International Women’s Day in Rome

Free entry to Italy's museums for women on 8 March.

Women in Rome and throughout Italy will have free entry to state museums and cultural sites on 8 March, as part of a nationwide initiative by the culture ministry to mark International Women's Day.

In addition to offering free entry, Italy's museums will host a series of events highlighting art works by and of women in an effort to "celebrate the feminine world", according to the culture ministry, whose website contains a full list of participating museums in the capital. One Rome exhibition in particular is certain to attract large crowds on the day: Artemisia Gentileschi at Palazzo Braschi.

During the days leading up to 8 March, the official Instagram profile for Italy's museums will focus on art depicting women as "saints and prostitutes, goddesses and commoners, intellectuals and artists, actresses and martyrs, writers and poets, mothers, Madonnas and revolutionaries."

festa donna

Protagonists include the English Pre-Raphaelite muse Jane Burden Morris in a portrait by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (pictured above), and Klimt's Three Ages of Woman, both in the collection of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna.

The intercultural Italian organisation A Sud holds the sixth edition of Premio Donne, Pace e Ambiente, Wangari Maathai at the Casa Internazionale delle Donne, on 7 March at 18.00. Awards will be presented to four Italian activists in recognition of their struggle to defend peace, human rights, gender, environment and their campaign to stop violence against women. The award is dedicated to the late Wangari Muta Maathai, Kenya’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning political activist and one of the most influential women in Africa.

Rome marks International Women's Day with Le donne nel mondo dell’architettura e del design, a conference and exhibition (8-16 March) at the Casa della Archittetura examining the legacy of women designers and architects, such as the late Zaha Hadid who designed Rome's MAXXI; and Donne & Lavoro, an exhibition of photographs by Carlo and Maurizio Riccardi documenting the emancipation of women through work, at the Casa della Memoria e della Storia (8 March-13 April).

Coinciding with International Women's Day is the newly-extended nationwide Cinema2day initiative, which involves €2 cinema tickets every second Wednesday of the month; and two threatened 24-hour strikes by Rome's public transport company ATAC and regional coach service Cotral, both scheduled from 08.30-17.00 and from 20.00 until end of service, affecting the capital's buses, trams, metro and light rail services Roma-Lido, Roma-Viterbo and Termini-Centocelle, and Cotral buses in the greater Rome area.

The traditional gift to women on Festa della Donna in Italy is a sprig of the bright yellow mimosa flower.