Hot Dates August 2019

by Danilo Brunetti

As the temperature drops with the setting sun, Rome’s nightlife heats up. August’s calendar is booked full with outdoor concerts, operas, plays, a fair along the Tiber, and a spectacular meteor shower

La Traviata  – Friday 2 and Thursday 8

One of the best-loved works of the operatic canon, Verdi’s La Traviata tells a story of unexpected love, unbridled passion, self- sacrifice, and eventual tragedy that has resounded in the hearts of opera-goers since it premiered in Venice in 1853. The performance unfolds at the ancient Baths of Caracalla, the outdoor summer venue of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, under the baton of Manlio Benzi. The innovative stage direction by Lorenzo Mariani takes the timeless drama out of the salons of 19th-century Paris and onto Rome’s Via Veneto in the inimitable Dolce Vita era.

Tiber Expo  – All Month

Despite weaving right through the city center, the Tiber can feel separate from its urban context, lying 20 yards beneath street level since the construction of floodwalls in the 19th century. Over the summer, however, Rome returns to the banks of its original lifeline for the Lungo Il Tevere fair, with many beloved bars and restaurants setting up shop in temporary tents. Start with a game of foosball underneath Ponte Sisto, then take in the live music and art displays as you head south toward Porta Portese.

Romeo and Giulietta – Thursday 1 and Sunday 4

Shakespeare’s immortal tale of love and fate plays out wordlessly before a backdrop predating its publication by over a millennium. At the stroke of the conductor’s baton, the evocative ruins of Emperor Caracalla’s baths will switch from glowing intimately on tender scenes of romance to looming sinisterly over violent acts of vengeance. Teatro dell’Opera di Roma’s orchestra performs Prokofiev’s famous score while Giuliano Peparini directs the dancers.

August Snowfall  – Monday 5

Legend has it that on 5 August 352 AD, a miraculous summer snowfall turned the top of Rome’s Esquiline Hill pure white, covering a space the exact shape of a large basilica. This prompted the pope to build what would become one of Rome’s four papal churches, St. Mary Major, on the very spot the snow had made its unexpected appearance. This event is reenacted (with fake snow, of course) every year on that date, and taking part is a great way to experience Rome’s local traditions.9pm.  Piazza S. Maria Maggiore, 42.

Stars of San Lorenzo  – Saturday 10

The feast day of San Lorenzo coincides with the start of the annual Perseid meteor showers, easily seen from Rome. Grab your sweetheart and climb to the top of the Janiculum Hill, one of the city’s most romantic rendezvous spots, for a little star gazing. Or book a table at Lo Zodiaco (Viale del Parco Mellini, 88/90/92), a restaurant and bar located high on Monte Mario. The nearby “lovers’ walk” is a secluded path littered with benches hidden amongst the trees. Star fanatic? Spend the evening at the INAF Astronomical Observatory of Rome (Via Frascati, 33 – Monteporzio Catone ).

ArtCity 2019  – All Month

A stage fit for the pope welcomes you and your kids this summer. Halfway up imposing Castel Sant’Angelo perches a semicircular courtyard used to put on plays for the papal court in the 16th century. During this year’s ArtCity festival, the space will host three different kinds of performances, connecting the castle’s illustrious past with the promise of future generations: raw and personal concerts by well-known musicians, a series dedicated to up-and-coming young pianists, and children’s shows that retell classic fables and adapt modern stories.

August’s Calendar