Christmas in Rome
The holiday season is fast approaching and what better way to enjoy the Christmas festivities than a trip to Rome! From the end of November in to the first week of January you are sure to find something fun and unique to experience. Here are some fun facts about the celebration of Christmas in Italy.
Christmas in Italy is celebrated December 24-Janurary 6, or Christmas Eve through Epiphany. Traditionally presents are given on the Feats of the Epiphany, to commemorate the 12th Day of Christmas when the Wise Men arrived at the Manger bearing gifts for Baby Jesus.
Italians love to decorate for the holidays and are particularly proud of their Nativity scenes, presepe. Almost every church has one and they are often also found outdoors in piazzas and public areas. Some of the biggest and most elaborate presepi can be found in Rome – Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Euclide, Santa Maria in Trastevere, and Santa Maria d’Aracoeli, on the Capitoline Hill.
During the holidays in Rome, one must visit the Christmas market in Piazza Navona! Stands sell all kinds of Christmas sweets, toys, nativity figures, decorations, and gifts. There’s typically a merry-go-round and Babbo Natale, Father Christmas, makes an appearance to delight the kids.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without mentioning Vatican City, the heart of the Roman Catholic Church. St. Peter’s Square is decorated with a large tree and nativity scene. Midnight mass is given by the Pope on Christmas Eve at St. Peter’s Basilica and those in the square see it on big screen TV.
Of course the festivals in Rome are just the beginning of what Italy has to offer during the Christmas holidays. No matter where your tour of Italy takes you, it traveling in December gives you wonderful chance to experience the local culture of this beautiful country!