Tag Archives: Rome festivals and events



Complete Guide to Visiting the Vatican During a Jubilee Year

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City

By now most Italy-bound travelers know about the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which began in late 2015 and continues through late 2016. What you may not know is what this means for your upcoming trip to Rome — and what it would mean if you were to visit Rome during any Jubilee Year in the future. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect during a Jubilee Year visit to Vatican City and Rome.

Holy Doors Open

The Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica and other churches throughout Rome (and the world) are only opened during Jubilee Years. Even if you’re not a pilgrim hoping to have all your sins absolved, it might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to walk through the Holy Door at St. Peter’s. You can book ahead for a date to walk through the Holy Door using the Vatican’s official Jubilee website. This, like tickets for all the Jubilee special events, is a free ticket.

Bigger Crowds

Vatican Museum corridor

Vatican Museum corridor

Rome is a popular tourist destination during a normal year, so during a Jubilee Year the regular numbers of tourists are compounded by a significant number of pilgrims who come specifically for the events of the Holy Year. Some pilgrims will focus just on Vatican City and the special celebrations of the Jubilee Year, others will spend time sightseeing in Rome and in other parts of Italy, too. Expect the crowds to be bigger throughout the whole Jubilee Year, bigger still on special event days and even bigger on major holidays like Easter and Christmas.

Tighter Security

With the influx of so many pilgrims in addition to tourists, the already-tight security at many Rome and Vatican monuments will be increased. This can mean long lines to get through metal detectors (and this is after the long line for tickets), so be prepared for lengthy wait times. You can’t bypass security, but you can bypass the ticket lines by booking entry tickets or Vatican tours in advance — a good idea in a normal year, and an even better idea during a Jubilee Year.

Papal Audiences Booked More in Advance

Up close to the pope during a papal audience

Up close to the pope during a papal audience

More pilgrims coming to the Vatican means getting a papal audience ticket will be more difficult. If you’re so inclined, make sure you arrange your papal audience as far ahead of your trip as you possibly can. These can be booked through the Vatican’s official Jubilee website for free, though if they’re all booked up you can also book a papal audience ticket through Viator for a fee.

Rome Hotels Are More Expensive

Hoteliers raise their rates during holidays and peak travel seasons, when they know demand is higher, so during a Jubilee Year you can expect higher-than-normal prices on hotels throughout the city. Hotels closer to the Vatican, which are often cheaper because they’re not within easy reach of the historic center, may be more expensive than normal because of their easy access to St. Peter’s Basilica. Booking well in advance gives you more options in more price categories.

Learn more about the 2016 Jubilee Year of Mercy and special events during the 2016 Jubilee Year.

– Jessica Spiegel

Complete Guide to Visiting the Vatican During a Jubilee Year from Viator Rome



Special Events for Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy

Pope Francis greets visitors in St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis greets visitors in St. Peter’s Square

Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy is largely in 2016, but some of the key events take place in late 2015. Not only that, while the Jubilee Year takes place over a total of 348 days, there isn’t a major event taking place every single day during that time. Here’s an overview of the major jubilee year events, so you can better plan your Rome visit.

Learn more about the Jubilee Year – what it is, and what to expect

Jubilee of Mercy Events in 2015

  • December 8th – The holy door of St. Peter’s Basilica is opened by Pope Francis after a morning Mass, marking the official start to the Jubilee Year. A cathedral’s holy door is only open during a Jubilee Year.
  • December 13th – The holy doors of Rome’s Archbasilica of St. John and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls are both opened. Cathedrals elsewhere in the world will also open their holy doors on this date, too.
  • December 27th – Jubilee for the Family, in St. Peter’s Square.
Many papal audiences will be held in St. Peter's Square during Jubilee 2016

