You’re planning on going somewhere this Christmas with your family, friends or even on a honeymoon? The perfect destination is Rome! Why? Let’s find out together from this insightful Top 7 tips about Rome during Christmas.
1Beautiful Christmas Markets
You can’t visit Rome during winter and not enjoy all the beautiful markets and shopping villages specially opened for the Christmas lovers. Here are some suggestions that will turn your holiday in a fairy tale experience:
- Piazza Navona – This elegant square, dating from the 1st century A.D., is the biggest of them all and can be found at 00186 Roma. It will be open between 26 November 2015 and 6 January 2016.
- Arti & Mestieri Expo – A great artsy exhibition open between 17-20 December, that you can’t miss if you want to return home with lots of thoughtful gifts.
- Villaggio di Natale – Found at Oderisi da Gubbio and open between 1 November – 10 January.
- Natale all’Auditorium Parco della Musica – It helds lots of events and concerts you have to attend while you’re on your Christmas holiday. You can find the whole schedule here.
- Mercatino di Natale di Emergenza Sorrisi – This is a great charity project which can’t be missed by those who want to make a change this Christmas. Here you can shop things like food, clothes and jewelry and support the Gruppo Sorriso Roma Onlus, which helps disadvantaged children. You can find it at Salaria 95 in Parioli, between October and January.
- Little Big Town Toy Shop – This is a huge toy shop that is located in the center of Rome, in front of Via del Corso shopping street, near Piazza Venezia. If you’re traveling with the little ones, be sure to visit this place. For more information on departments and events you can visit the official website.
2See the Pope
Many of us, especially the religious ones, have always wanted to see the Pope in person, not to mention to talk to him. We think that the best occasion to do this is Christmas, because during this time of the year, there are so many services that you can attend, no matter what religion you are practicing. Here are some of the moments when you can see the Pope:
- Midnight Mass – This event is really important and will be attended by lots and lots of people, all around the world. To be one of them, you must book a ticket here. If you can’t get a ticket, you can still watch the mass on Jumbotrons, in the piazza.
- “Urbi et Orbi” – A special blessing given to the world, on Christmas day, live at the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica at St. Peter’s Square and via TV or radio.
- Spanish Steps – On 8th of December, an act of homage to Mary is made, The Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, at Piazza di Spagna.
- “Angelus” – A faithful prayer from his window at noon on Dec. 2, 8, 9, 16, 23, 26 and 30. No tickets are required for this event.
- Wednesday Papal audience – Every Wednesday in December and January, the Pope gives pilgrims and visitors the Papal Blessing or Apostolic Blessing. The Audience with the Pope consists of small teachings and readings mainly in Italian but also in other languages depending on groups visiting. This event requires free tickets, which you can book here.
- The First Vespers and “Te Deum” – This service is held at St. Peter’s Basilica, on 31st of December, at 5 pm and requires tickets which you can book here.
- Holy Mass – Service held at St. Peter’s Basilica, on 1st of January, at 10 am, which requires tickets that can be booked here.
- Holy Mass for the Epiphany – It is held at St. Peter’s Basilica, on 6th of January, at 10am and requires tickets that can be easily booked here.
- Feast of the Baptism of the Lord – You can attend this service on 12th of January, at The Sistine Chapel, at 9.45 am. It requires tickets which you can book here.
Ice skating is a great winter activity that makes your Christmas holiday even more beautiful than it already is. But ice skating in Rome is a unique experience, which you can’t miss, especially because of the fairy tale ice rinks the city offers. Check out some of the most popular ones:
- Auditorium Parco della Musica – This ice rink located at Viale Pietro de Coubertin, is open from October until March, from 11am to 6pm. On Sundays and during public holidays, it will be open from 10am to 6pm.
- Castel Sant’Angelo – This outdoor ice rink is located underneath the iconic silhouette of Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo and will be open between 9th of December and 24th of February, from 10am.
- Re di Roma – Ice rink located in Piazza Re di Roma, which will be open until January.
- Tor di Quinto – You can ice skate here all winter, between 8th of November and 31st of January. It is located in Parco di Tor di Quinto.
- Parco Leonardo – You can find this ice rink at Via Bramante 31 – 65, open daily, between 28th of November and 31st of January, from 10am to 24.
- Euroma 2 – It is located inside the Centro Commerciale Euroma 2, Via Oceano Pacifico 88 and it is opened every day until 14th of February, from 10am to 24.
- Frascati – You can ice skate here daily, between 16th of December and 17th of January, from 10 am to 24. It is located in St. Peter’s Square.
4Live a true spiritual experience
Christmas gives you that special spiritual feeling, that lasts long after its end. If you want to find your inner peace and live some special spiritual moments, be sure to do some things from this list below. No matter what religion you’re practicing or what you believe in, there is always an event to attend or a place to go in Rome, that will warm up your soul.
