Top 5 festive experiences in Rome

Top 5 festive experiences in Rome

Rome enjoys a reputation as one of the most historic and spiritual destinations in the world and when it comes to Christmas traditions the Vatican city does not disappoint. For those lucky enough to be in situ on Christmas day there are themed markets, outdoor ice rinks, nativity scenes, performances and religious parades galore. Happily Esteele has collated a list of the top 5 must see and do events and activities for Christmas Day.

Midnight mass on Christmas Eve
For a genuinely religious Christmas experience, the midnight mass on Christmas Eve in St. Peter's Basilica is both spectacular and humbling. Join worshippers as the Pope broadcasts from his balcony to an adoring crowd who gather in anticipation for his annual Christmas address at 12pm. Due to the popularity of this event, it is advisable to email the Vatican directly for tickets.

The Nutcracker
Even if this season's production of The Nutcracker at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma is the first time you go to see and hear Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's final ballet, much of its music will be instantly recognisable. The perennial Christmas favourite will be a never-to-be-forgotten experience thanks to the theatre's 19th-century splendour and ambience in abundance.
18-24 December:

Ice-skating under the Castel Sant'angelo
Over the centuries, lovers, families, and holidaymakers have ambled across the ancient engraved bridges over the River Tiber to visit the Castel Sant'angelo originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family. In latter years it was utilised as a fortress but today it is a museum that doubles as a magical backdrop for ice-skaters who flock to the rink located near the castle.

Christmas Lights
Rome is never more beautiful than at Christmas time with the city's charming cobble-stoned stradas, winding alleys and side streets embellished with twinkling lights and enchanting decorations. For many the moment the Vatican switches on the lights of the massive Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square is a bucket-list experience.
Some of the most beautiful venues and Christmas lights and trees include:.
Rome's centro storico - Via di Monserrato, 34, 00186 Roma, Italy
Termini - 00185 Rome, Italy
Eur - Quartiere XXXII Europa, Roma, Italy
Fiumicino airport - Via dell' Aeroporto di Fiumicino, 320, 00054 Fiumicino RM, Italy
Saint Peter's Square
Piazza Venezia - Piazza Venezia, 00186 Roma, Italy, next to the Colosseum
Capitoline Hill - 00186 Rome, Italy

Christmas Markets
Located in one of the most beautiful piazzas in Italy, the Mercatino di Natale della Befana has been operating for well over a century. The beauty of the market lies in its stunning location as marketeers, performers, jugglers and artists radiate out from Bernini's Four River Fountain Street. For those in search of truly authentic fare head to the Arti & Mestieri Expo which features several hundred stalls selling artisanal goods and foodstuffs, from ceramics to leather to olive oil to chocolate. All of the products are made in Italy, and much fun can be had fossicking for local, unusual and authentic gifts for loved ones.
The Arti & Mestieri Expo takes place from December 15 to 18.
Mercatino di Natale della Befana from December 2016 to January 6th, 2017

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