Many papal audiences will be held in St. Peter’s Square during Jubilee 2016

Jubilee of Mercy Events in 2016

  • January 1st – The holy door of Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major is opened on a “World Day for Peace.”
  • January 19th – Jubilee gathering for people who work at pilgrimage parishes and shrines around the world, in the Paolo VI Hall.
  • January 30th – Some papal audiences will be granted in St. Peter’s Square on this day.
  • February 13th – Jubilee for prayer groups dedicated to Padre Pio, in St. Peter’s Square.
  • February 20th – Some special papal audiences will be granted in St. Peter’s Square on this day.
  • March 4th – “24 Hours for the Lord,” prayer services in St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • March 12th – Some special papal audiences will be granted in St. Peter’s Square on this day.
  • March 20th – Palm Sunday, also the Diocesan Day for Youth.
  • April 1st – Jubilee for people “Devoted to the Spirituality of Divine Mercy,” in St. Peter’s Square and several churches in Rome.
  • April 9th – Some special papal audiences will be granted in St. Peter’s Square on this day.
  • April 23rd – Jubilee for Boys & Girls, meaning children ages 13-16 who have been confirmed. Several churches in Rome and Vatican City will be set up for confessions.
  • April 30th – Some special papal audiences will be granted in St. Peter’s Square on this day.
  • May 5th – Pope Francis will lead a prayer “vigil to dry the tears,” in St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • May 14th – Some special papal audiences will be granted in St. Peter’s Square on this day.
  • June 10th – Jubilee for people who are sick or disabled, in St. Peter’s Square.
  • June 18th – Some special papal audiences will be granted in St. Peter’s Square on this day.
  • June 30th – Some special papal audiences will be granted in St. Peter’s Square on this day.
  • July 26th – Jubilee for Youth, on World Youth Day. The official site of World Youth Day in 2016 is Krakow, Poland.
  • September 10th – Some special papal audiences will be granted in St. Peter’s Square on this day.
  • October 1st – Some special papal audiences will be granted in St. Peter’s Square on this day.
  • October 22nd – Some special papal audiences will be granted in St. Peter’s Square on this day.
  • November 1st – Holy Mass for the faithful departed, at the Flaminio Cemetery.
  • November 6th – Jubilee for prisoners, in St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • November 12th – Some special papal audiences will be granted in St. Peter’s Square on this day.
  • November 13th – The holy doors of the Basilicas in Rome and around the world will be closed.
  • November 20th – Pope Francis will close the holy door of St. Peter’s Basilica, marking the end of the Jubilee Year.

- Jessica Spiegel

Special Events for Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy from Viator Rome



Pope Francis Declares 2016 a Jubilee Year

Pope Francis among the crowds in front of St. Peter's Basilica

Pope Francis among the crowds in front of St. Peter’s Basilica

Pope Francis recently announced that 2016 will be what’s known as a Holy Year, commonly called a “Jubilee Year.” The pope has declared it the Holy Year of Mercy, focusing on his favorite theme of compassion.

Jubilee Years have been called by the church every 25-50 years, starting in the year 1300. Historically, these were to be special periods of complete forgiveness of sins – in the Bible, it’s when slaves were to be set free and debts absolved. Today, a Jubilee Year is a time for the faithful to seek “Jubilee Indulgences” (which include visiting all four papal basilicas in Rome, entering through the “holy door”) and, more generally, an opportunity for the church to promote a particular theme (such as Pope Francis’ selected theme of “mercy”).

The Holy Year of Mercy will begin on December 8, 2015 with a ceremonial opening of the holy doors on Rome’s four papal basilicas – St. Peter’s in Vatican City, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, and St. Paul’s Outside the Wall – which are only opened during Jubilee Years. Walking through all four of the holy doors is said to absolve a believer of all sins. The closing of the holy doors marks the end of the Jubilee Year – in this case, the end of the Holy Year of Mercy will be November 20, 2016.

If you’re visiting Rome and Vatican City during the Jubilee Year, you’ll see bigger crowds than normal – both pilgrims and tourists – and things like getting tickets to a papal audience or touring the Vatican will require more advance planning than usual. You’d be smart to book your accommodation as soon as possible, too.

- Jessica Spiegel

Pope Francis Declares 2016 a Jubilee Year from Viator Rome



Pope Francis Declares Jubilee Year in 2016

Pope Francis among the crowds in front of St. Peter's Basilica

Pope Francis among the crowd in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Pope Francis recently announced that 2016 will be what’s known as a Holy Year, commonly called a “Jubilee Year.” The pope has declared it the Holy Year of Mercy, focusing on his favorite theme: compassion.

Jubilee Years have been called by the church every 25-50 years, starting in the year 1300. Historically, these were to be special periods of complete forgiveness of sins. In the Bible, it’s when slaves were to be set free and debts absolved. Today, a Jubilee Year is a time for the faithful to seek “Jubilee Indulgences” (which include visiting all four papal basilicas in Rome, entering through the “holy door”) and, more generally, an opportunity for the church to promote a particular theme (such as Pope Francis’ selected theme of “mercy”).

