Christmas in Rome is simply magical! Thanks to all the lights decorating shop windows and the festive atmosphere that fills the streets and squares, Christmas in Rome is an experience that you will remember forever. A Christmas tour of Rome must always include a visit to our numerous markets and traditional Christmas events.
The most famous Christmas market in Rome is actually dedicated to the Befana, the Christmas witch who fills children’s stockings with sweets on the Epiphany. The Mercatino della Befana in Piazza Navona is open until January 6 with booths full of sweets and Christmas decorations for both adults and children to stock up on traditional Befana stocking stuffers.
The lighting of the Christmas tree is always a heartwarming event, and Rome’s tallest and most beautiful Christmas trees can be found in Piazza Venezia and Piazza San Pietro.
The Piazza Venezia tree (affectionately known as Spelacchio, or “baldy”, in honor of a past tree that promptly lost all of its needles once displayed in the piazza) is a natural fir tree that comes from the woods in the province of Varese. More than 22 meters high, it is decorated with eighty thousand LED lights and over a thousand decorative balls and snow crystals. As dictated by tradition, the Spelacchio is lit on December 8 and illuminates the historic city center of Rome with a cheery Christmas glow until January 12.
In Piazza San Pietro, the Christmas tree is lit on December 5. A 26-meter high spruce from Rotzo, a town in the Veneto province of Vicenza, the tree is decorated with brightly colored lights and pays special attention to environmental impact.
The traditional nativity scene in Piazza San Pietro for Christmas 2019 is made of wood by the artisans of Scurelle, a town in Trentino, with 25 life-size figures. The nativity scene this year is inspired by the paintings of Cima da Conegliano, the great Renaissance painter. The trees and wood used in the nativity scene come from the areas hit by the Vaia storm of 2018.
Last but not least, a new event for 2019:
Many museums in Rome will celebrate the season by remaining open on December 25 and January 1!