This post provides several different ideas for things you can do in Rome during the month of August, updated for 2023.
In addition to a top 10 list, we will also include some free attractions, things to do at night and family-friendly activities.
This list will include our top 10 things to do and places to visit in Rome throughout August.
Whenever appropriate, we will make a note of family-friendly activities, free attractions and great events taking place at night.
Be sure to check out our guides to Rome tourist discount passes and bus tours as well as our guides to visiting the Vatican and the Colosseum for tips on things to do in Rome.
1. Enjoy the Ferragosto Holiday
Every August 15th, Rome celebrates a public holiday known as Ferragosto.
This date coincides with the Assumption of Mary, a holy day celebrated by Catholics throughout the world.
Most Romans celebrate this day by taking a break, and you can usually expect at least a few popular stores/restaurants/museums to close down.
The Vatican Museums are probably one of the most notable locations which will not be open on this day, but you will be able to visit places like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.
There are also usually several concerts and special events on this day, with many celebrations taking place near the River Tiber.
2. 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
- La Traviata | July 21st-August 9gh
- Rigoletto | August 3rd-10th
Some of these theatrical performances are included with the Opera Pass.
- Imagine Dragons | August 5th
- Roma Summer Fest | July - September | Cavea Amphiotheatre | featuring: various artists
- Rock in Roma | July - September | various locations | featuring: various artists
- Lungo Il Tevere | June - September | various locations along the Tiber | featuring: music, theatre, dance, arts
- AMA Music Festival | August
Also, check Rome tourist passes to see if they either include one of these concerts for free or offer a discount on tickets!
TIP: The Caracalla Baths are included on at least one of the lines provided by bus tours in Rome. Check our Roman bus tours post for more information.
3. Celebrate the Madonna of the Snow Feast
August 5th marks a special moment in Roman history when snow actually fell in the middle of summer.
This unusual event led the faithful to build the church of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Every year, they carry out a re-enactment with artificial snow and a special sound/light show.
Visitors are welcome to attend this event at the church for free and watch as the snow falls once again.
This could be a great activity for Catholic travelers or families.
This basilica is located very close to Termini Station and it is also one of the first stops on many bus tours in Rome.
4. Go on a Vespa Tour
If you're going to take a Roman Holiday (pun intended), you might as well do exactly as Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn did: hop on a Vespa and see the sights!
There are several ways to take a Vespa tour, including some of the following options:
If you do decide to go it alone with a Vespa rental, consider following one of our self-guided Rome tours!
5. Take a Food Tour or Cooking Class
You can't come to Rome and not partake of some of her most famous dishes. Obviously, Rome is known for pasta, but it has perfected Porchetta, Osso Buco, Gelato, and many other delicious fare.
To go along with Rome's delectable dishes, tasting some of Italy's best wines is a must-do as well.
- Street Food Tour
- Taste of Testaccio Food Tour
- Trastevere: Food and Drink Tour
- Jewish Ghetto & Campo de Fiori by Night
- Food and Wine Tasting in a Medieval Cellar
- Half-Day Food and Wine Tasting
- 3-hour Foot and Wine Tasting
- Pasta & Tirmisi Workshop With Dinner
- Fettuccine, Ravioli, and Tiramisu Cooking Class
- 4-Hour Combo Pizza and Pasta Cooking Class
- Homemade Gelato and Pizza Cooking Class with Wine
- Italian Pizza Cooking Class
- Homemade Gelato and Pasta Class with Lunch and Wine
In addition to these opportunities, you can also take our self-guided Rome food tour if you're interested in saving a little money and avoiding large crowds.
6. Go Stargazing on the Night of San Lorenzo
August 10th marks a special moment for Romans who traditionally go out on this night to try and catch a glimpse of shooting stars.
This date falls squarely in line with the annual Perseids meteor shower, ensuring that you’ll probably catch at least a few streaks shooting across the night sky.
Whether you choose to bring a telescope or just look up at the stars, this is an excellent and traditional activity to enjoy after dark in August – and it won’t cost you a thing!
If you want a truly astronomical experience, consider going to the Planetario e Museo Astronomico. This location is offered either free or at a discount with several different Roman tourist passes.
7. Make a Splash at Hydromania Water Park
Although you could always head for the coast, beach towns in Italy are usually very busy during the month of August.
It will probably be more affordable and less crowded at Hydromania, a notable water park in Rome.
Visitors can expect access to several water slides and other fun activities in the park.
Considering how hot it gets in this city during late summer, this could easily be a great place for families to cool off.
Tickets are pretty reasonably priced and they are open for at least 9 hours per day.
