The City Of Music: Report From The Best Summer Festivals Of Rome


When you think about the summer time in Italy, you probably associate it with sun, beaches, and Mediterranean food. But the summer months in Italy are also about music. From early June throughout August, Rome and other major cities across the country literally explode with extraordinary music events, some of which our reporter Lidija Pisker was lucky enough to be able to attend.

Roisin Murphy / copyright by Just Music Festival

This year’s Just Music Festival, which was held from the 9th of June to the 26th July, featured some of the most interesting international music stars, such as Jean Michel Jarre, St. Germain, Travis, Roisin Murphy, Public Enemy, Thievery Corporation, and Massive Attack.

Following the festival slogan that “Music is the primary essence of human respect”, the organizers successfully transformed Rome’s extraordinary urban architecture into a giant music stage of visual art and live performances. Set in the magnificent semicircular open air hall of the Music Park Auditorium and on the roof of the amazing, rationalist venue of the Palazzo dei Congressi, the festival offered not only spectacular audio but also an intriguing visual experience to all its visitors.

Thanks to the Just Music Festival 2016, Rome was a meeting place for the most important figures in the international music scene of the last decade, ranging from rock to rap, from trip-hop to dance and from dub to jazz.

Villa Ada Roma Incontra Il Mondo is the world music festival held annually in the beautiful forest at Rome’s Villa Ada Park. Throughout July and August, visitors at the festival could enjoy numerous concerts of leading Italian and international musicians such as Levante, Alan Parsons, Kula Shaker, Sud Sound System, and many others.  

Bombino’s concert / copyright by Villa Ada

One of the headliners this year was Bombino, an internationally recognized musician from Niger, whose electrifying jams capture the spirit of resistance and rebellion and sound similar to rock and blues icons such as Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, and Jimmy Page. Australian crossover musician Dub FX is internationally famous for his live performances using only his word of mouth and some free music samples that he mixes simultaneously and creates a vivid mix of hip hop and dub accords.

Along with amazing concerts, the festival offered various side events and summer camp activities for children in the green heart of the capital through the 15th of August.

On the opposite side of the city, south of Villa Ada, the Rock in Roma festival is traditionally held in the enormous Capannelle hippodrome, bringing together rock fans from the whole country and from all over Europe since 2002.

Villa Ada 2016

Only fourteen years ago, the festival kicked off with only two events and has now grown into a huge event with over twenty big internationally famous rock names. The Rock in Rome Festival is currently one of the biggest summer music festivals in Rome. Between the 7th of June and the end of July this year the Festival hosted famous bands like Duran Duran, Primal Scream, Nightwish, Iron Maiden, Suede, Skunk Anansie, and many others. Exceptionally, Pink Floyd’s former leader and singer David Gilmour and Bruce Springsteen held concerts in the giant open air stage in Circo Massimo, the ancient Roman stadium located between the famous Aventine and Palatine hills in the city center.

So next time you are planning a trip to Italy and its capital, do not only consider weather forecasts and what there is to see. If you check the summer music festivals and their venues, you can be pleasantly surprised to discover that enjoying music in Rome comes together with sightseeing.

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