The Holy Year of Mercy will begin on December 8, 2015 with a ceremonial opening of the holy doors on Rome’s four papal basilicas – St. Peter’s in Vatican City, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls – which are only opened during Jubilee Years. Walking through all four of the holy doors is said to absolve a believer of all sins. The closing of the holy doors marks the end of the Jubilee Year – in this case, the end of the Holy Year of Mercy will be November 20, 2016.

If you’re visiting Rome and Vatican City during the Jubilee Year, you’ll see bigger crowds than normal – both pilgrims and tourists – and things like getting tickets to a papal audience, touring the Vatican and booking accommodations will require more advance planning than usual.

- Contributed by Jessica Spiegel

Pope Francis Declares Jubilee Year in 2016 from Viator Rome



Summer Festivals in Rome

Rome's Tiber River is a lively place to be during the Lungo il Tevere summer festival

Rome’s often-quiet Tiber River is a lively place to be during the Lungo il Tevere summer festival

Some travelers try to avoid tourist hotspots like Rome in the summer – it’s hot, it’s crowded, and it’s expensive. But summer in Rome can be one of the best times of the year, thanks to all of the summer festivals and events that go on in the Italian capital.

There are plenty of things to do in Rome in summer, however, so if you don’t mind the heat or the crowds, here are some of the summer festivals in Rome not to miss.

Opera di Roma at the Baths of Caracalla

Often, Italian opera houses take the summer off. In Rome, however, the opera just changes venues – to the spectacular ruins at the Baths of Carcalla. Performances are outdoors, with dramatic Roman ruins as the backdrop, and the program changes every year. There are sometimes visiting performance groups from other countries, and the program may include ballet as well as opera and orchestral music.

Lungo il Tevere

Rome was once accused of turning its back on its river, but lately the city has been embracing the Tiber – Tevere in Italian – more and more. In the summer, the Lungo il Tevere festival runs from mid-June through the end of August and features vendors, restaurants, and bars in temporary shops along the river. It’s the place to be, often until the wee hours of the morning.

Gay Village

The massive Gay Village festival takes over the Parco del Ninfeo in the EUR neighborhood of Rome. The party lasts from June through September, and features live theater and music performances, dance parties, a film festival, plenty of bars and restaurants, and even an open-air gym. It’s become one of Rome’s most popular festivals, attended by locals and tourists alike.

Roma Incontra il Mondo

“Rome Meets the World” is how this festival name translates, and it’s through the music of artists from around the world that Rome meets the world every summer. This music festival is held on an island in the lake at the Villa Ada park, which is northeast of the Villa Borghese Gardens.

Festa de’ Noantri

There are several religious festivals in Rome in summer, but one you might want to clear the calendar for is the Festa de’ Noantri. It runs from mid-late July in the Trastevere district, and involves a procession through the streets with a statue of the Madonna del Carmine. That’s followed by two weeks of, essentially, a street fair. It’s a festival that dates back to the 16th century.

Rock in Roma

The annual Rock in Roma festival brings major international music acts to the city each summer, including the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Billy Idol, Bruce Springsteen, Arcade Fire, Metallica, Megadeth, Neil Young, Smashing Pumpkins, Sigur Ros, The Lumineers, and Blur. The venue is near Rome’s smaller airport, Ciampino, at the Ippodromo delle Capanelle.

Isola del Cinema

Summer evenings are perfect for outdoor movie screenings, and in Rome the Isola del Cinema festival takes over the Isola Tiberina right in the middle of the Tiber River in Rome’s historic center. From mid-June through the end of September there are Italian and international films shown.

-Jessica Spiegel

Summer Festivals in Rome from Viator Rome



Summer Festivals in Rome

Rome's Tiber River is a lively place to be during the Lungo il Tevere summer festival

Rome’s often-quiet Tiber River is a lively place to be during the Lungo il Tevere summer festival

Some travelers try to avoid tourist hotspots like Rome in the summer – it’s hot, it’s crowded, and it’s expensive. But summer in Rome can be one of the best times of the year, thanks to all of the summer festivals and events that go on in the Italian capital.

There are plenty of things to do in Rome in summer, however, so if you don’t mind the heat or the crowds, here are some of the summer festivals in Rome not to miss.

