Are you planning to spend Christmas in Rome this year? Fantastic choice! The Eternal City is a magical place to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, with its festive atmosphere, stunning decorations, and delicious food. But what can you do in Rome on Christmas Day itself? Here are some ideas to help you make the most of your holiday.
Attend a Papal Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica
For many Catholics around the world, attending the Christmas Day Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The ceremony, led by the Pope, starts at 10 am and lasts for about two hours. You’ll need to get there early to secure a good spot, as the basilica gets very crowded on this occasion. Remember to dress appropriately and to bring some water and snacks, as it can get quite hot and stuffy inside.
Explore the Vatican Museums
After the Mass, why not take a stroll through the Vatican Museums? They’re usually open on Christmas Day from 9 am to 2 pm, so you’ll have plenty of time to admire the priceless art collections and the Sistine Chapel. Just be prepared for some queues, as many other tourists will have the same idea. Consider booking a skip-the-line tour in advance to avoid the crowds.
Enjoy a Traditional Christmas Lunch
In Italy, Christmas is all about food, and Rome is no exception. Many restaurants and trattorias offer special Christmas menus, featuring local delicacies such as roasted lamb, stuffed pasta, and panettone. You can also try some of the traditional street food, such as roasted chestnuts, hot chocolate, and torrone. Just be aware that some places may be closed on Christmas Day, so it’s best to book in advance.
Visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum
If you’re not into religious celebrations, you can still enjoy some sightseeing on Christmas Day. The Colosseum and the Roman Forum are two of Rome’s most iconic landmarks, and they’re usually open on December 25th from 9 am to 2 pm. You can explore the ancient ruins at your own pace, or join a guided tour to learn more about their history and significance.
Take a Walk in Villa Borghese
For a more relaxed and scenic experience, head to Villa Borghese, Rome’s largest public park. It’s open every day of the year, including Christmas Day, and it offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city center. You can stroll through the gardens, admire the fountains and statues, and even visit the Galleria Borghese, which houses an impressive collection of Renaissance art.
Go Ice Skating at Auditorium Parco della Musica
If you’re traveling with kids, or if you’re a fan of winter sports, you might want to check out the ice skating rink at Auditorium Parco della Musica. It’s open from December 8th to January 13th, and it’s a fun and festive activity for all ages. You can rent skates on site, and enjoy some hot drinks and snacks at the nearby kiosks.
In conclusion, Rome has a lot to offer on Christmas Day, whether you’re looking for spiritual, cultural, or culinary experiences. Just remember to plan ahead, dress appropriately, and have a positive attitude. Buon Natale!