- Admire the nativity scenes found all over Rome;
- Attend the American Catholic Church of Santa Susanna Children‘s pageant mass and feast of the Holy Family;
- Attend the Midnight Mass in Vatican;
- Be part of one of the Anglican Church of All Saints’ Church holiday services, maybe the Service of Nine Lessons with Carols;
- Go to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church of Scotland services;
- Visit American Episcopal Church of St. Paul’s Within the Walls;
- Visit the Methodist Church at Ponte Sant’Angelo;
- See the Non-denominational Cavalry Chapel;
- Explore the beauty of the Christmas cribs all over town in churches;
- Attend the Temporary exhibition of 200 presepi from artists around the globe, at Santa Maria del Popolo’s Sale del Bramante, between 26th of November 2015 – 10th of January 2016.
- Visit the “Angelo Stefanucci” Museo Tipologico Internazionale del Presepio, which exhibits more than 3000 Christmas cribs (presepi).
- See the life-sized nativity scene at St. Peter’s Square;
- Donate at the Emergency Christmas Market at Palazzo Velli on Piazza Sant’Egidio 10, in Trastevere.
5Long walks & Christmas lights
There’s nothing more relaxing than taking a long walk, admiring the Christmas lights and trees beautifully placed all over Rome. If the weather is really cold, you can always go for an indoor shopping spree or a delicious hot chocolate. Here are some places where you can see the most beautiful venues and Christmas lights and trees.
- Rome’s centro storico – Via di Monserrato, 34, 00186 Roma, Italy
- Termini – 00185 Rome, Italy
- Eur – Quartiere XXXII Europa, Roma, Italy
- Fiumicino airport – Via dell’ Aeroporto di Fiumicino, 320, 00054 Fiumicino RM, Italy
- Saint Peter’s Square
- Piazza Venezia – Piazza Venezia, 00186 Roma, Italy, next to the Colosseum
- Capitoline Hill – 00186 Rome, Italy
6Traditional Christmas food
All Italy lovers know that this country is one of the culinary queens of the world. Roman Christmas food is generally really local, but there are some things that you can find all over Italy. Here is a list of desserts and meals you can’t miss while you’re on a Christmas trip to Rome.
Fish on Christmas Eve – La Vigilia – A meal of all fish and vegetables. Popular Vigilia dishes are capitone (eel), baccalà, octopus, shellfish, pezzetti and fritto misto alla romana.
Christmas days – Pasta in brodo – Pasta in broth, Turkey, stracciatella, egg soup, roast lamb and misticanza.
After Christmas – Cotechino.
Music is a big part of Christmas in Rome and everyone loves attending concerts these days. If you like opera or carols, be sure to go to one of Rome’s concerts, because they are everywhere. Some of them include traditional dinners, so this could be one of the most complex experiences in your trip. Here you have a useful list of places to visit and events to attend:
- Auditorium – Here you have a variety of concerts to choose from. The address is Via Pietro de Coubertin, 30, 00196 Roma, Italy.
- Sounds and Visions of Caravaggio – Event held at Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, on 19th of December, at 11:00am. The address is: Via del Corso, 305, 00186 Roma, Italy.
- Haydn’s The Creation: Andres Orozco-Estrada & Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia – Held at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, on 19th of December, at 18pm. The address is Via Pietro de Coubertin, 30, 00196 Roma, Italy.
- Opera Arias at the Location of Tosca With Dinner – At Chiesa di Ponte Sant’Angelo, on 19th of December, at 19:30. The address is Via del Banco di Santo Spirito, 3, Roma, Italy.
- The Nutcracker – See this at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, on 20th of December, at 20pm and on 24th of December, at 11am. The address is Piazza Beniamino Gigli, 7, 00187 Roma, Italy.
- An Evening of Italian Opera in Rome – Event held at Chiesa Metodista d’Italia on 21st of December at 8pm. The address is Via Firenze, 38, Roma RM, Italy.
- Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata – Helt at Sala Cavour – Centro Congressi on 22nd of December, at 7pm. The address is Via Napoli, 36, 00184 Roma, Italy.
- Baroque Christmas Concert with Traditional Roman Dinner – This concert is held at Sant’Agnese in Agone on 23rd of December, at 6.30pm. The address is Via di Santa Maria dell’Anima, 30/A, 00186 Roma, Italy.
- Christmas Concert in Rome – An event held at Sala Baldini on 25th and 26th of December, at 5.15pm. The address is Piazza Campitelli 9, 00186 Rome, Italy.
- Merry Christmas! Holiday Concert in Rome – Concert held at Chiesa Metodista d’Italia on 25th of December, at 7pm.
- Concerts in the church of Ponte Sant’Angelo – Concerts held at Chiesa di Ponte Sant’Angelo on 25th of December, at 8pm. The adress is Via del Banco di Santo Spirito, 3, Roma, Italy.
- Sacred Music in the Heart of Rome – Event held at Chiesa di S. Maria Immacolata e Museo dei Cappuccino on 30th of December, at 5.45pm. The address is Via Vittorio Veneto, 27, 00187 Roma, Italy.
Didn’t you fall in love with Rome already? Don’t waste any time and book your trip to Rome for Christmas!