At Christmas, Rome is a magical place to visit. Recently, ahead of the yuletide season, I was thinking about what made it so special at this time of year. It is brimming with a wonderful festive atmosphere. Rome’s iconic sights are beautifully illuminated for the season – there are Christmas trees and twinkling lights across the city. Then, there are Rome’s Christmas markets. A stroll through these festive bazaars is the perfect activity for any Christmas trip to Rome. Here are the five markets to visit this Christmas in Rome:
The Piazza Navona Christmas Market in Rome
This market runs every day until January 6th. It is a festival of Christmas spirit and is probably the one Christmas Market in Rome that every tourist visits during his or her Christmas vacation in Rome. Locals will also make a trip here every year, too. Stalls are laden with sweet Christmas treats, decorations and gifts. There will also usually be street performers, and the Piazza itself will be beautifully lit with a Carousel and a life size nativity scene taking centre stage. The opening hours usually span from 10am right through until 1am, and 2am at the weekends. Recently, it has been much smaller than in previous years, but the setting is still special, particularly since the Piazza itself is one of the most beautiful squares in the city of Rome – strikingly complimented by the famous 17th Century Baroque Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, Palace Pamphilj, and of course Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers.
Rome’s Piazzale Ankara (Flaminio Stadium)
The market sells fair trade and artisan products – covering sumptuous food, glittering decorations to perfect gift ideas for loved ones. Usually there are over 150 artisans and stallholders taking part. There’s also a huge ice-skating rink and wonderful Christmas tree taking centre stage. Local charity plays a role in this market – and through the Christmas Gift Giving Tree you can gift food that is passed on to less fortunate souls in the city.
Piazza Caprera Christmas Market
This particular market is a favourite haunt for locals! As you arrive, a wonderful aroma will waft over you – the food here is wonderful! Look out for the traditional panettone and struffoli – a Neapolitan dish made from fried and crunchy spheres of dough, usually mixed with honey. It is divine!
Located at Parco della Musica (Rome’s public music complex), it is a treat for all the senses – you’ll find huge ice rinks, a program of events put on by Rome’s orchestra and the city’s gospel choir, and many beautiful artisan stalls selling wonderful food stuffs and gift ideas for those at home. You can’t fail to feel festive by the time you leave.
The Mercato Monti
This is a year round market that takes place at the weekends in the Monti neighborhood – near the Colosseum. However, for the week prior to Christmas, it stays open and the stalls become very Christmas-y. Having Rome’s most famous structure as a backdrop makes this and even more special experience.
Finally – if you love to shop at Christmas, then check out the ‘Sempre Natale’ store – close to the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona. It means ‘Always Christmas’ and inside you’ll find a treasure trove of Christmas ornaments and decorations – beautiful keepsakes of your Christmas vacation to Rome. Also – as it gets closer to Christmas, Rome’s shops extend their opening hours to help those who are looking to complete their Christmas gift shopping.
Visit Rome at Christmas and I know you’ll have a beautiful experience. The city is striking at any time of year, but even more so with the festive lighting enhancing its iconic sights against the winter skies. Romans and Italians love Christmas – and you will too when you visit Rome at Christmas. A great start to your winter vacation in Rome is to visit one of its Christmas markets – sample the yuletide sweet treats, have some fun on the ice rinks, and pick up a locally crafted gift. We know how to do Christmas well. If you are staying over the festive season itself, then please do join us for the ultimate in Roman Christmas traditions – attending the Papal blessing at St Peter’s Basilica along with a walking tour of the city on Christmas Day. Or if you are visiting earlier in the month of December, join in on any one of our tours of Rome – as we explore the beautiful sights of the city at this most wonderful time of year. Please do visit the Gray Line I love Rome website for information on how we can help you explore our city.