Roman Coliseum at night
There’s a lot happening in Rome these days, so if you’re planning a trip in late summer or early fall, you can check out new attractions and enjoy old favorites in new ways. From touring ancient monuments in the moonlight to viewing priceless frescoes that have been behind closed doors for centuries, there are plenty of new pleasures to enjoy.
The ancient wonders of the Eternal City are impressive during the day. But they’re absolutely magical at night. And for a limited time, travelers can experience the Coliseum and the Baths of Caracalla on Saturday nights.
Beginning on August 21, and for seven consecutive Saturday nights, small groups can take a guided tour of the Coliseum led by an archaeologist. The Coliseum is open from 9 PM until midnight and groups are limited to 40 people.
The Baths of Caracalla will be open for two additional Saturday nights. During the summer, the ancient thermal baths also serve as a concert venue.
Baths of Caracalla
Those of you of a certain age may remember Rita Jenrette, who was once married to disgraced Congressman John Jenrette. After divorcing Jenrette, she became a successful New York real estate agent, and somewhere along the line met Prince Nicolo Boncompagni Ludovisi. The two married in May of 2009.
Now a Princess, Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi has convinced her husband to open their 16th-century home, Villa Aurora, to the public. Decorated with works of art by Barbieri – better known as Guercino — and Caravaggio, the 32,000-square-foot villa was once part of an 89-acre estate known as Villa Ludovisi.
The ceiling called “Jupiter, Pluto, and Neptune” is thought to be the only one ever painted by Caravaggio. Since this year marks the 400th anniversary of the artist’s death, demand for tours has been booming.
Villa Aurora tours can be arranged through A Private View of Italy. The Princess often conducts them herself.
Regular visitors to Rome know it can be sweltering in summer. That’s why you can hardly throw a rock in the Eternal City without hitting a fountain. But for a few weeks, you can cool off with a dip in the temporary swimming pool overlooking the Coliseum. Located on the Caelian Hill, All’ Ombra del Colosseo will be open through the first Saturday in September.
During the day, visitors can enjoy the use of the pool, a lounge chair, and an umbrella for 10 euros. There are locker rooms for changing, and for 10 euros more, you can use the Jacuzzi. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch in case you work up an appetite.
At night, it’s one of the hottest spots in Rome, with a happy hour and buffet starting at 6 PM. The disco gets going around midnight, but there’s often live entertainment too. The bar area is usually packed and lots of people hit the dance floor. If you’re looking for some al fresco Roman nightlife, give it a try.