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Arts + Culture

Your Hot Summer in Rome

Having a Roman holiday this summer? Lucky you. The Eternal City has a scorching mix of new summer events, from opera in a bathhouse to after-hours access to the Colosseum. Katie Parla rounds up ten must-see events.

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Vatican Music Fridays

The melodies of Beethoven and Bach will mingle with world class artwork at the Vatican Museums Friday evenings throughout the summer. To make the most of these after hours visits, book a late reservation — the Museums are open until midnight — and wander the halls in relative solitude. Time your visit to arrive at the Sistine Chapel towards the end of the opening hours, when most of the other 30,000 daily visitors have already headed home.

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Rock in Roma

While most of the big rock acts used to pass up performing in Rome in favor of Milan, the summertime Rock in Roma festival is pulling some major bands this summer. Now in its fourth year, Rock in Roma will welcome household names like Green Day and Bruce Springsteen to its stages in the Ippodromo delle Capannelle, a racetrack in the suburbs southeast of Rome, from May 29 through July 29.

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Gay Village

All summer long and well into September, Gay Village hosts Rome's annual LGBT outdoor festival on 16 acres of historic Parco San Sebastiano in the south of the city. The two-month-long event attracts over 200,000 visitors, gay, straight and otherwise with thumping electronic dance performances, discos, cocktail bars, restaurants, DJs, films, live acts and more.

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After Hours at the Colosseum

Until a few decades ago, moonlight trespassing in the Colosseum was a Roman rite of passage. Now iron gates discourage such traditions, but visitors have after hours access to the ancient amphitheater on Thursdays and Saturdays all summer long. Note: booking ahead of time is essential.

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Chamber Music Festival

The delicately molded white façade of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza is the backdrop for the International Ensemble Chamber Music Festival. From July 12 through August 8, the courtyard in front of Francesco Borromini’s famous baroque church will host orchestra concerts, dance performances and jazz ensembles. This year, the festival is infused with Latin culture in the form of Tango nights.

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AltaRomaModa

Rome’s bi-annual fashion week kicks off with VIP events July 5, followed by fashion shows and exhibitions open to the public July 6 to 10. Take in all the action on the catwalk at various venues around town, rub elbows with up-and-coming designers and catch a glimpse of what winter’s haute couture has in store for its well-heeled clientele.

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Opera at the Baths

The Baths of Caracalla, a third-century public bathing complex, was a spectacle to behold when it was functioning and clad in marble. Now a series of hulking ruins with walls up to ninety feet in height, the Baths are the backdrop for Rome’s summer opera season from April to mid-June. Opera and ballet performances are held in front of the dramaticallylit caldarium, an enormous vertical brick structure that was once a steamy bathing room.

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Occhi Rossi Festival

From May 30 through June 2, the Occhi Rossi "Red Eyes" Festival will feature photo exhibitions and events in Forte Prenestino, a former military compound turned occupied squat known for its cultural events. Four kilometers from the city center, Forte Prenestio’s brick and concrete walls, many of them covered by murals by Rome’s famous street artists, will be the canvas for modern and contemporary photographs.

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Roma Food & Wine Festival

The sprawling Eataly space in Rome’s Ostiense district will host the first annual Roma Food & Wine Festival. From May 17-19, Italian chefs, as well as foreign chefs residing in Italy, will prepare and sell dishes from the top floor exhibition space. Pair your tastings with wines from top Italian producers, which will be presented in vertical, horizontal and blind tastings.

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Open Air at the Auditorium

Normally visitors come to Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica to appreciate the acoustics inside Renzo Piano’s lead-clad armadillo-like concert venues. But for the entire month of July, the Auditorium will host its eleventh annual open air concert series with performances ranging in genre from Electronica to Symphony.