All Saints’ Eve in Rome: a journey through Roman dark and obscure iconography

“Superstition is an unreasoning fear of God”

Marcus Tullius Cicero, brilliant statesman and philosopher who established the principles that later led to the Roman Empire, perfectly epitomized one of the Romans’ greatest fears of all: Death.

For many years, the traditional Celtic festival called Samhain – the former name of modern Halloween – stood beside the Roman pagan festival of Lemuria, celebrated on May 9, 11 and 13, as all even days were said to be cursed.

On the Lemuria last day, at midnight, the head of each family would put on special garments and go around the house, barefoot. He would put nine uncooked black beans in his mouth (said to contain the souls of the dead) and then begin to go ‘round the place spitting each bean and reciting a mantra that would redeem his and each one of the nine souls.

Once thrown out all the beans, the souls would descend upon the earth to recollect their own and he would conclude by saying “Ghosts of my fathers, be gone”.

In some of the aristocratic households, the Romans gave life to what we now call Remembrance Cards. After the death of family members, they crafted molded masks that were then kept and cherished in the family hall for generations. During funeral processions, the living members of the family would then wear them as a way of preserving their loved ones memory forever.

This sounds A LOT like modern Halloween, right?

Aren’t you curious to know more?

Then follow us on this special journey through Rome’s Underworld: get ready to dive into the spectacular tour schedule that Gray Line – I Love Rome has been assembling to just rock your Halloween night in the city and let you have tremendous fun in a dark and spooky Rome!

Ghosts and Mysteries of Rome

Have you ever noticed how the alleys and bridges of Rome seem to take on this completely different semblance at night? Are you brave enough to follow us through a terrifying journey through the scariest ghost stories and legends of Rome?

Starting from Castel Sant’Angelo, famous for the beheaded ghost of the noblewoman Beatrice Cenci that is said to wander here at night, you will walk around those same enchanting attractions you will have visited during the day, but this time you will finally see their dark side!

You will pass by the talking statues in Piazza Pasquino, learning more about their political and social importance in the Renaissance era, to then cross the magnificent Piazza Navona hoping to avoid the black bolting horses, frantically dragging Olimpia Pamphili’s carriage around the square. Your Ghost guided tour will lead you to the symbol of the Roman Empire grandeur: the Pantheon, to tell you the story of the carabiniere (Italian police military) that one night stumbled upon the ghost of King Umberto I! The king, who lies here with Vittorio Emanuele II and Margherita di Savoia, supposedly made an appearance to the terrified man and even left a mysterious political message…

Craving for more?

All you have to do is check our Halloween selection of activities and choose the solution you prefer to enjoy our Guided Tour of the Ghosts and Mysteries of Rome.

You may just follow your guide in this ghastly walking guided tour, unveiling mysteries and dark secrets or perhaps save money and time with the combined package that also includes a 24-hour ticket to the Gray Line – I Love Rome Hop on Hop off Panoramic Bus.

Wishing to stay all weekend and enjoy a satisfying 4-day Roman spooky Holiday in a 4-star hotel with included full breakfast in the morning? Then choose our 4 days / 3 nights Halloween Minitour in Rome and celebrate this magical weekend with your family and friends!

Halloween at Cinecittà World

The famous theme park, just 45 minutes from the center of Rome, has got some news and attractions that are out of this world and will make you scream in excitement… and terror

“For no mere mortal can resist The evil of the thriller” said the zombie in Michael Jackson’s music video of Thriller. So the question is: will you?

Skeletons, zombies, vampires, witches, ghosts and the most dreadful characters of our favourite TV series or movies will all make an appearance, just to make sure you have the scariest Halloween ever!

You can select the day of your visit choosing from any weekend day from October 2nd to the end of the month and join all the other movie geeks into the wildest Horror festival in the city! Celebrate your Halloween at Cinecittà World!

Do you want some spoilers?

Get ready for the Zombie Walk or the Halloween Parade, find the courage to step in the Horror House and walk out of it in one piece; perhaps you may even ride Inferno, the rollercoaster inspired to Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, or resist all the scariest movies and TV scenes that become real before your eyes!

Kids, you’re not really scared, are you?

For the little ones, Cinecittà World has prepared a magic surprise: a mysterious walk through the Haunted Woods, to cross with your beautiful little creature’s face paint and your favourite mascots!

We are looking forward to celebrate Halloween in Rome with you!

About the author

Micol Dionisi

Micol is a content creator with a passion for hospitality. She writes about the best experiences in Rome. Her daily mission is making sure that Gray Line – I Love Rome tours and experiences are perfectly uploaded onto our website to offer to our guests all over the world an hassle free experience when booking and enjoying one of our top rated tours. Born and raised in Rome, she lives in Marino (near Rome) in the beautiful, green and tasty area of Castelli Romani. Her passion is connecting the English-speaking readers to the Gray Line – I Love Rome world!