Natale • Rome

From: Rome Festivals and Events 2012 - 2013

See also: Vatican CitySt Peter's Basilica

Christmas (Natale) in Rome is a very special occasion and has notable events taking place within Vatican City which include Mass on Christmas Day and the Popes "Urbi et Orbi" blessing at 12 noon on Christmas Day.

During Christmas Eve the Pope delivers Midnight Mass within St Peter's Basilica an auspicious occasion which is also enjoyed by a hundreds of people who pack out St Peter's Square to watch the service on a big screen located within the square, there is also a huge Christmas tree and a enormous nativity scene within the square adding to the festive Christmas feel of the square.

An alternative Christmas Eve venue is at the Pantheon, a legendry location in its own rite but one which has become ever popular especially with families who come to enjoy midnight Mass in this special location. The church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli is also a superb location during Christmas Eve and is where visitors can enjoy walking up 124 candlelit steps that lead to the church and have the chance to view the highly decorated figure of the Holy Child Jesus (Santo Bambino), who can only be viewed on Christmas Eve during this ceremony before being returned to his private chapel within the church.

Throughout the city you will be able to enjoy various nativity scenes and one of the oldest can be found at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and which is permanently located in their museum. While other nativity scenes include St Peter's Square and Piazza Navona.

The streets and many of the shops are decorated with Christmas themes and there are no shortage of Christmas present ideas and decorations.

The vast Christmas Market within the Piazza Navona is a popular affair and has no end of stalls selling decorations such as wreaths, Christmas stocking, toys and nativity figures. There is plenty of entertainment for children which in the past has included a balloon stands, a carousel as well the chance to meet Santa Clause (Babbo Natale). There is also no shortage of festive cuisine which varies from sweets to roasted chestnuts adding to the sights and smell of this festive holiday.

Travel Guide
There is plenty of public transport available to take you to popular Christmas destinations, however late at night you may need to pre book a taxi to take you home late at night over the Christmas holiday.