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Holiday Guide to Rome

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Rome is a wonderful destination for the holidays. The season really kicks off on December 8th with the 'Feast of the Immaculate Conception,' and stretches all the way through to January 6th, culminating in the very Italian celebration of 'Befana.' On this day, according to folklore, a friendly witch flies above the piazza after sunset, and brings sweets and oranges to the good kids, and blocks of candy coal to the naughty ones. What better time to visit Italy than during this special time of year!

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Foodie
  • Like a Local

13 Places

3 City Tips

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Map

13 Places

Piazza Navona

Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

Sacred & Religious Sites, Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Churches & Cathedrals

Via del Corso

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Enoteca Il Piccolo

Restaurants

St. Peter's Basilica

Historic Sites, Churches & Cathedrals, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Colosseum

Ancient Ruins, Historic Sites

Cristalli di zucchero

Restaurants

Teatro dell'Opera di Roma

Theatres

Museo Internazionale Del Presepio

Speciality Museums

Auditorium - Parco della Musica

Theatres

Piazza Venezia

Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Trattoria Da Cesare

Restaurants

Romeo

Restaurants

Gillian L's City Tips

  • Double check opening days and hours of stores before visiting. They can vary during the the holidays.
  • Christmas Eve is traditionally the night for a big celebratory meal. Make sure to book your table well ahead of time.
  • December can be a wet month in Rome. Make sure you pack an umbrella.
  • Save
    Piazza Navona
    Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Gillian L Says:

    From the beginning of December until the night of January 6th, Piazza Navona is transformed into a Christmas Market, with stands selling food, sweets, crafts, and traditional 'presepe' (nativity) figures. There are also shows to warch, and a carousel for children to enjoy.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • The final market day ends with the arrival of Befana, the friendly witch who gives out sweet treats to the kids on the eve of the 6th December.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 2,034 things to do in Rome
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great place to relax 18/09/2018
    • Breathtaking scenery and ambiance. 18/09/2018
    • Piazza Navona
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
    Sacred & Religious Sites, Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Churches & Cathedrals
    See more photos
    Gillian L Says:

    This important papal church holds traditional Christmas Eve and Christmas Day masses. It is the oldest church dedicated to Mary in Rome, and a particular favorite of Pope Francis.

    Good for
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The church is home to a relic that is said to be pieces of wood from Jesus' crib.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 2,034 things to do in Rome
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Just Wonderful!!! 18/09/2018
    • Nice Place 18/09/2018
    • Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
    Address:
    Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore 42
    00185 Rome
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 06 6988 6800
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Via del Corso
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Gillian L Says:

    In recent years, the city of Rome has begun the tradition of stringing lights along the entire two kilometer-length of the Via del Corso. The lights are weaved into designs representing the colors of the Italian flag, rainbows, and flags representing countries from around the world.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The Via del Corso can get extremely crowded on weekend afternoons.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #152 of 2,034 things to do in Rome
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • One for the Wife 11/09/2018
    • Great place for shoppinf 28/08/2018
    • Via del Corso
    Address:
    Via del Corso
    Rome
    Italy
    Other:
  • Save
    Enoteca Il Piccolo
    Restaurants (Italian, Wine Bar)
    See more photos
    Gillian L Says:

    This small wine bar is just a short walk from Piazza Navona, and during the holiday season it serves warm, spicy, mulled wine each evening. You can sit at one of the wooden tables, or take a cup to go and sip it while you stroll through the neighborhood's tiny streets, beautifully decorated with Christmas lights.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Look for a sign that says Vin Brûlée.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #2,208 of 10,946 restaurants in Rome
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Easy Place to Chill 06/08/2018
    • Nice stop for drinks......not so much for meals 10/07/2018
    • Enoteca Il Piccolo
    Address:
    Via Del Governo Vecchio 74
    Rome
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 06 6880 1746
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 PM - 2:00 AM
    Other:
  • Save
    St. Peter's Basilica
    Historic Sites, Churches & Cathedrals, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Gillian L Says:

    Christmas Eve Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica is a moving event, for religious and non-religious visitors alike. If you want to participate, you must obtain tickets months in advance, either from the Vatican itself or from a local archbishop. An easier option is to watch the mass outside in Saint Peter's Square, where it is broadcast on large screens, or you can catch it in your hotel room, on several Italian television channels.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • A large tree and nativity scene is on display in the piazza throughout the holiday season.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 55 things to do in Vatican City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Wonderful St. Peter's Basilica ....! 18/09/2018
    • Amazing 18/09/2018
    • St. Peter's Basilica
    Address:
    Piazza di San Pietro
    00120 Vatican City
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 06 6988 3731
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    7:00 AM - 6:30 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Colosseum
    Ancient Ruins, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Gillian L Says:

