Good times to visit Rome in 2016
From timeless annual festivals to magnificent one-offs, we're pulling together some of Rome's best spectacles in the coming year. If you're planning a short break to the Italian capital as part of your 2015 holiday then it might be an idea to base a few days around one these events:
Rome Marathon (10 April)
If you're a fan of this endurance sport and aren't planning on booking the City Sightseeing Rome open-top bus tour then this centuries old tradition could be a great one to spectate. If you plan on doing both then just bare in mind the route disruptions that may be incurred. Your best plan would be to explore the landmarks a day or so in advance of, or following, the Marathon. Maybe on the day you can even take part? As the saying goes: "All roads lead to Rome".
Procession of the Cross (Good Friday 2016)
Make your trip coincide with Easter and you might just witness this famous highlight of the capital's religious calender. As night falls on Good Friday fiery torches are lit and crowds gather outside the Colosseum to take part in the ritual of Via Crucis, or the 'Stations of the Cross'. The busting procession is lead by the incumbent Pope and is intended to symbolise Christ's last walk to Mt Golgotha. It concludes at the Palatine Hill, where the pope gives a short closing address as well as his blessings to the crowd. You should note that the entire event takes places amidst a broader citywide celebratory atmosphere.
Natale di Roma (21-24 Apr)
Near the end of April the Italian capital traditionally celebrates its legendary founding at the hands of Romulus in 753BC. If you're into your Roman history then a visit to the Eternal City is a must on the 21st. The plazas fill with stalls and miniature attractions, costumed revellers fill the streets, exciting reenactments take place, competitions are held, and much more! At the event's climax a large fireworks display is held over the River Tiber, a spectacle that is best viewed from sites such as Campidoglio and Giardino degli Aranci (Orange Garden, Parco Savello).
What makes Natale di Roma even better is that for the entire day the city's numerous archaeological sites and museums are free to enter.
Festa di San Giovanni (24 June)
Whether you're religious or not, June 24th is an ideal time to visit the beautiful Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano. It is on this day that many celebrate the birth of John the Baptist. The significance of the occasion is marked by a candlelit procession which culminates in a grand fireworks display. Throughout the festivities Piazza San Giovanni fills up with food stalls serving everything from suckling pig to l'escargot.
This post will be updated at regular intervals throughout the year to keep up to date with news of new cultural events.