants, bars, and clubs such as the famous Marine Village where you can enjoy great seafood at Ugo Al Villaggio restaurant.

Image: Marine Village in Ostia beach one of the places to visit in Rome in August
Photo courtesy of Marine Village

If you have rented a car and are driving in Rome, you can also see some other beaches near Rome such as the very popular Fregene, Santa Severa, and Santa Marinella. For those of you who don’t mind a longer drive, beaches like Sperlonga, Sabaudia, and Circeo are sure to make a great summer day out.

Go to Lake Bracciano

If you prefer the lake over the sea, don’t look further. Bracciano Lake is easy to reach, close, and a fantastic place to visit in August in Rome. You can take the direct train to Bracciano from Ostiense, Trastevere, San Pietro, and Valle Aurelia stations and from the station take a bit of a long walk, a taxi or a public shuttle bus if you find it. I suggest you inquire with locals once at the station.

Image: Bracciano Lake to see in Rome in August

Bracciano is lovely for its lake but also to visit the medieval town and its famous Odescalchi castle. Even though north of Rome, in summer it gets pretty hot and the town is full of uphill alleys, so I suggest you visit either early morning or later in the evening. The hottest hours are best spent on the lake shores, including the lunch that you can have at one of the many restaurants of the Lungolago.

Is August a good time to visit Rome?

August is usually the busiest month of Italy’s holiday season so landmarks can be very crowded, and so are the streets of the city center. If you get a little far from the Centro Storico, however, streets will definitely be calmer.

This is why August in Rome is a great time to visit lesser-visited neighborhoods such as Ostiense, Testaccio, or Garbatella. This is more so if it’s not your first time in Rome so you would have already visited the most popular landmarks and areas such as Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps that in summer get really crowded.

Of course, if it’s your first trip to Rome and you can only travel in August, it’s unlikely that you are going to spend your whole holiday exploring little-known areas and landmarks. For this, to avoid crowds, book online and start your sightseeing early morning.

What to pack for Rome in August?

The first thing you should consider when packing for Rome in August is the hot weather. So don’t forget to include sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, t-shirts, and light trousers.

Since it’s so hot, I would also pack a travel bottle to fill up in the many Rome’s nasoni, the little fountains constantly pouring water: it’s drinkable and fresh.

If you are planning to go to the beach or visit a swimming pool, pack some swimwear and some beach clothes so you won’t have to spend extra money here.

Make sure you check out my tips on what to pack for Rome in summer.

What to wear in August in Rome?

In Rome in August you should wear light summer clothes. If you are planning to visit the Vatican, remember that the dress code requires long trousers and knee-length skirts, and sleeveless t-shirts are not allowed.

There is no need for a jacket, but probably for the evening you can carry a shawl or light jumper in case you get to the river and it’s humid.

Be it inside a museum or outdoors, in Rome, you are going to walk a lot. Definitely wear comfortable shoes, whether these are light runners or sandals.

Is Rome too hot in August?

Together with July, August is one of the hottest months in Rome. There is really no other way around it, August in Rome is very hot, but there are a few tricks to make this more bearable. First of all, you manage your time so that in the hottest hours you are somewhere inside, be it a restaurant or a museum.

Open landmarks or walks can be left out for early morning or late evening when the weather is pleasant. If the day si really unbearable, go to the beach. Along the river, where in summer there is always a party, a nice breeze blows in the evening, giving you a nice break from the heat.

Usually, in the second half of August, the weather gets milder. You will still find hot days, but fewer, and sometimes you might even see clouds and light rain.

Is everything open in Rome in August?

I’ve been living in Rome since 1998, so quite a long time, and I can safely say that since then, things have changed a lot.

When I moved to Rome, in Italy we still had the Lira as currency and even though exchange-wise the Euro is much stronger, with the Lira we could afford more than we can now. Don’t ask me how the economy works, but while before most Italians could afford a month-long vacation in summer, now they are lucky if they can go away for two weeks.

Back in the day, and I’m talking about the ’90s and early 21st century, most of the restaurants in Rome were closed. The “Chiuso per ferie” sign was all over the city and tourists had to make do with what they could find. Now, this doesn’t happen.

If you come to Rome in August, fret not, you will easily find great restaurants open, fantastic gelaterias, pretty much all hotels, and obviously all the landmarks and attractions.

If you want to do some grocery shopping, local shops will be open most of August, probably closing for a week or two if they are exclusively family-run. For sure, store chains like Conad, Carrefour, Todis, or In’s, will be open the whole month and many also on the 15th of August, the biggest holiday in Italy in summer.

Until not long ago, most restaurants and businesses would close for a week or two around the 15th of August, known in Italy as Ferragosto. So if you are landing in Italy on a cruise, after enjoying the famously appetizing Virgin Voyages food, you can rest assured that you will still be able to have great eating experiences in Rome, too.

Now many would still close around Ferragosto but definitely not all shops or restaurants, simply because they can’t afford to close in one of the busiest tourist months of the year.

You’ll have more chances to find the “closed for holiday” sign in the neighborhoods far from the city center, but in areas like Trastevere, Centro Storico, and around the Vatican, there will be plenty of choices of restaurants, bars, cafes, and gelaterias.

Is Rome quiet in August?

In August, Rome is quiet compared to other months because many Romans go on holiday. So traffic of cars will be much slower and peak hour will barely happen. But if you are wondering if landmarks are quiet, I’m sorry to disappoint you, they are not.

Summer is the highest season of Rome’s tourism so the attractions and the streets in the city center are always crowded. Areas like Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori, Via del Corso, or Trastevere will be very busy day and night.

Where to stay in Rome in August

For sure, I recommend you book a hotel with air conditioning so you will sleep better at night without the need to open the window for fresh air. If you can afford it, you can also look for a hotel with a pool. I’m not suggesting you spend your Roman holiday in the hotel, but to unwind after a day out, it’s nice to take a little dip, do a swim, or sip a drink by the poolside.

If you don’t mind busy nights and days and flocks of tourists, opt for a hotel in the city center so you are always in the heart of the nightlife. If you are planning to enjoy Rome at night, too, a great area to book your hotel is Trastevere, while for a more tranquil place, I would probably book a room in Prati or Trionfale near the Vatican.

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About The Author: Angela Corrias

Hi, my name is Angela Corrias! I am an Italian journalist, photographer, and blogger living in Rome. After over ten years of living abroad, I finally came to the conclusion that in order to better organize my future adventures, I needed a base. Since I know and love Rome so much, I moved back to the Eternal City. This is how Rome Actually was born. Here, I cover everything about Rome, from the local food to the culture to Roman history.

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