Rome is a magical city all year round, but during the Christmas season, it becomes even more enchanting. With its sparkling lights, festive decorations, and traditional events, Rome offers visitors a unique experience that should not be missed. In this article, we will guide you through the best things to do in Rome during the Christmas period.
One of the highlights of Christmas in Rome is the numerous Christmas markets that pop up around the city. These markets offer a variety of local crafts, artisanal foods, and traditional Christmas decorations. The most famous market is the Mercato di Natale in Piazza Navona, which features over 100 stalls selling everything from handmade candles to delicious Christmas treats. Other markets worth checking out include the Mercato delle Stampe in Piazza della Repubblica and the Christmas Market in Piazza Re di Roma.
Visit the Nativity Scenes
Another essential aspect of Christmas in Rome is the nativity scenes, or presepi, that can be found throughout the city. These elaborate displays depict the birth of Jesus and are a significant part of the Italian Christmas tradition. Some of the most beautiful nativity scenes can be found in Saint Peter’s Square, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Museo di Roma. Don’t miss the opportunity to admire these stunning works of art.
The Vatican’s Nativity Scene
If you’re visiting Rome during the Christmas period, you must visit the Vatican’s Nativity Scene. Every year, a different country is chosen to create the nativity scene, and it is always a magnificent display. The nativity scene is located in Saint Peter’s Square, and it is free to visit.
The Living Nativity Scene in the Village of Greccio
If you want to experience a truly unique Christmas tradition, head to the village of Greccio, about two hours from Rome. Here, you can witness a living nativity scene, where locals dress up as characters from the Christmas story and reenact the birth of Jesus. This event takes place on December 24th and is a beautiful way to celebrate Christmas.
Attend Midnight Mass
Attending Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve is a significant event in the Catholic faith, and Rome is the perfect place to experience it. The most famous Midnight Mass takes place at Saint Peter’s Basilica, where the Pope himself presides over the service. However, if you can’t get tickets to this service, there are plenty of other churches in Rome that offer Midnight Mass. The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the Pantheon, and the Church of San Lorenzo in Lucina are all excellent options.
Enjoy a Traditional Christmas Dinner
No Christmas celebration is complete without a festive meal, and Rome has plenty of options for a traditional Christmas dinner. Many restaurants offer a special Christmas menu that typically includes dishes like roasted meats, seafood, and traditional Italian Christmas sweets. Some of the best places to dine on Christmas Day include La Pergola, Acquolina Hostaria, and Ristorante Piperno.
Rome is a magical city during the Christmas period, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy. From Christmas markets to nativity scenes, Midnight Mass to traditional dinners, Rome offers a unique and unforgettable Christmas experience. We hope that this guide has inspired you to visit Rome during the festive season and make some unforgettable memories.