The top 10 things to do this Christmas 2023 in Rome

rome at christmas

What to do in Rome at Christmas

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and here in Rome jolly doesn’t even begin to explain the level of yuletide cheer and spirit you’ll feel after completing our top ten list of Christmas must-do’s.

Discover the best ways to embrace the holiday spirit in Rome, from admiring in the city’s enchanting illuminations to immersing yourself in the festive atmosphere of Christmas markets.

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christmas tree piazza del popolo rome

Christmas Trees in Rome

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. This year the Christmas tree comes from Macra, a city situated in the Maira Valley, near Cuneo. The inauguration of the tree will take place on December 9th at 5pm.

Another iconic Christmas tree in Rome is the one that is usually set up in Piazza Venezia. This year however, because of the metro C construction, the tree will be moved to Piazza del Popolo.

In Piazza di Spagna, Dior will set up a Christmas tree over 12 meters tall, adorned with golden butterflies and leaves branded with the “Christian Dior” logo. The fashion house will also decorate the Spanish Steps with light installations.

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Panettone or Pandoro

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, and 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 some of the best places to purchase pandoro and panettone in Rome:

Le Levain, Via Luigi Santini 22/23 – Via Piave, 9

Antico Forno Roscioli, Via dei Chiavari 34

Walter Musco, Largo Bompiani 8

Gruè, viale Regina Margherita 95/99

Panificio Bonci, via Trionfale 34/36

Cresci, Via Alcide de Gasperi, 11-17

Casa Manfredi, Viale Aventino, 91/93– Via dei Conciatori, 5


Go Ice Skating - Rome

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. Rome’s Christmas ice skating rinks are usually in the following locations:

Santa Claus Wonderland, Piazzale Maresciallo Diaz

Ice Park Foro Italico

Ice Park Piazza Re di Roma

Christmas World, Villa Borghese

Il Natale a Roma, Laghetto dell’Eur

Luneur, Via delle Tre Fontane, 100

Cinecittà World

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nativity scenes in rome

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 100 Presepi in Vaticano, the most traditional Christmas exhibition in Rome, or peek into the major churches to see the various forms of Christmas Nativities.

9 December 2023 – 7 January 2024

Colonnato di Piazza San Pietro

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Also at Parco Da Vinci will be the world-famous Neapolitan nativity scenes: from 1 to 31 December, the social promotion association “Le Botteghe di San Gregorio Armeno” will create a faithful reproduction of the most characteristic street in the Neapolitan capital inside the park.


Christmas-world-roma

Christmas World at Villa Borghese

Are you ready to embark on a virtual journey through the most typical Christmas atmospheres around the world? After last year’s success, Christmas World is back at Villa Borghese, and it’s on a grand scale, covering an impressive area of 60,000 square meters! This event celebrates enchanting Christmas vibes, taking visitors on a tour of iconic scenes from different cities around the world, recreated by Italian set designers and artists. From 1 December to 7 January, you can explore replicas of 8 global cities, each with its own food district, folkloric performances, 6 original musicals, an 800-square-meter ice-skating rink, a life-sized Nativity scene, gospel concerts, and much more. An open-air event not to be missed for both young and old alike.

1 December 2023 – 7 January 2024

Villa Borghese
entry fee from €16.50


Gospel festival - Rome

Gospel festival

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 caroling around Rome for that matter. Thankfully, the Gospel Festival hosts a series of holiday concerts guaranteed to lift your spirits.

21 – 31 December 2023

Auditorium Parco della Musica 

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trame-di-luce-orto-botanico

Trame di Luci at The Botanical Garden

From November 16th to January 6th, the Botanical Garden of Rome and the Accademia dei Lincei will be illuminated in celebration. For about 45 days, you’ll be able to stroll through an immersive pathway where light and music blend with nature. A journey through time spanning over a kilometer, featuring installations and luminous works by both national and international artists. At the end of the path, you’ll find “Luci di Gusto,” a refreshment area for a delightful break.

16 November 2023 – 7 January 2024

Botanical Garden of Rome

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKET

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Concerts & Masses in Churches

Concerts & Masses in Churches

See above. Music = Merriment and Holiday cheer. Attend a free concert in one of the beautiful churches throughout Rome.

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piazza-navona-market

Wander Around a Christmas Market

Christmas markets in Rome have always been part of the holiday fun, and they always bring in a certain joy during this time of year. You have the possibility to choose between a wide range of options: from Italian craft to vintage clothing, from Christmas food classics to Japanese decor, discover all the Christmas markets in the city!

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christmas-lights-in-rome

Holiday Passeggiata & Christmas Lights

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially in the winding vicolos and side streets decked with twinkling lights and glowing orbs hung above. Take a stroll down these decorated stradas and admire the Christmas lights, taking in the festive holiday vibes. While you’re at it, try the chestnuts roasting on an open fire…

Via dei Condotti

Palazzo Fendi

Via del Governo Vecchio

Via Giulia

Via del Corso

Via del Boschetto & Via Urbana

Colosseum

Via Vittorio Veneto

Piazza di Spagna

Via del Babuino

Piazza Mignanelli

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Catch a Christmas play or concert

Catch a Christmas play or concert

This year the Natale all’Auditorium Festival offers a rich calendar of shows and concerts. The program includes different music concerts, together with the traditional Roma Gospel Festival, one of the most important gospel events in Europe, featuring some of the best voices from the United States. A musical journey that will last more than one month, crossing various places and genres, from classical to jazz, to indie and more. 

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In December, the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma presents Tosca (9, 12, 14 December), directed by Michele Mariotti and starring three opera stars: Anna Pirozzi, Fabio Sartori, and Erwin Schrott. Following this, The Nutcracker (21-31 December) takes the stage, featuring the orchestra, étoiles, and Ballet Corps of the Rome Opera House.

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What’s closed in Rome at Christmas

Rome during Christmas time follows normal opening hours (actually many shops have extended hours till January 6th) except on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Santo Stefano (the 26th of December) and New Year’s Day.

The Vatican Museums will be closed on December 26th, December 31st and January 1st. 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 open – but you should book in advance.

Check out the best NYE parties in Rome 

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