Opera di Roma at the Baths of Caracalla

Often, Italian opera houses take the summer off. In Rome, however, the opera just changes venues – to the spectacular ruins at the Baths of Carcalla. Performances are outdoors, with dramatic Roman ruins as the backdrop, and the program changes every year. There are sometimes visiting performance groups from other countries, and the program may include ballet as well as opera and orchestral music.

Lungo il Tevere

Rome was once accused of turning its back on its river, but lately the city has been embracing the Tiber – Tevere in Italian – more and more. In the summer, the Lungo il Tevere festival runs from mid-June through the end of August and features vendors, restaurants, and bars in temporary shops along the river. It’s the place to be, often until the wee hours of the morning.

Gay Village

The massive Gay Village festival takes over the Parco del Ninfeo in the EUR neighborhood of Rome. The party lasts from June through September, and features live theater and music performances, dance parties, a film festival, plenty of bars and restaurants, and even an open-air gym. It’s become one of Rome’s most popular festivals, attended by locals and tourists alike.

Roma Incontra il Mondo

“Rome Meets the World” is how this festival name translates, and it’s through the music of artists from around the world that Rome meets the world every summer. This music festival is held on an island in the lake at the Villa Ada park, which is northeast of the Villa Borghese Gardens.

Festa de’ Noantri

There are several religious festivals in Rome in summer, but one you might want to clear the calendar for is the Festa de’ Noantri. It runs from mid-late July in the Trastevere district, and involves a procession through the streets with a statue of the Madonna del Carmine. That’s followed by two weeks of, essentially, a street fair. It’s a festival that dates back to the 16th century.

Rock in Roma

The annual Rock in Roma festival brings major international music acts to the city each summer, including the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Billy Idol, Bruce Springsteen, Arcade Fire, Metallica, Megadeth, Neil Young, Smashing Pumpkins, Sigur Ros, The Lumineers, and Blur. The venue is near Rome’s smaller airport, Ciampino, at the Ippodromo delle Capanelle.

Isola del Cinema

Summer evenings are perfect for outdoor movie screenings, and in Rome the Isola del Cinema festival takes over the Isola Tiberina right in the middle of the Tiber River in Rome’s historic center. From mid-June through the end of September there are Italian and international films shown.

-Jessica Spiegel

Summer Festivals in Rome from Viator Rome



Going to a Soccer Game in Rome

Roma & Lazio fans at a soccer game in Rome. Creative commons photo by Calcio Streaming via Flickr.

Roma & Lazio fans at a soccer game in Rome. Creative commons photo by Calcio Streaming via Flickr.

If you’re a sports fan planning a trip to Rome, you probably already know that the favorite national sport is soccer – or, as it’s called in Italy, calcio. But you may not know much about how to see a soccer game when you’re in Rome. Luckily, it’s a pretty easy thing to do, provided you’re in the right place at the right time. Here are some tips to seeing a soccer game in Rome.

Soccer Teams in Rome

There are many soccer teams in Rome, but the two most often at the top level are AS Roma and Lazio. They both play their home games in the same stadium – the Stadio Olimpico in the outskirts of Rome – and both have passionate fanbases. If you’re more of a casual fan, consider seeking out a game between teams in one of the lower divisions – Serie B or Serie C. The atmosphere is less charged, and the crowds usually not as big. If you’re planning to go to a Roma or Lazio game, be aware of what colors to wear (or not wear). Roma’s colors are dark red and yellow-orange. Lazio is light blue and white. If you’re in doubt, wear black.

A Roma-Lazio game is, as you might expect, a very big deal in Rome. They happen twice each season, and although they can be extremely exciting they’re also often when the most fan violence takes place. This shouldn’t be your only reason to avoid that game, it should just be something you keep in mind when you’re considering where to sit and whether to bring the kids. It may turn out to be one of the most memorable things to do in Rome, but it’s not for everyone.

Italian Soccer Season

The first thing to understand is when to expect soccer games in Italy. The soccer season usually runs from August through May, with a break of a few weeks over the Christmas/New Year’s holidays. Games are most often played on weekends, with the occasional mid-week match thrown into the mix. The schedules for each season are released in the late summer, so you’ll be able to figure out whether your travel plans coincide with any games in Rome pretty quickly (and make adjustments to your trip if you’re that keen on seeing a game).

