This post lists our top 10 suggestions for things to do in Rome, including popular events, attractions, and festivals that are happening in October 2023.
For more things to do, check out our popular Rome posts:
Our top 10 list includes some free things to do, family-friendly activities, and events happening in the evenings.
1. Attend a Concert
No matter when you choose to visit Rome, chances are there will be more than a few great musical options to take advantage of.
- Vivaldi/Bach at St. Paul's Within the Walls | Mondays
- Rooftop Bar Opera Show: The Great Beauty in Rome | Wednesdays
- Capuchin’s Crypt: Sacred Music in the Heart of Rome | Thursdays
- Open Air Opera Concert: Best Arias and Love Duets | Fridays
- Open Air Opera Concert at Terrazza Borromini | Fridays
- La Traviata at St. Paul's Within the Walls | Fridays
- The Three Tenors in Rome | Saturdays
- Die Walküre La Valchiria I Atto | October 6th
- Giulio Cesare in Egitto | October 13th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 21st
- I tre controtenori | October 20th
- Rossini & Rossini | October 28th, 29th, 31st and into November
- Hauser | October 20th
- Roma Film Music Festival | September 30th-October 8th
For something really special, you might try Sacred Music in the Heart of Rome, in the Capuchin Crypt. It comes with both a guided tour and a concert.
2. Take a Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
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.
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.
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. Attend the Romaeuropa Festival
Throughout the month, the Romaeuropa Festival will host performing artists and musicians at theatres and auditoriums around Rome.
Some events are free, others will have an average ticket price of €10 - €40 per person.
Dates are September 6th-November 19th. Find details here.
For other free things to do, check out our post on Free Things to do in Rome.
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 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 18th-29th you can attend one of the most prestigious film festivals, the Rome Film Fest.
Dozens of films by international filmmakers will be screened.
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 continues football season, and Rome has two teams you can support.
This is a great idea for families with sports fans and it’s worth noting that several matches will be held at night
If you'd like a tour of the field both teams play on, visit Rome's Olympic Stadium.
Football matches are played in the evening so they make for a fun nighttime activity.
If you're looking for other sports events, the Ryder Cup is finishing up at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club on October 1st.
They are also a family-friendly thing to do. See our post on family-friendly activities in Rome for more ideas.
8. Take a Free Roman Walking Tour
If you want some help finding your way around this ancient city, consider taking a free or pay-what-you-wish walking tour.
There are a few different Rome walking tours that won’t cost you a thing, but they do recommend giving your tour guide a tip at the end for their efforts.
On these tours, you can expect to visit locations such as Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Castel Sant’Angelo, and more.
NOTE: You can also take one of our audio tour of Rome's City Center.
9. Rome Art Week
Rome Art Week runs from October 23rd-28th. 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.
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.
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:
- Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
- Vatican Museums
- Capitoline Museums
- Borghese Gallery
- The Colosseum
- Castel Sant’Angelo
- Baths of Caracalla
- Gladiator Museum
- and More!
For more details, read our post covering Rome tourist attraction passes.