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Things to Do in Rome in October

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This post lists our top 10 suggestions for things to do in Rome, including popular events, attractions, and festivals that are happening October 2021. 

For more things to do, check out our popular Rome posts: 

 

 


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO

Our top 10 list includes some free things to do, family-friendly activities, and events happening in the evenings.


(1) Attend an Opera

Rome has opera and classical music performances all year long, including the classic La Traviata, which is performed at least once a week.

Here are some performances in Rome in October:

 

 

You may also find some operas or ballets being hosted by Teatro dell’ Opera, but they have yet to announce plans for October 2021.

We also suggest checking to see if anything is happening at Terme di Caracalla.

TIP:  Terme di Caracalla (the Baths of Caracalla) is one of the popular ancient sites in Rome. If you are going for an evening performance there, consider visiting the Baths during the day. Find out more here.


(2) Go Sightseeing 

Most people come to Rome for two things: eat the food and see the sights! The Colosseum is perhaps the most recognizable site in the city and on most people's lists of must-see Rome. 

Other iconic sights to see are the Spanish StepsPiazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain

A convenient way to travel between sights is to take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour.

 

 

These tours allow you to see more of Rome than you could by just walking around. Spend time at the sights you want by hopping off.

See other sights while sitting comfortably on the bus with guided commentary.

If you would like to explore by foot, take a look at these tours of the city centre to find a tour that is right for you.


(3) Celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi 

Every year the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi is on October 4th. Celebrate the life of the patron of animals by visiting the Church of San Francesco a Ripa Grande in Trastevere.

It was here, in 1209, that  St. Francis of Assisi slept in a convent attached to the church when seeking recognition for his order from Pope Innocent III.

 

 

Provided you are dressed modestly (shoulders and knees covered, for example), ask the custodian if you can see where St. Francis slept. You may even be allowed to touch the stone pillow he used! 

Our guide on things to do in Trastevere can help you plan your time in this charming, and also trendy, neighborhood.


(4) Visit a Historical Site or Museum for Free

On the first Sunday of every month, several museums and historical sites around Rome offer free admission. In 2021, the date is October 3rd.

Many of the most popular landmarks, like the Capitoline Museums participate in this event.

 

 

Here are some of the more notable sites you can visit:

  • Trajan's Markets
  • Museum Pietro Canonica
  • Museum of the Walls
  • Gallery of Modern Art

Check out our post on free things to do in Rome to find out about other opportunities to visit museums for free.


(5) Visit the Zoo in Honor of St. Francis of Assisi 

As mentioned above, St. Francis is known for being the patron saint of animals. In keeping with the holiday's spirit, why not visit Rome's zoo, the Bioparco.

This is an especially good activity if you are traveling with children. Stop by to say ciao to the newly arrived 18 African penguins!

 

 

The Bioparc is located inside Villa Borghese. In addition to visiting the zoo, you can visit some of Rome's best museums, rent bikes, go to the cinema and more.

See our post about things to do at Villa Borghese


(6) Head to the Rome Film Fest

From October 14th-24th, 2021, you can attend one of the most prestigious film festivals, the Rome Film Fest.  Dozens of films by international filmmakers will be screened.

This year, director Tim Burton will receive the lifetime achievement award. Other film celebrities will participate in discussion panels you can attend. 

 

 

Come out and watch some of the best actors, actresses, directors and more walk down the red carpet!

Tickets cost between €5 - €30 per event.  Get the details from the Rome Film Fest website.

TIP: Even if you miss the film festival, you can always spend some time at Cinecitta and experience the studio that produced films like Ben-Hur and Once Upon a Time in America.


(7) See a Live Football Match

October is an excellent time to catch a football match and you have two fantastic football clubs to choose from:

NOTE: While the links above should work, you might have to purchase tickets directly from each club.

 

 

Football matches are played in the evening so they make for a fun nighttime activity

They are also a family-friendly thing to do. See our post on family-friendly activities in Rome for more ideas. 


(8) Go see a Concert

Although Rome isn't currently attracting a lot of notable musicians at the moment, there are a few great concerts scheduled for October 2021.

 

 

Here are a few of the best musical performances taking place in Rome this month:

  • Anvil | Oct 8th
    • Venue: Traffic Live Club
  • Jethro Tull | Oct 12th
    • Venue: Teatro Brancaccio
  • Aiello | Oct 12th, 13th
    • Venue: Atlantico
  • New Disorder | Oct 16th
    • Venue: Defrag
  • Moda | Oct 19th
    • Venue: Palazzo dello Sport
  • Il Volo | Oct 20th
    • Venue: Palazzo dello Sport
  • Necrodeath | Oct 29th
    • Venue: Defrag

You should be able to find tickets for each show from this list of concerts in Rome during October. If not, you may have to purchase them directly from the venue.


(9) Rome Art Week

This event runs from October 25th-30th, 2021.  During this time, more than 300 contemporary artists all over the city hold special events at their galleries and studios.

Activities include free guided tours, open studios, installations and more. Learn more here

 

 

Rome's museums are among the best in the world. Among the finest are the Vatican Museums. You can see masterpieces from Michelangelo, Raphael and more. 

See #4 above to find out how to see some of these museums for free.


(10) Save Money with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

With a tourist attraction discount pass, you’ll get to see much more at a bulk discount – up to 55% for some popular attractions!

Some passes include skip-the-line tickets at specific locations, making it easier to save time while exploring the city.

 

 

Here are a few of the more notable activities offered by various Rome tourist passes:

For more details, read our post covering Rome tourist attraction passes.

 


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HONORABLE MENTION

Attend the Roma Europa Festival

Throughout the month, the Roma Europa Festival will host performing artists and musicians at theatres and auditoriums around Rome.

 

 
Some events are free, others will an average ticket price of €10 - €40 per person. Get the details here.

 


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About The Author

Courtney

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.
Updated: October 3rd, 2021
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