When looking at the Italian soccer schedule, keep in mind that each team plays every other team twice – once at home and once away – and the order of the games is the same for the first and second halves of the season. They run through the list once, and then start at the top again to run through it again, this time playing in the opposite stadium as the first time through. The schedules are written so that there’s only one list of the match-ups, with two dates by each pair of teams to indicate when those teams play. The left column on the schedule shows which team is the home team for the dates on the left, and the right column shows the home teams for the dates on the right. If you’re confused, you can go straight to the websites of Rome’s two major teams – AS Roma and Lazio – to look at only their schedules.

Getting Tickets to Soccer Matches in Rome

You can’t buy tickets to soccer games in Italy months in advance. They’re only released about a week before each game. In Rome, you won’t be able to get tickets on the day of the game, so you’ll need to plan to pick them up some time during that week. Your best bet is to go to one of the team’s shops in Rome to buy tickets – you can usually find them available online, but the prices are often several times higher than what you’d pay in person. Keep in mind that when buying your tickets in person you have to pay in cash, and you must bring a picture ID – your ticket will bear your name, so you’ll need to bring your ID to the stadium, too.

For most visiting fans, the best places to get tickets in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome are in the two longer sides of the stadium. The two short ends – the “Curva Nord” and “Curva Sud,” as they’re called – are where the most boisterous (some would say “crazed”) fans sit.

-Jessica Spiegel

Going to a Soccer Game in Rome from Viator Rome



Rome in May: Weather, Events, & Things to Do

Rome's Spanish Steps in May

Rome’s Spanish Steps in May. Creative commons photo by Bradley Griffin via Flickr.

Although May is still technically part of the spring, and summer is really the high tourist season in Rome, May has become part of the high travel season throughout most of Italy. The weather is usually warm, which is what most travelers prefer, but by May the crowds are starting to build in Rome. It can be a lovely time to be in the Italian capital, if you plan ahead.

Rome’s weather in May is typically warm, with the average high in May being in the low 70sF. In recent years, however, the mercury has risen significantly higher in May, resulting in summer-like temperatures in what should still be late spring in Rome. There may also be a few days of light rain, even with the warmer weather, so be sure to check an up-to-date forecast before you leave home to know what you should pack. If it’s going to be particularly hot, don’t forget a sun hat and a reusable water bottle you can fill at Rome’s many public fountains. You can also craft your itinerary so that the indoor things to do in Rome are on the hottest days so that you’ll stay out of the sun.

May in Rome kicks off with International Workers’ Day on May 1, which is a national holiday throughout the country. There is often a free public concert in the Piazza San Giovanni on May 1, as well as some demonstrations in some parts of the city. Many things are closed on public holidays like this, including banks and some Rome attractions, and public transportation runs on a less frequent schedule. If there are demonstrations around transportation hubs, that can slow things down even more, so either book your travel tickets well in advance to ensure a seat on any trains or buses moving on May 1 or plan to travel on a different day.

May is a good time to be an art and history lover in Rome. The first weekend in May is Open House Roma, when many historic monuments and buildings that aren’t usually open to the public offer free tours. Check out the schedule in advance, as you need to book your reservations ahead of time. A couple of weeks into May is usually when Museums Night takes place in Rome, which is when many museums open their doors at night and waive their admission fees. There are no reservations required for this, but keep in mind that it’s very popular, so participating sites can get quite crowded.

-Jessica Spiegel

Rome in May: Weather, Events, & Things to Do from Viator Rome



Rome in April: Weather, Events, & Things to Do

Rome celebrates its birthday with fireworks.

Rome celebrates its birthday with fireworks. Creative commons photo by Roberto_Ventre via Flickr.

It could be argued that there’s never a bad time to be in Rome, but many will also say that April is one of the best months to visit the Italian capital. The weather is often good, and there are some not-to-be-missed festivals in April in Rome that can make your trip truly memorable. Here’s what you need to know about going to Rome in April.

By April the spring weather has usually taken hold in Rome, meaning the days are warm and sunny and there’s less of a chance of rain than there was in March. The temperature may be such that you’ll still want a light jacket or a sweater when you’re outside, particularly for those time when you’re not in direct sunlight, but the weather in Rome in April tends to be perfect for long days of sightseeing – not too hot, and not too wet. And if there is a sudden rain shower, you can always duck into a cafe or take the opportunity to visit one of Rome’s main attractions that are indoors.

The festival and event calendar in Rome can be quite busy in April. This is great if you like seeing a city in the midst of a big celebration, and it can also mean that crowds are a bit thicker and hotel rooms get booked up well in advance. For April travels in Rome, then, it’s a good idea to plan ahead as much as you can.

