Discovering the best things to do in Rome in May
Rome in May promises to be dynamic and exciting, with a wide range of events and activities to experience. From festivals and art exhibitions to musical performances by distinguished national and international artists, you’ll be spoiled for choice this spring. Whether you are an art/music/food lover or simply looking for a reason to rejoice, Rome eagerly awaits your arrival. This article groups the most important events in May to help you plan your visit.
National holidays and special days in Rome in May
May 1 | International Workers’ Day
One of the most important festivities in May is Workers’ Day, typically celebrated with a grand free concert in Piazza San Giovanni, while all museums and shops remain closed to honour the contributions of workers.
Exhibitions this May in Rome
If you are passionate about art, this May Rome offers a series of very interesting exhibitions. First among them, though not a true art exhibition, is an interesting insight into the world-famous Orient Express at Villa Medici, with photos, posters and historical documents testifying to the existence of the fascinating train. Instead, more purely artistic exhibitions, specifically of modern and groundbreaking art, are Pistoletto’s at the Chiostro del Bramante and Penone’s at the Galleria Borghese. For more iconic art, visit Palazzo Bonaparte, where Van Gogh’s masterpieces are on display until May 7th. Finally, a look at ancient Rome is given by the Musei Capitolini, with the exhibition The Rome of the Republic, featuring around 1,800 archaeological artifacts. Palazzo delle Esposizioni will also host the World Press Photo Exhibition 2023 celebrating the best of photojournalism.
Best events in May in Rome
May 3-8 | Unarchive: Found Footage Fest
The festival dedicated to creative reuse of archive cinema is returning to Rome from May 3-8. It will include artistic experiences and events such as screenings, debates, concerts, and audio-visual performances to rediscover cinematic footage. The festival will be hosted by several venues, including: Cinema Intrastevere, Alcazar, the Spanish Academy (Accademia di Spagna) and Tempietto del Bramante.
May 4-7 | Race for the Cure
The Race for the Cure is the largest event for the fight against breast cancer both in Italy and globally. This year, Rome will host the 24th edition of the Race for the Cure, organized by Komen Italia, from the 4th to the 7th of May. Four days of free initiatives for health, sport and solidarity that culminate on Sunday with the traditional and exciting 5 km race and 2 km walk in the streets of the city center. In addition, the runners will have free access to Rome’s main museums. At the Villaggio della Salute in Circo Massimo, health screenings for women are offered for free.
May 5 | Prisma Awards
On the evening of Friday, May 5th, at the Cinema Farnese in Campo de’ Fiori, a selection of short films will be presented as part of Prisma Awards, the short film festival running all year round in Rome. The films were chosen among over 300 submissions received in the last four months, with a focus on emerging and mostly unseen authors.
May 8-21 | BNL International Tennis Tournament
From May 8 to 21, Rome will host the BNL international tennis tournament, one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world. The 2023 edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia is one of those Masters 1000 tournaments for which the ATP has planned an additional leap in quality . The event is much bigger and more spectacular since the tournament draws have increased from 56 to 96 players with 12 full days of play rather than 7 (plus another two days of qualifying rounds). The women’s tournament begins on Tuesday, May 9 (qualifying rounds from Monday, May 8) and will end on Saturday, May 20. The men start on Wednesday, May 10 (qualifying rounds from Monday, May 8) and the finals are scheduled for Sunday, May 21.
May 12-14 & 19-21 | Amatriciana & Carbonara Festival
Eataly Rome awaits you with fun events from May 12 to 14 and from 19 to 21 relating to two staples of Roman culture: the Amatriciana & The Carbonara. You will find the best Roman restaurants, quality raw materials and many types of dry and fresh pasta to give you an unrepeatable experience of taste and fun.
May 13 | La Notte dei Musei
La Notte dei Musei – The Night of Museums, now a tradition, offers the opportunity to visit museums during evening hours, with an entrance fee of one euro (unless otherwise stated). The program includes various events and live performances. The museums participating include the Capitoline Museums, the Museum of Rome and the Gallery of Modern Art, among others.
May 20-28 | Open House
From May 20th to May 28th, Rome will host an architecture event that will allow visitors to explore hundreds of fascinating sites, including contemporary structures, historical buildings, and private houses.
May 25-28 | Piazza di Siena International Horse Show
Rome this May will be hosting once again the prestigious international horse show, Piazza di Siena, which will showcase top international riders competing in traditional riding displays during a four-day event.
May 28 | Giro d’Italia Grand Finale
This year the Giro d’Italia will end its journey in the Capital for the fifth time in its history. The last stage of the Giro d’Italia, ending precisely on the 28th of May, consists of a 17.6-kilometre circuit that the riders will have to complete five times, departing from EUR in front of the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana (known as the Square Colosseum) and ending at the Imperial Forums.
The month of May begins with the grand landmark concert, but the city’s musical scene doesn’t end there. Artists from a variety of musical traditions and backgrounds will perform on various stages around the city throughout the entire month.
Opera, Ballet and Other Performing Arts
The month of May in Rome is an excellent time to indulge in the arts, as the city offers a wide range of opera and ballet events, featuring world-class artists in breath-taking venues. In addition, the Caracalla Festival, which cuts across cinema, opera, ballet, jazz, pop music and theatre, begins toward the end of the month, on May 30 to be precise and offers a wide range of options to choose from.
May is an excellent time to explore Rome’s various markets, including vintage and antique markets, which offer unique treasures and artifacts, as well as food markets, with traditional and experimental delicacies.