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There’s a particular excitement attached to Roman entertainment. Football and opera, for example, are both worth experiencing for sheer atmosphere alone, whether or not you are a fan. The jazz scene is especially good with international stars appearing alongside local talent. And concerts and films take on an added dimension when performances take place beneath the stars in the many open-air arenas spread across the city. Unexpectedly, given the general shutdown among shops and restaurants, the summer remains Rome’s liveliest time for live music and other cultural events. Rome’s graceful Renaissance squares, vast parks, villa gardens, Classical ruins and other open spaces host various major arts festivals. If you prefer sport, or want to try out some Roman nightclubs, there’s plenty on offer too.


 A good source of information about what’s on is Trovaroma, the weekly Thursday supplement to La Repubblica newspaper. It has a day-byday rundown of what’s on and where, and covers music, exhibitions, theatre, cinemas, guided tours, restaurants and children’s entertainment. The weekly listings magazine Roma c’è has an English section and Time Out Roma makes occasional appearances. Daily newspapers like Il Messaggero, Il Manifesto and La Repubblica usually list that evening’s entertainment

The magazine Wanted in Rome, found at Via Veneto newsagents or English bookshops, provides less detailed listings in English. Also worth getting hold of is L’Evento, available from the APT (see p375), which gives details in English of classical music, festivals, theatre and exhibitions in the city and surroundings. Up-to-date information can also be found on various websites. Punctuality is not what Italians are renowned for, so don’t be surprised if events start later than advertised.


Booking in advance is not part of Italian lifestyle, though this is slowly changing. Two ticket agencies that will book tickets for some performances for you (for a small fee) are Orbis and the Internet-based Ticketeria. Many theatres themselves do not accept telephone bookings – you have to visit the box office in person. They will charge you a prevendita supplement (about 10 per cent of the normal price) for any tickets sold in advance. The price of a theatre ticket can be anything between €8 and €52.

Tickets for classical concerts are usually sold on the spot, and are sometimes for that night only, an arrangement that favours the last-minute decision to go. Opera is the exception. Tickets are sold months in advance, with just a few held back until two days before the performance. It is usually easier (and also a bit cheaper) to get tickets for the open-air summer performances.

The Teatro dell’Opera box office handles sales for both summer and winter seasons, and they have a high-tech booking system, with a computer which colour-codes unsold seats. Tickets for most big rock and jazz events can be bought at Orbis and at larger record shops such as Ricordi. Remember that if you are trying to get hold of a ticket for a particular performance that has already sold out, you are extremely unlikely to be able to obtain one from unofficial sources – there are very few ticket touts in Rome, except at major football matches such as important finals.


Theatres and concert venues tend not to offer discounts directly, although there is a centralized service (Sportello Last Minute) offering up to 50 per cent off seats on the day of performance. Cinemas occasionally offer people aged over 60 and disabled people a 30 per cent reduction on weekdays. Many cinemas also have cheaper ticket prices for weekday afternoon screenings and for all shows on Wednesdays. Some clubs offer reductions: look out for due per uno coupons in local bars that allow two people entrance for the price of one.


Few Roman venues provide easy access for people with restricted mobility, and any disabled visitors and their companions are likely to find the lack of provision for them very frustrating. The situation does improve a little in summer, however, when a great many performances in the city are held at open-air venues. The classical concerts held in the beautiful gardens of Villa Giulia have wheelchair access. For more general information on provision for disabled people visiting Rome, see page 375.


 Open-air opera, cinema, classical music and jazz concerts fill the calendar from late June until the end of September. These performances outdoors can be wonderful, with spectacular settings and enthusiastic audiences. Some of them are grand affairs, but small events may be just as evocative – a guitar recital in the cloisters of Santa Maria della Pace , for example, or jazz in the beautiful gardens of Villa Celimontana. Some cinemas roll back their ceilings in summer for open-air screenings, or else move to outdoor arenas, and there are also annual open-air cinema festivals. The Cineporto along the Tiber and the Festival di Massenzio offer films, food and small exhibitions in July and August. Theatre, too, moves outside in summer. Greek and Roman plays are staged at Ostia Anticaand other shows take place at the Anfiteatro del Tasso. Rome’s most important autumn performing arts festival is RomaEuropa, with occasional performances in the grounds of the Villa Medici. There are other, smaller festivals too, but times and venues change from year to year, so it is best to consult listings in newspapers, magazines or websites or watch for posters around the city for the most up-todate information. More traditional is Trastevere’s community festival, Festa de Noantri , with music, fireworks and processions. This religious festival begins on the Saturday after 16 July but celebrations continue into August. The Festa dell’ Unità, run by the DS (the former Communist Party), but not limited to politics, is generally held in September. The programme includes games, stalls, food and drink. Finally, if you like your entertainment less structured, do as the Romans do and take part in the passeggiata (early evening stroll) – the city’s favourite spots are Piazza Navona  and along Via del Corso.


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