How To Find Things To Do In Rome?

Guidebooks are great tools for general things to do – like museums and archaeological sites – but it is hard for a decent guidebook to know what is going on when you’ll be in Rome! Guidebooks offer general ideas of things that you can do to occupy your time so I want to write about how you can find things that are happening in Rome when you intend to be there!

Museum exhibitions, gallery openings, concerts and other things are typically planned after your guidebook has been published. If they include any kind of events, they tend to be regular planned festivals or events that are held yearly at the same time so unless you plan your trip around these events, you might be at a loss – what do you do after you’ve seen many of the sites suggested in your guidebook? I love museums and archaeological sites, but I think that when you go to Rome it’s always fun to do things that get you out and about with the locals!

Below is a list of resources and web sites you can consult while you’re in Rome for things to do that might not know about from your standard guidebook:

  1. My favorite way of scoping out the Eternal City when I’m not there is with some cool blogs. There are some great blogs and web sites maintained not only by expats but also actual Italians. It’s not hard to find blogs in English, and there are a few listed in the sidebar of this blog. I mention them because most of the content is contemporary and up-to-date, and most of these bloggers are always blogging about something hot and exciting that is going on. It’s definitely a great way to find things to do for your trip!

    Some suggested blogs on Rome:

  2. Roma C’è is a really great resource, and it is one that many of my Roman friends say is one of the best resources. They have a great web site, but the print publication tends to be more accurate and might be easier to get your hands on, especially if you haven’t brought a computer with you (who wants to spend their vacation in an internet cafe, but their web site is well laid out so the choice is yours!) They also have a section of the publication in English so if you’re worried about getting through the Italian section, have no fear. Roma C’è is a great resource for finding out what’s going on. It’s published every Wednesday and available at newsstands for 1 euro. You can probably find one at your hotel or lodgings, too.

    Roma C’è is also a great resource on things to do at night, so if you’re into the nightlife or want to see what it is all about in Rome, then this is a great place to start.

  3. Newspapers, specially La Repubblica (La Repubblica also publishes local editions, so if you find yourself outside of Rome, this can be a great resource in Milan and other cities in Italy) and Il Messaggero – both of which cater to readers in Rome and Lazio. Both newspapers (and their web sites) have section on things that are going on, and they tend to do pieces and stories on things that are happening or will soon be happening, and you’re bound to find something. These papers are easy to procure, and, if you’re staying in a hotel, you can probably get one sent up to your room.

    La Repubblica publishes something similar to Roma C’è called TrovaRoma — this might also offer some ideas, but Roma C’è is considered by most Romans to be the better publication.

  4. Your Concierge is a great resource for knowing what’s on in Rome, but this will be more available to those who are staying at hotels. If you’re renting an apartment, ask your landlord if he/she knows of anything that is going on or has suggestions on some things to do. Most Italians are pretty eager to make suggestions as they really want your trip to be a memorable one!
  5. The TV can sometimes be a useful resource, especially news programs that might highlight events going on in the city of particular advertisements. I don’t advocate sitting in front of your TV waiting for an idea, but it might be something to do before you head to bed, that is assuming you have a TV in your room or wherever you are staying.
  6. Some web sites maintained by the local Italian government can be useful, such L’Estate Romana (as of the publication of this post, it hasn’t been updated for 2009 yet), or 060608 (a collection of events usually with links to purchasing tickets as well as directions and other information). I also enjoy Cultura Romana. The Italian Government Tourist Board (ENIT) is also a great resource for pre-trip preparations.