‘Tis the season to be jolly, and here in Rome jolly doesn’t even begin to cover the level of yuletide cheer and spirit you’ll feel after completing our top ten list of Christmas must-do’s.
Saint Peter’s Christmas Tree
Nothing says Christmas like Christmas trees, and nothing says Christmas in Rome like the mother of all Christmas Trees located in Saint Peter’s square.
Indulge in Panettone or Pandoro
By now you have probably noticed the colorful boxes of large round cake-bread stacked in every available corner of Rome’s supermarkets, pasticcerie, even the local “cinese.” Although it is considered perfectly acceptable by Italian standards to go hard on the panettone or pandoro of your choice before, during and after Christmas, be advised: not all panettone and pandoro were created equal. Here are our top pics:
Picca & Picca, Via Principe Amedeo 7F/G
Roscioli, Via dei Giubbonari 21-22
Panificio Bonci, via Trionfale 34/36
Panella, Via Merulana 54
Romoli, Viale Eritrea, 142
Go Ice Skating
Don’t act so surprised, Rome has its fair share of festive holiday rinks for ice skating, even if the weather in December is rarely close to freezing.Check out the rink at Parco dell’auditorium, or try one of the rinks closer to Rome.
Auditorium Parco della Musica, Viale Pietro De Coubertin, 30
Ice Village Roma, Via Grotta di Gregna, 22
Ice Park Parco Leonardo, Viale Donato Bramante, 31/65, Fiumicino.
Ice Park Re di Roma, Piazza Re di Roma
Ice Park Euroma2, Via dell’Oceano Pacifico, 83
Galleria Porta di Roma, Via Alberto Lionello, 201
See some Nativity Scenes
Christmas wouldn’t be complete without the star of the show (Baby Jesus that is, not Santa Claus.) To get your fill of nativity scenes for a lifetime, check out the Sale del Bramante’s 100 Presepi, or peek into the major churches to see the various forms of Christmas Nativities.
Sale del Bramante, Piazza del Popolo
One of the best ways to spread some holiday cheer is through music; however, for those of us who were not given the gift of song caroling is out of the question, nor would we suggest caroing around Rome for that matter. Thankfully, the Gospel Festival is hosting a series of holiday concerts guaranteed to lift your spirits.
Auditorium Parco della Musica (21 December – 31 December)
Concerts in Churches
See above. Music = Merriment and Holiday cheer. Attend a free concert in one of the beautiful churches throughout Rome.
Wander around a Christmas market
We know, we know, Christmas Markets are nothing new and they happen every year.. Hear us out though, the Mercatini di Natale in Rome have upped their game this year, and there are some seriously cool markets you won’t find anywhere else.
Go to mass
When in Rome at Christmas time, going to mass is highly recommended. Even if you’re not religious, this holiday ritual is a Roman tradition. For those looking to really get the full Roman experience, the Christmas eve midnight mass at Saint Peter’s and the Church of Santa Maria Aracoeli on Capitoline Hill are particularly spectacular. For a festive service and the famous “Urbi et Orbi” blessing on Christmas day head to the Vatican.
It’s beginning to look alot like Christmas, especially in the winding vicolos and side streets decked with twinkling lights and with glowing orbs hung above. Take a stroll down these decorated stradas, take in the festive holiday vibes and while you’re at it try the chestnuts roasting on an open fire…
Via dei Condotti
Via del Governo Vecchio
Via del Corso
Via del Boschetto & Via Urbana
Festive shows at the theater
When Christmas is at the door, the whole city goes crazy with holiday cheer, and theaters are surely not an exception! What better way to soak into the holiday spirit than seeing a beautiful festive show? From the Nutcracker at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma to joyful Christmas shows at Teatro Argentina, the calendar is jam-packed!