Are you planning on spending Christmas in Rome with children? Christmas holidays in Rome are a great choice for families to have fun and experience this magical city. The meaning of Christmas is sharing time with family and close friends. The great beauty of Rome is amazing at any time of year though it might just be at its best when all the holiday decorations are in place. In late November Rome starts transforming itself into a winter wonderland. Streets and trees sparkle with fairy lights. Shop windows come to life and Rome landmarks are illuminated in all their timeless glory. Looking for some holiday fun in Rome for your family? Here are some holiday travel ideas to help you plan your family stay in Rome with children. We have assembled a great list of Christmas venues that are best for families visiting Rome with kids.
Make this Christmas special for your family. If your are traveling to Rome during the holiday season there are several Christmas events to enjoy, discover and experience. From the Christmas open-air toy fair in Piazza Navona to the bigger than life sized St Peter’s nativity scene, from tree lightings to Santa sightings there are plenty of festive ways to have a merry Christmas for kids. Enjoy the warmth of Rome dressed up for the festive holiday season. Stroll cobbled streets and lively squares lined in twinkling lights and take in the magic of the Eternal City. Celebrating Christmas in Rome with children can be a truly enchanting family vacation.
Whether you are traveling with children or with a group of friends there are many tempting options for things to do and see during Christmas in Rome.
Visiting one or more Rome Christmas markets is a very popular thing to do in Italy once the holiday season rolls around. The markets sell a wide range of handicrafts and toys as well as all kinds of delicious treats and traditional Italian Christmas cakes and cookies like torrone and panettone. The most famous of the Rome Christmas markets is the market in Piazza Navona, a longtime institution in Rome when it comes to Christmas time. A special Christmas holiday atmosphere pervades this lit up Baroque square which displays the genius of Bernini. Piazza Navona with its food stalls, restaurants, outdoor gelato shops, and street performers is always a hit for families. This lively pedestrian square leaves plenty of space for children to walk around and enjoy its treasures. Children can also ride on the merry-go-round in the center of the square and even meet Babbo Natale AKA Santa! In Piazza Navona Christmas market you can buy sweets and Christmas souvenirs that will remind you of your Rome family trip every year you bring out the Christmas goodies. On January 6th Piazza Navona becomes a Befana market and celebrates the Befana a old good witch who delivers sweets to good kids and a lump of coal or dark candy to bad ones.
While spending Christmas in Rome venturing over to the St. Peter Cathedral at some point is a must. Visitors to this endearing landmark in Rome can admire the large Christmas tree in the St. Peter Square, a life size nativity scene that is unveiled on Christmas Eve and hopefully attend the Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. Tickets are required to attend the Mass. Tickets are free. Tickets for the Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica are available at the Prefecture of the Papal Household. If tickets are sold out you can watch the mass on the big video screen in St. Peter’s Square.
Midnight Christmas Mass at the Pantheon includes Gregorian chants and it is a more intimate special event for families who want to have an awe-inspiring experience in Rome while avoiding the Vatican crowds.
Wherever you go for Christmas Eve Mass you should keep in mind that public transportation shuts down early on Christmas Eve. There are taxi but there will be lots of people looking for one. You should opt for a church near your hotel or be prepared to walk. Wear comfortable shoes and warm clothing.
In addition to the decorated Christmas tree at the Vatican in St. Peter Square, three of the largest Christmas trees in Rome are erected at the top of the Spanish in Steps, in Piazza Venezia and next to the Coliseum. Besides most Roman squares have their own lit up Christmas tree, best enjoyed while sampling a big gelato ice cream! Check them all and ask your kids which one is the tallest one and best decorated!
Even though decorated Christmas trees are widespread, the anciest traditional Italian Christmas decoration is by far the nativity scenes AKA il Presepe. This quintessencial Italian Christmas tradion delights children of all ages. In Rome you will find Presepe in any home, church and shop. The most visited nativity scene in Rome it is the open air Presepe in St. Peter’s Square. The traditional nativity scene displayed every Christmas in St. Peter’s Square features life-size figures. Searching for Presepe in Rome can be a fun and interesting activity on Christmas day when most museums are closed.
Another great outdoor Christmas activity in Rome for adults and children is ice-skating. To learn more about visit IceParkWeb.
Being a center of Jewish culture, Rome has no shortage of Hanukkah events to celebrate. The Hanukkah holiday is also known as the Jewish Festival of Lights and lasts eight days (Hanukkah in Rome 2014 goes from Sunset, December 16 to nightfall, December 24). In Rome people gather to watch the lightning of the first candle, celebrating the beginning of Hanukkah in Piazza Barberini where a large Menorrah is erected and one candle is lit each night during the holiday season.
Merry Christmas and I hope this Italy travel guide helps you plan the best Christmas family holiday in Rome!
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