Easter moves around from year to year, but it’s often in April. Easter is a major holiday in Italy, and nowhere more so than in Rome, since Vatican City is enclosed entirely within the Roman city limits. Holy Week, the week of Catholic holidays leading up to Easter Sunday, is full of special events in Vatican City and around Rome. There is a papal mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Good Friday, and a larger one in St. Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday. Every church in Rome will be holding Easter and Holy Week events. It’s also worth noting that Easter Monday, known as “Pasquetta” in Italy, is a national holiday when many people take advantage of good weather to head out for a day trip from Rome into the countryside with a picnic and friends.

Rome’s Culture Week takes place in mid-April, when many national attractions waive their entry fees. Some other attractions not normally open to the public have open hours during Culture Week, so it’s a great chance to see some unusual sights in Rome. April 21st is when Rome celebrates the anniversary of its founding, and it’s a massive holiday in the city – complete with fireworks and ancient Roman re-enactors. April 25th, Liberation Day, is a national holiday in Italy commemorating the day Italy was liberated by the Allies after World War II.

April in Rome also means feasting on some seasonal treats, such as the city’s famous deep-fried artichokes. Be on the lookout for the piles of fresh artichokes in Rome’s outdoor markets – that’s when you know you’ll see them on menus all over the city.

- Jessica Spiegel

Rome in April: Weather, Events, & Things to Do from Viator Rome



New Year’s Eve Events in Rome

New Year's Eve fireworks in Rome

Fireworks at the Colosseum. Photo courtesy of neigesdantan via Flickr.

Rome is one of the most popular places to visit in Italy year-round, and with good reason. On New Year’s Eve, the city gets even more popular, with Italians from other parts of Italy heading to the capital for the festivities. If you’ll be in Rome over New Year’s Eve, there are a few events going on that you can attend (most of them completely free of charge), but keep in mind that hotels in the historic center get booked quickly over the holidays – so don’t delay in making your own arrangements for accommodation.

There are free concerts in a few places around Rome on New Year’s Eve, most of which are followed by a fireworks display at midnight. The most popular spot for music, dancing, and fireworks is the Piazza del Popolo. Performances usually get underway at about 10pm, and the whole piazza is full of Romans and visitors celebrating the end of another year together. There’s another public and free concert near the Piazza Venezia and the Roman Forum on the Via dei Fori Imperiali. This one also starts around 10pm and usually has at least one big Italian rockstar on the roster as the headlining act. Both of these venues draw large crowds, so if you’re keen on being close to the stage you’ll need to arrive early. If not, get there at any time and just enjoy the festive atmosphere. And remember, Rome in December can be quite chilly – so prepare to dress warmly.

New Year’s Eve events in Rome include a free classical concert at the Piazza del Quirinale, which the Italian President typically attends (the Quirinale is the Italian President’s official residence), and there’s often a New Year’s Eve theatrical performance at the Auditorium Conciliazione. There are also plenty of night clubs in Rome that turn up the music and light shows on New Year’s Eve. Most of these require that you buy tickets in advance, so be sure to find out before December 31st.

The concerts in the city center all feature a fireworks display at midnight – Italians adore their fireworks – so even if you’re not in the throngs of the concertgoers you can still get a look at fireworks if you’ve got a good vantage point overlooking the city. Of course, given the Italian love of fireworks, there are also plenty of explosives being set off by families celebrating on their own streets – so be alert when you’re walking around.

If you’re in Rome with children over New Year’s Eve, plan to spend time at Oasi Park, an amusement park southeast of the city center. Starting in the afternoon, there is music and dancing for the kids, along with the playground of a huge amusement park. The fireworks display at the park goes off early, usually around 6:30pm, so parents can get children into bed at a reasonable hour (and, maybe, catch the midnight fireworks back in Rome). You’ll need a car to get to Oasi Park.

On New Year’s Day there’s a parade that starts in Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square and ends at the Castel Sant’Angelo, and if you’re traveling with kids you can head back over to the Piazza del Popolo for New Year’s Day kid-friendly fun, with all sorts of circus-type entertainment just for the little ones.

You can also consider a Rome walking tour on New Year’s Day to give yourself something to do when many attractions and shops are likely to be closed.

- Jessica Spiegel

New Year’s Eve Events in Rome from Viator Rome