Rome in December: tips for visiting Rome in winter

Rome in December: what to wear, best things to do and main events

Is December a good time to visit Rome?

Picking a destination like Rome has a huge benefit: it’s always a great time to visit Rome, no matter the month. But there are certain times of the year that are more interesting in terms of events and the weather. If you love the holiday season, December is the best time to visit Rome: there are plenty of Christmas markets, the holiday cheer is in the air and it isn’t high season! If you’re traveling to Rome in December, here’s what you should expect!

The weather in Rome in December

Winter isn’t till December 21st, so December is in between fall and winter. Either way, the weather is actually quite good in Rome in December: there are many clear and sunny days and little rainfall. However, the days are quite short, with the winter solstice being on December 21/22, and sun setting as early as 4.30pm. During the day average temperatures hit 9°C to 12°C while in the evening they cool down to 5°C.

What to wear in December in Rome?

Temperatures in December are cold but there isn’t much rainfall! Here’s a few things that should go on your packing list:

  1. You’ll definitely want to pack a pair of comfortable shoes (remember, Rome is filled with cobblestones) and boots.
  2. Absolutely dress in layers, especially if you’re out all day long.
  3. Long pants that are warm, long-sleeved shirts, pullovers, cardigans, turtlenecks
  4. Jeans and cotton pants 
  5. A heavy jacket or coat
  6. Scarves are musts
  7. Warm winter hat
  8. Don’t forget a rain jacket and an umbrella

Now that we’ve covered the weather and what to pack for Rome, I’ll let you in on the dress code in Rome! If you’re visiting religious sites like the Vatican, you need to cover your shoulders and knees. But that shouldn’t be a problem in December! For outings, locals have a smart-casual or smart-elegant dress code. Most restaurants, unless they are very elegant, don’t require jackets for men, but we encourage you to dress nicely, either with a shirt or a polo for men, and a dress or pants and a nice top for women.

Please note that if you are going clubbing, depending on the club there will be a dress code that’s required. For more stylish clubs, men – make sure you have a shirt, dark pants (not jeans) and nice shoes.

What’s on in Rome in December?

December is a great time in Rome! The city is filled with holidays cheers, the Christmas lights are all over the center, Christmas markets are open all month long and there are great concerts, too!  If you’re spending Christmas in Rome, there are great events in store for you.

Enjoy the holiday season by wander through the charming Christmas markets in Rome, where the spirit of the season comes alive with stalls offering a variety of delights. Take in the artistry of Nativity Scenes showcased at the 100 Presepi Exhibition on Via della Conciliazione, and lift your spirits to angelic heights by heading to a concert in some of the most unique churches in Rome! From world class organ and piano performances of Bach, Chopin and Mozart, Soprano solos of classic Puccini and Verdi to a heart melting children’s choir, it’s a holiday must-have experience!

Secure tickets to one of the performances of the Roma Gospel Festival at Auditorium Parco della Musica or delight in ballets and operas at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, or Teatro Costanzi. For a whimsical winter experience, go ice skating at one of these ice skating rinks in Rome.

December has some of the best exhibitions in Rome, so make sure you seize the opportunity to experience the artistic vibrancy Rome has to offer. Don’t miss out on the best concerts in Rome in December.

As the year comes to a close, plan for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve in Rome selecting from the diverse array of dinners and parties hosted throughout the city.

Discover the best events in December in Rome

National holidays in Italy in December

Please bear in mind that the Immaculate Conception on December 8th and Christmas Day on December 25th are holidays, meaning museums and sightseeing areas might be closed.

The Vatican Museums will be closed on December 85h, 25th, 26th and 31st. The Colosseum Archeological Park and the Borghese Gallery will be closed on December 25th and January 1st. As far as restaurants are concerned, many will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (but not all, you’ll find many restaurants offering delicious Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus, especially in the centro storico). While on New Year’s Eve restaurants are always usually – but you should book in advance. 

The best things to do in Rome in December

In addition to going on guided tours of the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum and throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain, there are plenty of other great activities for you to do in December during the day:

  1. Go Christmas shopping in Rome
  2. Listen to jazz, soul and blues at one of these live music venues in Rome
  3. Take part in a painting class near Piazza Navona
  4. Grab a drink at one of the best cocktail bars in Rome
  5. Learn to make pizza near Piazza Navona
  6. Learn to make gelato in an authentic gelateria
  7. Learn to make pasta and tiramisu in a family owned Roman restaurant
  8. Indulge in a wine tasting experience in a cozy wine bar near Campo de’ Fiori
  9. Have colazione at one of the best breakfast spots in Rome
  10. Take advantage of the national holiday and go on a winter weekend getaway from Rome!
  11. Catch a Christmas play or concert
  12. Indulge in a delicious sugar-coated piece of heaven at the best bakeries in Rome.
  13. Pamper yourself at one of these day spas in Rome.
  14. Book a food market tour!
  15. Check out the best restaurants in Rome for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!
  16. Are you visiting Rome with kids? Check out our guide:

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