As the city’s largest tree is being put up in Piazza Venezia, the historical landmarks start to glimmer under the festive lights and the nativity scenes begin to decorate piazza’s, churches and homes throughout the city.
Rome comes alive with festive magic at Christmas time and really is a wonderful place to spend the holidays. If your spending this Christmas in Rome this year or planning on it next year, here’s a few things you don’t want to miss out on…..
1. Saint Peters Square – Every year on Christmas Eve thousands gather round the enormous tree to watch on the huge TV screens broadcasting the pope midnight mass, which he delivers from inside Saint Peter’s Basilica. Then at noon on Christmas day he delivers his Christmas message from the window of his apartment above the square in the Vatican City.
2. Piazza Navona – One of the biggest and most impressive Christmas markets in all of Italy where a large merry-go round fills the piazza as the christmas music plays. The smell of roasting chestnuts lingers in the air as you stroll past festive stalls selling everything from gifts and decorations to festive food and hot wine. With appearances from Father Christmas and a live nativity scene, this market is a Christmas wonderland right in the heart of Rome.
3. Ice Skating – The Christmas village at the Parco della Musica features a vintage carousel, colourful market stalls and an impressive ice-skating rink with over 600 square meters of ice. There are also smaller festive ice rinks at the Ice Park and the Porta di Roma mall.
4. Christmas day Sightseeing – While transport, shops and most attractions are closed on Christmas Day, many of Rome’s famous landmarks and streets are free of tourists and locals and all of them are best discovered on foot. Walk along a deserted Via del Corso from Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo, visit the romantically lit streets around the Spanish steps or stop by the usually crowed Trevi fountain.
5. Santa Maria Maggiore Christmas Crib – Carved from marble this nativity scene was created for the Rome Jubilee in 1300 and is said to be the oldest permanent nativity scene discovered. It’s currently on display in the museum of Santa Maria Maggiore. Rome also has a museum dedicated to nativity scenes!
Have you visited Rome during the holiday season? Are you lucky enough to be visiting this year?