Ferragosto in Rome: what it looks like from a local point of view.


Ferragosto in Rome: pomegranates hanging from a tree in a desert street
Ferragosto in Rome: a lonely yellow cinquecento car in a desert street


Does it ever happen to you to wake up very early on a Sunday morning and find yourself startled by the surreal scenario: desert streets, not a car, not a movement, not a sound? That’s Ferragosto in Rome, and it usually lasts one week or so.

Ferragosto, on August 15, is the Italian Summer public holiday. It is also the day of the Assumption of Mary, but for everyone here, it means one and only one thing: vacations!


Ferragosto obligations

Since I live here, little to nothing has changed: Italians MUST go on vacation on Ferragosto. They pack, stuff their cars with food, suitcases, family and friends, and head to the beach. They might go celebrate at their beach, country or mountain house, in a hotel, rented apartment, villa or a b&b, in search of relax. Or they might fly abroad in search of adventures and exotic views. But all said must happen during the Ferragosto week. Sure, they may add one, two or three weeks more, but it’s rarely in another period of the year. And that’s how prices rise higher than ever, motorways are impossible to travel and people get mad if you even smile at them :-).

Apart from purists and tradition fanatics, many of them are simply forced to do this: shops and businesses close, companies close or force employees to take their Summer break, and even the lucky ones not constrained, may be bounded to spouses or friends.


Ferragosto in Rome

I’m part of a small portion of the population who won’t abandon the city, but enjoy it. I’m lucky, I know, but I’d had my portion of coercion in the past, believe me. And still, nowadays it may happen that my September (or even October) plans fail, that July and June are not an option and that I end in line at the airport or on the motorway pouting at whoever smiles at me :-).

Ferragosto in Rome does have some disadvantages, of course, like having to buy fruits and veggies at the supermarket: everyone, from your trusted greengrocer to the local markets, is on vacation and closed. And don’t even think of having a problem with plumbing, locks or your car: no one will be there to help.

But, when you take the scooter and go downtown, especially at night, and you breathe art and beauty, and you have time to interiorize it all, cause it’s all yours (and the tourist’s of course), you get rewarded and you know it was all worth it.


Ferragosto in Rome desert streets with a few tourists
Ferragosto in Rome_ building lighten at night


No lines, personal space while visiting a museum, no reservations needed for the few restaurants open, empty streets that will take you from one end of the city to the other in no time, and endless possibilities to just live Rome!


Ferragosto in Rome: light show at the Foro di Augusto
Ferragosto in Rome: lights illuminating ancient columns


{If you happen to be in Rome for Ferragosto (but also May to October) don’t miss the light show at the Foro di Augusto, it’s magical.}


Ferragosto in Rome: ancient columns illuminated for the light show
Ferragosto in Rome: obelisco by night

enjoy your Ferragosto in Rome and discover more Italian traditions and living on the Simposio magazine!