Apart from the Tibetan leader, the former Russian and Polish presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and Lech Walesa, who were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 and 1983, are attending the Annual Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in Rome.
The summit has been orgainsed by the city of Rome for the past eight years.
Beijing has complained to the Italian foreign ministry over the visit, even though the Dalai Lama will not meet with any members of the Italian government.
A planned meeting with Pope Benedict XVI was cancelled, in a decision that Italian media reports said facilitated the ordination on Tuesday of a new bishop in Guangdong, southern China, with the Vatican's approval.
The political high point of the Dalai Lama's stay will likely be his meeting with Italian MPs in Rome.