- Regular Tickets: €25/Adults (all-day) | €19/Adults (after 2 pm)
- Youth Tickets: €19/Kids (all-day) | €15/Kids (after 2 pm)
- Gold and Red tickets provide access to shaded areas and sunbeds
- Kids under 1.5 meters are FREE
Click here for more details or to purchase.
8. Take in the Circo Maximo Experience
This can't-miss experience has proven to be so popular it's been running for over two years now.
It is a virtual reality walkthrough of Circus Maximus, Rome's chariot racing/entertainment stadium.
You'll be given a VR headset and an audio guide that will walk you through the stages of Circus Maximus, from its creation to its various renovations and transformations over the centuries and under various rulers.
This outdoor walk lasts for about 40 minutes, and the audio is in six languages. To purchase tickets, click here.
9. Attend an AS Roma Game
If you’re a football fan, you may want to consider heading out to see a live game.
AS Roma is Rome’s Serie A team, and they typically play at least a few games during the month of August.
Whether you’re interested in sports or you just want to take in the atmosphere of the crowd in Stadio della Roma, this is an excellent opportunity to do as the Romans do!
Click here to learn more or purchase tickets.
10. Enjoy Deep Discounts While Shopping
The summer is a time when many Romans choose to leave the city and take a vacation, leaving businesses in Rome to fend for themselves.
This is just one reason why there are usually big sales stretching from the 2nd week of July to the 2nd week of August.
By the time August rolls around, the sales have usually been discounted even more to move merchandise off store shelves. As a result, this is typically a very good time to go shopping in Rome.
Even if you don’t feel like buying a lot of things on your trip, you may still want to consider looking for little treasures and trinkets that you can bring home as a souvenir.
TIP: Look for the word SALDI in shop windows-- that's SALE in Italian!
THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN AUGUST
This section will provide a few ideas for things that you can do after dark in Rome during the month of August.
If you’re looking for even more activities, make sure to check our Top 10 list above.
See the Trevi Fountain After Dark
One of the best times to see this landmark is after the sun goes down, because the city of Rome turns on the lights at night to create beautiful and amazing reflections in the water.
While the Trevi Fountain is incredible any time of day, you definitely won't want to miss an opportunity to take a photo and experience the attraction after dark as well.
Best of all, this activity is entirely free!
Have a Glass of Wine on a Rooftop Terrace
You have many options for viewing the grandeur laid out before you when on one of the dozens of rooftop terraces in Rome.
Just a few are:
- Cielo Terrace | at the top of the Spanish Steps.
- Matter Tarrae | in Piazza Navona. with a 360 view of Rome.
- Aroma Restaurant | overlooking the Colosseum
- Palazzo Nainer | 5th floor, overlooking Viia Borghese, Pizza di Spagna, and more
Experience the Capuchin Crypts After Dark
These historic crypts can be pretty creepy during the day, but the atmosphere gets even more disturbing at night.
If you’re up for the macabre, this is an excellent location to visit after the sun goes down.
The Capuchin Crypts are open to professional tours after hours which provide a lot of useful information about the Bone Chapel and the 4,000 monks whose remains adorn its walls.
- Tickets can be purchased here.
- Guided tour in English
- Duration: 45 minutes long
- Departure: Piazza Barberini, P.za Barberini, 00187 Roma RM, Italy - next to the fountain in the middle of the square.
Take a Night Tour of the Colosseum
The Summer is a very popular time for historic landmarks such as the Colosseum, and it can also be pretty uncomfortable to visit on a hot day. As a result, one of the best ways to see this site during July is on a night tour.
There are a few different tour companies that offer this service, allowing you to see areas that are usually off limits and enjoy a trip after the sun sets. Break away from the crowds and experience a guided trip through one of the most notable locations in all of Rome.
Click here for tickets and more information.
This section will provide a few different ideas for free things that you can do in Rome in August.
For additional free activities and attractions, check our top 10 list above for events such as Night of San Lorenzo, Ferragosto and the Madonna of the Snow Feast.
Go to a Free Museum
If you don’t feel like paying to see the Colosseum at night, you can always brave the crowds and see it for free on the first Sunday of every month.
