Spending yuletide in Rome is an unrivalled experience
18 Dec 2019
Well, more than you may think, from holy services, amazing nativity scenes and festive markets to the chance to visit all the major attractions with none of the usual crowds. We explore why Rome at Christmas is a magical experience.
Christmas events in Rome
There's plenty of Rome Christmas 2020 events to enjoy if you're planning on visiting the Italian capital this year. One of the most special events is Midnight Mass, which takes place at churches throughout the city, including Rome's most historic and holy places such as the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, where the first ever Christmas Mass is thought to have been held in the 5th century. The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore is also said to house the world's oldest nativity scene, dating from the 14th century. Another amazing place to attend Midnight Mass is at the Pantheon, a Roman Temple which is over 2000 years old.
Many visitors will hope to attend Midnight Mass at St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, to experience the Pope's Christmas service. Midnight Mass at the Vatican actually starts about 9:30 pm and needs to be booked months in advance. Those who are unable to acquire tickets can gather in St Peter's Square to enjoy the service on a big screen.
Soaking up the atmosphere: Rome at Christmas
Head to the markets in the main squares, notably the Christmas Market at Piazza Navona, where you will see wonderful displays of brightly coloured foods and flowers. Those with children may even be lucky enough to meet Babbo Natale (Father Christmas) who makes appearances throughout December. All over the city are also meticulously designed nativity scenes, placed in all sorts of locations from shop windows to church courtyards. Some of the most well-known nativity scenes are found in St Peter's Square, Piazza del Popolo and the Church of Saints Cosma and Damiano.
Christmas decorations in Rome are both traditional and elegant, with an emphasis on ambient lights and sophisticated trees. Head to Via Condotti where some of the city's most beautiful Christmas lights are hung. As you wander the streets, look out for stalls selling hot chestnuts, a staple festive street food that is both delicious and warming.
Each year an outdoor ice-skating rink is opened nearby to the Castel Sant'Angelo, which is open from 10am until midnight. Conveniently located close by is a small, but charming, Christmas market.
Things to do this Christmas in Rome
As well as the Christmas-specific events that are held in the city, there's plenty of other things to do in Rome during winter. All the main monuments and attractions remain open year-round in Rome, but during winter visitors can enjoy far fewer crowds. This includes the Colosseum, which closes on only two days per year, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Weather in Rome for Christmas
Italy enjoys a Mediterranean climate which means winter time in Rome is far milder than it is in the UK or other parts of Northern Europe. It's chilly enough to feel festive, but with daily temperatures of 8-12 degrees, it is in fact warm enough to enjoy walking around outdoors and getting the most from the city.
Best area to stay in Rome for Christmas
With far fewer crowds and more rooms available than during the summer months, winter is the time to enjoy a stay in Rome's city centre. Staying in the centre provides excellent access to the main Christmas events, major Rome attractions and of course, the Vatican City. The four-star UNAHOTELS Decò Roma is ideally located in the heart of the historic centre, as well as being close to the main Termini Railway Station. Enjoy elegance, refined style and a warm welcome, the perfect place to stay for a luxurious Roman Christmas holiday.
Enjoy a magical Christmas in Rome whether it's a romantic vacation or a family holiday. From Midnight Mass in the Vatican to glorious markets, hot chestnuts and even ice-skating, there's plenty to do and more than enough atmosphere to get you in the Christmas mood. With smaller crowds, mild weather and better availability at luxury central hotels, why not spend this Christmas in Rome.