Rome is one of the most magical cities to celebrate Christmas holidays. From the Roman markets to the amazing light displays, you won’t be short of festive feelings in Rome this winter…
Wouldn’t it be amazing to spend your Christmas holidays in a city celebrating the season like no other? That festive city is Rome, and if you’re not entirely sure why it is the best place on earth to spend your Christmas vacation, we’ll give you 7 good reasons:
1. Do all of your Christmas shopping in Rome!
Truly, the many markets set up around the city during the holiday season will have more unique gifts than you could find back home.
Piazza Navona’s every-day market transforms into a Christmas bazaar at the beginning of December through the sixth of January. Move from kiosk to kiosk looking at toys, roasted chestnuts, handmade crafts, and many other singular selections perfect for a friend or family member.
2. See Christmas light displays like never before as you walk through Rome’s ancient streets
Imagine walking through thousand-year-old streets as colorful lights in delightful designs hanging above you, illuminating your path.
Christmas celebration in Rome begins a bit later than in America. The season officially begins on December 8th, the day of the Immaculate Conception and lasts through January 6th, the day of the Epiphany. Epiphany gifts for children are also given the morning of the 6th, so you can enjoy the festive season even after Christmas Day.
3. Receive a Christmas blessing from the Pope
Can you imagine receiving a Christmas blessing from the Pope, in person? You absolutely can if you’re in the Vatican City at noon on Christmas Day, when Pope Francis delivers his message and gives the traditional blessing Urbi et orbi - “to the city of Rome and to the whole world.”
Even if you are not Catholic, this once in a lifetime event should not be missed while in Rome. Receive a message of peace, something we all can appreciate, no matter our walk of life. Attend the service for free, but be sure to get a spot early. Every year there is a huge crowd every year gather at Saint Peter’s Square, waiting to receive a Christmas blessing from the Pope.
4. Taste the authentic Italian cuisine for Christmas lunch
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and Romans are used to eat a big lunch on Christmas Day. Not able (or don’t want!) to cook a meal where you’re staying? Plenty of restaurants will be open, serving delicious dishes of traditional Christmas meals and desserts.
Meat-lovers rejoice - a typical Roman Christmas lunch includes abbacchio, lamb cooked with garlic and rosemary, sometimes small pieces of ham, and served with potatoes or another hearty vegetable. Don’t worry, pasta will be on your plate too. Usually the first course is a pasta dish. Finally, treat yourself to the traditional dessert pangiallo, a yellow bread filled with nuts, dates, chocolate, honey, and more.
A large dinner is also served on Christmas Eve before midnight mass. This dinner features a variety of fish, shellfish, and other delicacies.
5. Check out the gorgeous Christmas tree around the city center
The Christmas Tree at the Colosseum may be a tad shorter than the one at New York City’s Rockefeller Center, but with a backdrop as breathtaking as the ancient Roman stadium, you won’t miss a few feet’s difference.
Stop by the famous Roman amphitheatre during the holidays for a seasonal selfie in front of the colossal Colosseum and its magnificent Christmas tree.
Discover the Saint Peter’s Square and the Christmas tree with the Nativity scenes and discover the corners of the City that show the Christmas feeling.
6. The ornate Nativity scenes crafted by Roman churches will take your breath away
Churches around the city create spectacular scenes of all different sizes and styles.
For instance, some scenes feature life-size figures, such as the Nativity at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli. Others include the entire city of Bethlehem or a whole host of angels, singing hymns above the manger.
It makes sense that the Nativity plays a huge role during Christmas for Italians—the first one was created by St. Francis of Assisi in Italy, in 1223 AD. St. Francis received permission from the Pope to set up a manger in a cave in Greccio, a small Italian village, with two live animals—a donkey and ox. St. Frances then preached about the birth of Baby Jesus to the villagers. Today, the tradition lives on throughout the world during the Christmas season.
7. Go to a Christmas concert at The Auditorium and in the churches of the city
Who doesn’t love listening to classic carols at Christmas? Carols and Christmas music are an important part of the celebration. At the Auditorium in Rome and in many churches you have the chance to hear fantastic selections of Christmas songs from a variety of performers.
Are ready to feel the magic of Christmas in Rome?
Are you ready to spend your Christmas holiday in the Eternal City? Book your Italian winter wonderland vacation started. Or, if you’d like to receive more information, write us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org today!