Many of Rome's museums, galleries and contemporary buildings to which there is normally limited public access are open free of charge over the weekend of 4-5 May.
Dedicated to Rome's varied and sometimes off-limits architectural design, the second edition of Open House Roma offers over 30,000 guided tours in 145 public and private venues all over the capital, in a two-day programme that includes 25 special events, eight bicycle tours and four workshops for children.
Visitors can enjoy a behind-the-scenes peek at an eclectic list of participating buildings such as the luxurious Egyptian Cultural Institute along with its ancient Egyptian museum in the basement; the Eurosky Tower – Rome's only residential skyscraper; the Japanese Cultural Institute; the Hungarian Academy; the marine ministry; and a cutting-edge loft in Trastevere.
Other venues include Palazzo Venezia; the residence of the German ambassador to the Holy See; the recently-reopened Hertziana Library; the churches of S. Andrea delle Fratte and SS. Cosma e Damiano; Teatro Argentina; the seat of the German Academy at Villa Massimo; the exclusive Residenza Giulia; and even Termini and Tiburtina train stations.
The event is coordinated by non-profit cultural association Open City Roma which is operated by some 300 volunteers. Rome is the only city in Italy involved in the worldwide initiative which began in London in 1992.
There are currently 19 participating cities internationally – three of which are in Ireland – with Gdansk and Buenos Aires joining this year, and Athens, San Diego and Vienna to join in 2014.
Booking is required for many of the Rome tours, some of which take place on Saturday only or Sunday only – for full details see Open House Roma website.