December is upon us and it's time to starting thinking about Christmas already!
The glittering Christmas tree standing in the center Trinità dei Monti’s steps — AKA the Spanish Steps — officially marks the opening of the Christmas season in Rome. The tree is a gift from Bulgari, which financed the steps’ recent restoration.
Credits @Bulgari on Facebook
So what's going on in Rome during the holiday season?
Christmas markets in Rome
One of Rome’s most famous Christmas markets is in Piazza Navona. Tourists love roaming among the stalls in search of great ideas for Christmas gifts while taking in one of Rome’s finest squares.
Those on the lookout for stalls with crafts and plenty of Christmas inspirations should head on over to the Eur neighborhood where there's the Christmas market called “Passeggiate di Natale” — Christmas Strolls — open until December 27, 2016.
The "RoMarket" is across from the Maxxi museum. This market stands out from the crowd for its stalls of handmade goods, plus food and entertainment, all set in a former barracks.
Cinecittà will features an “Arts and Crafts Market,” with 30 craftspeople displaying and selling their creations.
And Catholics: don’t forget that Christmas Eve mass is at 10:00 PM and not midnight. You might want to get there early due to the big crowds. If you want to catch the Pope’s Urbi et Orbi blessing, he appears on December 25 at midnight.
Christmas at the Auditorium
At Rome’s Auditorium of Music you’ll find:
- an ice rink,
- theatrical adaptations of the TV series Mia and Me and Frozen, the Disney movie so beloved by little girls.
- The Rome Gospel Festival is the biggest gospel festival in Europe, and its main event is on December 31, 2016.
Many museums are closed on Christmas Day, including the Colosseum, the Forum and the Borghese Gallery. But many open again on December 26, when there are usually no big tourist crowds, as visitors are mostly Italians, out for the day with their families.