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Hotlist: What’s new on Rome’s cultural calendar

New tours, al fresco opera, live theatre... 2018 is a big year on Rome’s cultural calendar

Hotlist: What’s new on Rome’s cultural calendar
Opera di Roma, Baths of Caracalla, Rome. Image: Yasuko Kageyama

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Rome’s got talent
What? The annual opera season will return for summer.
Where? At the Baths of Caracalla with the Opera di Roma performing works in the vast grounds, with the third-century buildings as a backdrop.
Tell me more This season will see al fresco performances of Verdi’s La Traviata and Bizet’s Carmen.

Behind closed doors
Keep an eye on Coop Culture’s website (it runs many of Rome’s historical sites) for aperture straordinarie or ‘extraordinary openings’ — often interesting events like yoga in the National Library or access to places that may well close in future. Many tours of the smaller sites are in Italian only, but don’t let that put you off; getting access tends to be worth the language barrier.

Steal the show
A spectacular live show — a collaboration between Marco Balich (of Rio Olympics’ opening ceremony fame), Sting and the Vatican Museums — debuts on 15 March. Giudizio Universale: Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel takes a look at the construction of the Sistine Chapel and its use as the location of the papal conclave in an auditorium near the Vatican.

Ticket master
The EUR district’s museums are usually overlooked, but a new combined ticket for three of them may change that — €8 (£7) gets you access to:
1: The Pigorini Museum (prehistory and ethnography).
2: Museo Nazionale delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari (documenting everyday life from the late 19th to the mid-20th century).
3: Alto Medioevo (early medieval — including a fourth century room transposed from Ostia with opus sectile mosaic walls and floors).

To the top
A new take on an old classic: last November, the Colosseum opened its ‘fifth level’ for the first time in 40 years, via special guided tours (which also include the basement). Standing 131ft above the arena floor, it not only offers new, panoramic views of the building and the city beyond, it also gets you up close to ancient toilets and gulls’ nests. Entry €12 (£10.50); tours €9 (£8).

Published in the Rome 2018 guide, distributed with the April 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)