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Buon Natale! Christmas celebrations in Rome

December 12, 2014 4:09 pm by

With less than two weeks to go until 25th December, we’re all getting very excited. Whether you’ll be in Rome for the actual day or whether you’re just visiting in the run up, you can still enjoy the wide range of festive events and activities going on during the season.

Christmas Market at Piazza Navona

Although Rome’s not nationally or internationally famed for its Christmas markets, the most popular one can be found dominating the whole of Piazza Navona (accessible on a Rome Bus Tour) from late November through to early January. Filled with fairground-style stalls and novelty gifts, it’s every Roman’s answer to a commercialised Christmas. And so what, it’s fun! With plenty to purchase from candy floss to delicious Italian treats like panettone, it’s worth a visit just to get you in the Christmas spirit at least. Make sure to take loose change though as cash points in the area are hard to come by.

Christmas Tree at St Peter’s Square

St Peter’s Basilica needs no introduction, and nor do you need reminding of its importance and spiritual and historic symbolism. At Christmas thought it’s famous for another reason (other than the obvious) as a huge Christmas tree  (usually around the 25m mark) is erected in the middle of the square. The tradition of the Christmas tree has been around since 1982 when the Polish Pope John Paul II introduced this much loved Northern European festive symbol. Now, every year the tree is donated by a different country and this year it’s back to Italy and the Southern region of Calabria.

NB: If you’re in Rome for Christmas Eve, their annual Nativity Play is also unveiled to celebrate the birth of Christ – definitely worth a visit!

Christmas Music at Natale all’Auditorium Parco della Musica

Each country and culture has their own Christmas traditions and music plays as much a part in it as anything. Where the Westernised Christian traditions usually sing carols, in Rome you can enjoy Christmas at the Auditorium Parco della Musica with the Rome Gospel Festival. But it’s not all about the music, although Parco della Musica hosts a wide range of concerts and operas from early December through to early January, there’s also an ice rink and a Christmas market, too. A great place to take the kids for a mix of culture and Christmas cheer!

Christmas Shopping Arti & Mestieri Expo

Rome has lots of good artisanal shops and independent sellers to get inspired for your Christmas shopping, if you’re looking for something really unique then head to the Arti & Mestieri Expo (Arts & Crafts Expo), from 11th December to 14th December. With stalls exhibiting all sorts of crafts, food, wine, beauty and lifestyle products – there’s something for everyone! Perfect for stocking fillers or substantial presents you can find silver jewellery and leather goods, to handmade cards and knick knacks.

Ice Skating at Castel Sant’angelo

To top off the Christmas extravaganza in Rome, end your festive holiday with a bit of ice skating. At one of the most picturesque spots, right in front of Castel Sant’angelo, you can skate against a historic backdrop and drink in just being in Rome at Christmas! Just a short walk away is the bustling area of Trastevere, too, a great place to go and warm up with a drink and some pizza afterwards.

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