Christmas in Rome: Some Serious Lights

Christmas lights in Rome

This year, Rome is celebrating Christmas with some of the glitteriest, prettiest lights I've seen. Ever. And since that includes the decorations that glitter-bomb American shopping malls and cul-de-sac neighborhoods every year, that's saying quite a bit.

Here, just a few twinkly tastes of the most Christmas-sy corners of Rome. Photos—and even a couple of short videos—to follow.

Prepare to be dazzled.

Christmas tree and decorations at Piazza Venezia, Rome    Piazza Venezia


Rome Christmas lightsVia dei Coronari

Christmas lights in RomePiazza San Lorenzo in Lucina

 

Christmas parade at Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina

Christmas tree at the Colosseum, RomeColosseum Christmas tree

Lights for Christmas in RomePiazza Sant'Eustachio

Christmas lights in RomeNear Piazza Navona

Presepio or nativity scene in RomePresepio at the Church of Sant'Eustachio

Christmas in RomeVia dei Baullari, toward Campo dei Fiori

Christmas lights in Monti, RomeVia Urbana in Monti

Piazza Venezia during Christmas in RomePiazza Venezia, looking toward the Vittorio Emanuele monument

Via del Corso, with Christmas lights in RomeLooking up Via del Corso from Piazza Venezia

Christmas lights in Rome for the holidaysVia dei Condotti

Spanish Steps decorated for Christmas in RomeNear the Spanish Steps

Christmas decorations in RomeThe Fendi store on Via del Corso

 

Video of the lights at the Fendi store and Via del Corso

Via dei Coronari with Christmas lights in RomeVia dei Coronari

Via dei Condotti on Christmas in RomeVia dei Condotti, looking toward the Spanish Steps


Christmas lights in RomeVia dei Condotti



Christmas-lights-for-web-1
Via del Corso

Church of Sant'Eustachio at ChristmasPiazza Sant'Eustachio, with the Church of Sant'Eustachio in the background

Via Tomacelli at ChristmasVia Tomacelli

Want to know more about Christmas in Rome? Make sure to check out my 5-minute video on what you need to know, below!

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9 Things to Do in Rome at Christmas (Updated for 2017!)

If you’re in Rome at Christmas, you’re in luck! As always, there are absolutely tons of ways to get into the holiday spirit.

Here’s the best of what to do in Rome at Christmas.

1. See the Pope. Over the Christmas season, you’ve got lots of opportunities, from midnight mass (although getting tickets can be tricky) to “Urbi et Orbi” on Christmas Day (no tickets needed). Here’s more on how exactly to see the Pope throughout December and January (updated for 2017).

In Rome at Christmas? Why not see the Pope?
Even if you aren’t in Rome at Christmas Day, you may get another chance to see the Pope!

2. Head to a Christmas market. They pop up all over Rome at Christmas. The most famous is, of course, that in Piazza Navona (both at top and below). Here’s a list of other Rome Christmas markets (updated for 2017!).

In Rome at Christmas, don't miss a Christmas market!
The famous Piazza Navona market, one of the most famous things to do in Rome at Christmas

3. Worship — in English. For years, the American Catholic church of Santa Susanna was the go-to for English Mass. But after being “evicted” by the cloistered nuns (well, okay then!), the community moved in August 2017 to St. Patrick’s Church, near the US Embassy. Once again this Christmas, they’re hosting a variety of Masses and other ceremonies in English. For non-Catholics, the Anglican Church of All Saints’ Church holds holiday services, including the Service of Nine Lessons with Carols, and the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church of Scotland has services throughout the Christmas season. Other churches with non-Catholic services in English during Christmas include the American Episcopal Church of St. Paul’s Within the Walls, the Methodist Church at Ponte Sant’Angelo, and the non-denominational Cavalry Chapel.

4. Go ice-skating. Skate underneath the iconic silhouette of Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo (to be confirmed for 2017 — check here). Other skating rinks in Rome include those at the Auditorium, Re di Roma, Tor di Quinto, and Villa Gordiani.

5. Delve into the tradition of Italian nativity scenes. As well as Christmas cribs popping up in churches all over town, Rome boasts both a museum of more than 3,000 of them and, over Christmas, an exhibition of 200 presepi from artists across the globe (now in its 41st year). Here’s my New York Times piece on where to find presepi in Rome. (The article’s old, but the information’s still good).

Christmas lights in Rome

6. Check out the Christmas lights. Decorations are getting more ambitious every year, with gorgeous twinklings (and light projections, and jumbo screens) lighting up not only the heart of Rome’s centro storico, but even Termini, EUR, and the Fiumicino airport. Don’t believe me? Check out my photo post of the prettiest lights and decorations in Rome at Christmas!

7. Hear some holiday music. The internationally-renowned academy of Santa Cecilia hosts several Christmas choral concerts in December.

Pandoro at Christmas in Rome

9. Enjoy delicious Christmas sweets. Bakeries are brimming over with yummy holiday offerings like panettone, torrone and pandoro (above). If you’re in Rome at Christmas, make sure to taste the goods. It’s the one time of year that even Italians  over-indulge in the sweet stuff!

Also: the 5 most overrated things to do in Rome, how to start planning your trip to Rome, and 11 etiquette mistakes not to make eating in Italy.

If you liked this post, you’ll love The Revealed Rome Handbook: Tips and Tricks for Exploring the Eternal City, available for purchase on Amazon or through my site here! I’m also free for one-on-one consulting sessions to help plan your Italy trip.

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