    Rome celebrates New Year's Eve with a bang, and its festivities are concentrated around the Colosseum and Circo Massimo. There are live concerts here from about 9pm onwards, as well as an impressive fireworks show at the stroke of midnight.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Dress warm and arrive here early. The area gets more and more crowded as the night goes on.
    • From December 8th onwards, a large Christmas tree is erected here.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 2,034 things to do in Rome
    • Absolute must 18/09/2018
    • Our Favorite Tour 18/09/2018
    • Colosseum
    Address:
    Piazza del Colosseo
    00184 Rome
    Italy
    Phone:
    (+39) 06 39967700
    Other:
  • Save
    Cristalli di zucchero
    Restaurants (Italian, Cafe)
    See more photos
    Gillian L Says:

    Two traditional holiday treats in Rome are 'Pandoro,' a light star-shaped cake that is dusted with powdered sugar, and 'Panettone,' a dense, spiced cake that is studded with dried and candied fruit. This elegant pastry shop near the Circo Massimo makes some of the best in town!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Check small grocery shops (known as "alimentari") for commercially produced Pandoro and Panettone in brightly-decorated packaging.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #2,066 of 10,946 restaurants in Rome
    • So delicious!! 07/11/2016
    • Friendly local bakery 10/07/2016
    • Cristalli di zucchero
    Address:
    Via di Val Tellina 114
    00151 Rome
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 389 173 3636
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    7:00 AM - 9:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Teatro dell'Opera di Roma
    Theatres
    See more photos
    Gillian L Says:

    From late December to early January, Rome's Opera House hosts performances of beloved ballet, the Nutcracker. What a fantastic, festive way to experience this beautiful Italian theater!

    Good for
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • In Italian, the Nutcracker is "Lo Schiaccianoci."
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #154 of 2,034 things to do in Rome
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Wonderful experience 09/07/2018
    • Opera House In Downtown Rome 08/07/2018
    • Teatro dell'Opera di Roma
    Address:
    Piazza Beniamino Gigli 7
    00184 Rome
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 06 481601
    Hours:
    Sun
    9:00 AM - 1:30 PM
    Tue - Sat
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Museo Internazionale Del Presepio
    Speciality Museums
    Gillian L Says:

    This tiny museum, just behind the Forum of Augustus, showcases a collection of nativity scenes from all over Italy, made from materials such as paper mache, wood, and terracotta..

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • During the holiday season, the museum is open every day.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #720 of 2,034 things to do in Rome
    • Unique small museum off the beaten path 01/01/2018
    • Ottimo! 22/08/2016
    • Museo Internazionale Del Presepio
    Address:
    Via Tor De' Conti 31/A
    Chiesa dei SS. Quirico e Giulitta
    00184 Rome
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 06 679 6146
    Hours:
    Wed
    5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    Sat
    5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Auditorium - Parco della Musica
    Theatres
    See more photos
    Gillian L Says:

    The grounds of this public musical performance space, designed by Renzo Piano, play host to an ice skating rink and market stalls during the holiday season. It's an area well worth exploring while you're in Rome!

    Good for
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The musical concerts held here range from symphonies to gospel choirs to pop.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #176 of 2,034 things to do in Rome
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Outstanding experience 27/06/2018
    • For music and architecture lovers 23/08/2017
    • Auditorium - Parco della Musica
    Address:
    Viale Pietro de Coubertin 30
    00196 Rome
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 06 8024 1281
    Other:
  • Save
    Piazza Venezia
    Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Gillian L Says:

    During the festive season, take a walk to end of the Via del Corso and you will find a large, decorated tree standing in the grassy area in front of this famous monument. Always stunning!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • This is a great spot to get a long shot of the lights that are strung along the entire length of Via del Corso.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #89 of 2,034 things to do in Rome
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beatiful square 18/09/2018
    • Nice place to visit 18/09/2018
    • Piazza Venezia
    Address:
    Piazza Venezia
    00187 Rome
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 06 0606
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Trattoria Da Cesare
    Restaurants (Italian, Pizza, Seafood, Mediterranean, Soups)
    See more photos
    Gillian L Says:

    A quick ride on the number 8 tram will bring you to this classic Roman restaurant - a great spot that's open for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dining, and serves traditional meals in an authentic local atmosphere.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Romans usually enjoy an elaborate fish dinner on Christmas Eve.
    • Book a table well in advance.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1,492 of 10,946 restaurants in Rome
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Authentic Roman cuisine 14/09/2018
    • Delicious 18/08/2018
    • Trattoria Da Cesare
    Address:
    Via del Casaletto 45
    Zona Monteverde
    00151 Rome
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 06 536015
    Hours:
    Thu - Tue
    12:30 PM - 3:00 PM
    7:30 PM - 11:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Romeo
    Restaurants (Italian)
    See more photos
    Gillian L Says:

    This elegant restaurant in the Prati neighborhood is a great option for a New Year's Eve dinner or a New Year's Day lunch.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Reservations are required for holiday season meals here.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3,189 of 10,946 restaurants in Rome
    • Great food! Nice atmosphere 28/06/2018
    • Modern Italian 25/06/2018
    • Romeo
    Address:
    Piazza dell'Emporio 28
    Testaccio
    00153 Rome
    Italy
    Phone:
    +39 06 3211 0120
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 PM - 12:00 AM
    Tue - Sat
    5:00 PM - 12:00 AM
    Other:
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