April is an excellent time to be in Rome, especially this year, with a line-up of big-ticket concerts, spectacular shows, Rome’s birthday party, and much more.
Cirque du Soleil – Until Saturday 29
Arguably the greatest contemporary circus on the planet, Cirque du Soleil is back in Rome for one of the most anticipated performances of the entire year. Kurios is the title of their newest performance, in which a scientist believes a hidden, invisible world lies within his cabinet of curiosities, a place where impossible ideas and extravagant dreams lie waiting. When a group of otherworldly characters suddenly steps into his makeshift mechanical world, turning it upside down with a touch of poetry and humor, his curios jump to life one by one before his very eyes. The story comes vibrantly to life with the stupefying costumes, make-up, special effects, and acrobatics you’ve come to expect from this extraordinary company. cirquedusoleil.com
The Wizard of Oz – From Friday 7 to Sunday 30
The universal story of courage, hope, and home comes brilliantly to life on the stage of Teatro Brancaccio to the enthusiasm of kids and adults alike. The well-known tale of Dorothy and her rag-tag group of friends, each on his or her own special mission, is reinterpreted through the key of the contemporary circus, with utterly original stage direction by Maxim Romanov. Twenty-five gifted artists make up the cast, from singers to dancers to world-renowned acrobats, with the addition of 3D graphics, stupefying costumes, and original music by Andrei Zubets. It promises to be an unforgettable night of music, spectacle, and story. teatrobrancaccio.it
Romics – Until Sunday 2
Get dressed up as your superhero alter ego and go meet your favorite comic book authors and illustrators at Romics, the city’s most important comics conference. The 30th edition of the international exposition sees comics, animation, cinema, and games take center stage, with die hard fans showing up in full costume. Stop by one of the many stands to meet the festival’s guest publishers, peruse the huge selection of new and collectible comics and graphic novels, try out the latest video games, attend artist workshops, watch competing animated films, square off in sword fights and other role play games, or wander through a reconstruction of the Star Wars set. Nuova Fiera di Roma. romics.it
Friday 21 – The Birth of Rome
Believe it or not, Rome turns 2776 years old today! (We don’t think she looks a day over 2000!) According to legend, Romulus founded Rome on 21 April 753 BC, and every year on that date, the city throws itself a fantastic birthday party. With more than 2000 participants, representing centurions, slaves, vestal virgins, gladiators, maidens, senators in togas, and Roman gods and goddesses, it’s the largest historical reenactment in Europe, put on by the Roman Historical Group. To get in on the festivities (and step back in time), follow the procession from the Circus Maximus to the Colosseum (details at natalediroma.it). Another great way to mark the day is with a visit to the Pantheon; a powerful beam of light passes through the oculus and straight out the doors of the monument at exactly midday on the city’s birthday.
Holy Week and Easter – Sunday 2 to Sunday 9
There’s no better place to celebrate the Roman Catholic Church’s highest holiday than Rome itself. Events and special masses take place all week long, including the Via Crucis on Good Friday in the shadow of the Colosseum, and of course, Easter Sunday, when Pope Francis appears at the famed Benediction Loggia of St. Peter’s for his Urbi et Orbi blessing, something that takes place only twice a year. The blessing takes place at 12noon, but crowds are epic so get there as early in the day as you possibly can. If you’d like to attend the full Easter mass inside the Basilica at 10:15am, you’ll need to reserve your free tickets in advance (papalaudience.org). Visit vatican.va for a full calendar.