There are many additional museums and historic sites you can visit for free on this day. Here is a list of additional locations:
- Colosseum and Forum
- The Borghese Gallery (booking required)
- Baths of Caracalla
- Castel Sant'Angelo
- Ostia Antica
- National Rome Museum (Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps, Crypta Balbi, Diocletian Baths)
- Villa Giulia (Etruscan museum)
- Palazzo Barberini
- Palazzo Corsini
- Galleria Spada
- Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli
- Villa d'Este in Tivoli
- Palazzo Venezia
- National Museum of Oriental Art
- National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography
- The Museum of Folk Arts and Traditions
- The Museum of the Early Middle Ages
- National Museum of Musical Instruments
Note that some state-run museums (and the Vatican) are not included, as are some special exhibitions.
Take a Stroll Down Via Appia
This is one of the most famous roads in all of Rome. It has been around for thousands of years, and it actually passes by several notable landmarks such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.
It won’t cost you anything to take a walk down this well-worn street and see the sites as they were once seen centuries ago.
The only thing you should keep in mind is that it can get pretty hot in August, so you may want to wear very comfortable clothes and bring a bottle of water with you.
This could also be a fun family activity, and if you’re willing to spend a few bucks, you could stop for a Gelato along the way!
Some tourist passes provide discounts on bike tours and other services related to Via Appia. Make sure to check our post about attraction passes in Rome for more information.
Check Out Villa Borghese
There are a lot of fun things to see and do in Villa Borghese – and even a few places to enjoy some shade on a hot summer day!
Although it’s free to visit the area, there are a lot of nearby attractions that charge for admission such as the Bioparco and Borghese Gallery.
If you’re going with the family, one free place you might want to see is called Cinema dei Piccolo – a movie theater for kids! As the name implies, this is a very small theater, but it’s perfect for the munchkins.
TIP: The Borghese Gallery is included for free with many tourist passes. Check our post about Roman attraction passes for additional information.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN AUGUST
This section will provide some ideas for fun activities that you can enjoy with your family in Rome during August.
For additional family-friendly options, check our top 10 list and other sections for attractions such as Hydromania, Villa Borghese, AS Roma and Via Appia.
Stop By a Cat Cafe
Everyone loves cats, and that’s all the reason you’ll need to make a stop at the Romeow Cat Bistro.
From the moment you walk in, you’ll be greeted with meows and friendly furry faces.
Depending on when you visit, you’ll have the option to enjoy a variety of dishes including meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Their menu is seasonal, so it will probably feature a lot of fresh produce like peaches and tomatoes during the month of August.
Even if you just want to stop in for a break from the summer sun, they will have plenty of snacks available to make your stay more pleasant.
Click here for more details on the Romeow Cat Bistro.
Visit the Explora Children’s Museum
This popular family destination is just west of Villa Borghese and north of the Spanish Steps.
Although this is a great place to take your kids any time of the year, the summer is an especially good time because Explora actually has a large pool where kids can play with water.
This exhibit isn’t designed for swimming or splashing, but it’s still a nice way to cool off and have some fun during the warm summer months.
In addition to water play, young visitors will also have the opportunity to learn about subjects such as gardening, sustainable fishing, cooking, weight/measures, and other subjects.
The best part? Tickets are very affordable!
Tickets: €6/Toddlers | €9/Adults & Kids
Click here to buy tickets or learn more.
Go See a Puppet Show
With some of the best views in all of Rome, Gianicolo Hill is a great place for families to visit.
Aside from seeing the ancient city below, you can also go to a live puppet show at Teatrino di Pulcinella al Gianicolo.
This open-air puppet theatre offers free performances every Saturday and Sunday.
You’ll find the kiosk for this little theatre just north of Piazzale Garibaldi, behind the snack stands and under the trees, at the Janiculum
The shade should make this a great place to visit during the summer!
Morning Shows | Saturday and Sunday | 10:30 AM (10:30) - 1 PM (13:00)
Afternoon Shows | Saturday and Sunday | 4 PM (16:00) - 7 PM (19:00)
Duration: 30 minutes
Visit the Bioparco
Located in Villa Borghese, the Bioparco (Rome’s Zoo) has a lot of exotic animals to see and experience. This location offers a summer center for children which will provide unique opportunities to learn about wildlife. See a variety of different animals like elephants, giraffes, alligators, tigers, camels, and more.
Ticket prices are below, although note that purchases 30-60 days out bring the price down for adults and children, and there is a promo price for those who go 2 hours before the park closes.
- €14/Seniors (Wednesdays €9)
- €14/Children Over 1 metre tall & up to 10 yrs old (Wednesdays €9)
- Kids under 1 meter tall are FREE
- Those accompanying the disabled are FREE
Zoo hours are between 9:30 am and 6:00 pm (18:00) in between March 26 and October 28.
There are also special events in July. See here for more details.If you'd like to also visit Villa Borghese, please read our post about things to do here.