Spending Christmas in Rome gives a whole new meaning to a Roman holiday! Few things feel as timeless as Christmas itself, so what better place to spend it than in the eternal city? With it's heavily Catholic influence, the biggest of all the Christian holidays is a not taking lightly here. When the happiest season comes around, these ancient streets light up and come to life even more with the spirit of the Christmas. The city offers a cornucopia of festive delights that will make spending your Christmas here a truly unforgettable experience.

Here are HomeExchange's top suggestions for Christmas experiences to make your Roman Holiday truly magical.

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1. St. Peter's Square & the Vatican Nativity Scene

christmas rome vatican nativity scene

Begin your Christmas adventure at the heart of the Catholic world, St. Peter's Square. Marvel at the grandeur of the Vatican and delight in the awe-inspiring nativity scene that graces the square. Designed with intricate craftsmanship and adorned with vibrant lights, it captures the essence of the season, reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas.

2. Piazza Navona Christmas Market

christmas in rome market

Step into a festive fairytale as you wander through the charming Piazza Navona Christmas Market. Adorned with twinkling lights and bustling stalls, this market is a treasure trove of handmade crafts, artisanal gifts, and delectable treats. Sip on steaming cups of mulled wine, savor roasted chestnuts, and immerse yourself in the joyous atmosphere of this traditional Roman market.

3. Ice Skating at Castel Sant'Angelo

christmas in rome ice skating

Embrace your inner child and lace up your skates for a spin on the ice at Castel Sant'Angelo. This enchanting ice rink, set against the backdrop of the majestic fortress, offers a magical experience for all ages. Glide hand in hand with loved ones, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the city, and make memories that will warm your heart for years to come.

4. Christmas Eve Mass at the Pantheon

christmas rome pantheon

Experience a moment of serenity and spirituality as you attend the mesmerizing Christmas Eve Mass at the Pantheon. The ethereal beauty of this ancient temple, combined with the angelic voices of the choir, creates an atmosphere that transcends time. Join the locals in celebrating the birth of Christ in this sacred space, an experience that will leave you feeling uplifted and connected.

5. Via dei Condotti & Christmas Shopping

christmas in rome shopping

Get your last minute Christmas shopping done along Rome's most fashionable street, Via dei Condotti. During the Christmas season, this glamorous avenue comes alive with dazzling lights and elegant window displays. Browse through high-end boutiques and find the perfect gifts for your loved ones, or treat yourself to a little something special to commemorate your Roman holiday.

6. Christmas Concerts & Performances

christmas in paris

Allow the enchanting melodies of Christmas music to sweep you off your feet as you attend one of the many concerts and performances taking place throughout the city at Christmas time. From classical symphonies to soul-stirring choirs, Rome's churches and theaters become stages for extraordinary performances that will leave you with a song in your heart.

7. Explore Trastevere's Festive Atmosphere

christmas lights rome travestere

Cross the Tiber River and step into Trastevere, a bohemian neighborhood that embraces the spirit of Christmas with open arms. Wander through its narrow cobblestone streets, adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations. Indulge in traditional Roman cuisine at cozy trattorias, join locals in a joyful toast, and immerse yourself in the warmth and conviviality of this charming district.

8. Visit the Nativity Scene at Santa Maria Maggiore

christmas in rome Santa Maria Maggiore

Discover the beauty of the world-famous nativity scene at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Immerse yourself in the meticulously crafted scenes depicting the birth of Jesus, surrounded by intricate figurines and breathtaking details. This awe-inspiring display is a testament to the craftsmanship and devotion that goes into preserving this cherished Christmas tradition.

9. Feast on Traditional Roman Christmas Delights

christmas in rome holiday treats

No Christmas celebration is complete without a feast! And no visit to Rome is complete without indulging in the city's culinary delights. Italians are well known for Panettone at Christmas - a labor intensive fermented brioche sweetened with dried fruits and more. From this aromatic loaf to the savory Cacio e Pepe, Rome offers a mouthwatering array of traditional Christmas treats. Treat your taste buds to the flavors of the season and savor every bite of these gastronomic delights.

10. Attend Midnight Mass at Santa Maria in Trastevere

christmas in rome midnight mass

For a truly memorable Christmas Eve experience, join the locals in attending Midnight Mass at the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. This historic church, adorned with stunning mosaics, becomes a sanctuary of peace and reflection. Amidst the gentle glow of candlelight and the harmonious sounds of hymns, embrace the spirit of Christmas in this intimate and sacred setting.

11. Visit the Christmas Tree at Piazza Venezia

christmas in rome piazza venezzia

Make your way to Piazza Venezia to witness the grandeur of Rome's towering Christmas tree. Adorned with thousands of twinkling lights and surrounded by festive decorations, this majestic symbol of the season will leave you in awe. Take a moment to bask in its radiance and capture a photo to commemorate your Roman holiday.

12. Extend Your Stay to Experience the Epiphany Celebrations

christmas in rome

Extend the Christmas spirit by participating in the Epiphany celebrations on January 6th. Join the vibrant and colorful procession of the Befana, an Italian folklore character who brings gifts to children. Witness the lively parade as the Befana, dressed in her witch-like attire, distributes sweets and small presents to eager children lining the streets. This joyful event embodies the perfect ending to the Christmas season, leaving you with cherished memories of Rome's unique and vibrant traditions.

Spend Christmas in Rome with HomeExchange

christmas in rome 2023

Wether you want to spend Christmas 2023 in Rome or in the coming years, it's important to know that the holidays are one of the highest season for tourism here, and with good reason! With so much holiday magic to take in the in Eternal City, it's hard to stay away. Accommodations, last minute or not, can be particularly hard to find and pricey this time of year. HomeExchange is an ideal solution when it comes to where to stay for your Roman Holiday, and it's affordable and flexible, with real homes offering a comfortable and cozy place to call home for your holidays in the Italian Capital. Sign up today and find out more about staying with HomeExchange around the world.

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