Rome’s main streets are decorated with lights and often have entertainment by musicians and vendors selling roasted chestnuts. A good place to go is the shopping streets near Piazza di Spagna. An outdoor ice skating rink is set up near Castel Sant’Angelo and at the Auditorium. Enjoy delicious Christmas sweets like panettone and torrone.
Christmas in Rome
Each year a huge Christmas tree is erected in Saint Peter’s Square. A life-size nativity is also set up but usually not unveiled until Christmas Eve. Thousands of visitors flock to Saint Peter’s Square when the Pope says midnight mass on Christmas Eve inside Saint Peter’s Basilica (in the square it’s shown on big screen TVs) and delivers his Christmas message at noon on Christmas Day from the window of his apartment above the square.
In addition to the tree in Saint Peter’s Square, two of the largest Christmas trees in Rome are usually erected in Piazza Venezia and next to the Colosseum. There’s also a tree in the area in front of the Museums on the Capitoline Hill.
Lots of small markets can be found throughout Rome at Christmas time. The largest and most popular is the Christmas market on Piazza Navona, Rome’s famous Baroque square. You’ll find stands selling all kinds of Christmas sweets, toys, nativity figures, decorations, and gifts.
On Christmas day (December 25th) or even from Christmas Eve until the day after New Year, a lot of shops, museums and restaurants may be closed.