Roman nightlife is a lot cooler and more varied than it used to be. There are a few smart clubs, principally in the centre of town, but also quite a few smaller and more alternative clubs and live music venues, mainly confined to the neighbourhoods of Testaccio and Ostiense, and in up-and-coming Pigneto and Prenestino to the east of Termini – though bear in mind that some clubs close during August or move to summer premises in Ostia or Fregene.
Even locals would admit that Rome is a bit of a backwater for the performing arts. Relatively few international-class performers put in an appearance here, and the current mayor has made significant cutbacks to the city’s cultural funds, playing down the film festival and eliminating some of his predecessor’s initiatives altogether. Nevertheless, the city does have a cultural life, and what the arts scene may lack in quality is made up for by the charm of the city’s settings. Rome’s summer festival, for example – westateromana.comune.roma.it – ensures a good range of classical music, opera, theatre and cinema throughout the warmer months, often in picturesque locations, and the summer opera performances at the Baths of Caracalla are resounding occasions – worth prolonging a stay for if you can.