13. December 2018

Christmas Rome 2018: Christmas markets 2018 in Rome

Christmas markets in Rome are part of the festive Christmas program in the Italian capital. One of the best things about Christmas is visiting a traditional Christmas market and taste culinary specialities. Here you will find out about the most beautiful Christmas markets in Rome and which ones you should not miss!

christmas-rome

Christmas markets 2018 in Rome: Tips & Information about Christmas markets in Rome

Advent wreaths, advent calendars and counting the Sundays of Advent is not at all common in Rome during Christmas. Neither do they know about Saint Nicholas who visits children in other European countries on the 6th of December. But instead, there are many other Christmas traditions and customs in Rome that I am going to tell you about in this article. Mostly I will talk about Christmas markets which you can visit in Rome during Christmas season.

Visit Christmas markets in Rome: The most beautiful Christmas markets in Rome

The Christmas markets in Rome take place on different squares and near different attractions. Even though Rome doesn’t really know winter temperatures, with all the Christmas illuminations and Christmas decorations you will still get this special Christmas feeling in Rome. On some Christmas markets you can find vintage carousels and since most markets are located next to famous attractions there is a special atmosphere on Roman Christmas markets.

In Rome, there are no traditional Christmas markets as you might know them from home. Since Romans are used to warmer temperatures many Christmas markets are not outdoors but in tents. You probably find stalls which resemble flea markets more than traditional Christmas markets. You can find anything from books to jewellery. Although, a few Christmas markets also offer Christmassy products. In the following you will find a list about the most beautiful Christmas markets in Rome, including their location and operating hours:

1. Christmas market in Rome: Christmas market at Piazza Navona in Rome

The Roman Christmas market at Piazza Navona is one of the most famous markets in Rome. You can find local sellers, toys, street musicians and artists, several nativity scenes and amusement rides. All that in front of Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers and the church Saint Agnes in Agone. The Christmas market’s stalls at Piazza Navona are open from the 8th of December until the 6th of January. During the week you can shop here from 10 am until 1am, on the weekends the market is open until 2 am.

Piazza Navona Christmas Puppet Show

 

Piazza Navona in Rome is easily accessible, several bus lines including the lines 30, 46, 62, 64, 70, 82, 492 and 916 lead to the square.

2. Christmas market in Rome: Christmas market at Piazza Mazzini

The Christmas market at Piazza Mazzini is famous for its stalls selling Italian candy, toys and typical Christmas decoration and Christmas lights. The Christmas market opens on the 8th of December and ends with Christmas Eve, the 24th of December.

Christmas Market Piazza Mazzini Rome

You can reach the Christmas market at Piazza Re di Roma by metro line A at the metro station with the same name: Re di Roma, or by taking on of the buses of the lines 590, 649, 650 or 671.

3. Christmas market in Rome: Christmas market Mercato Monti in Rome

Frankly, the Mercato Monti is actually not a Christmas market, but a market that is open all year long. During Christmas season the number of sellers and stalls doubles. For Romans, the Mercato Monti is a popular place to look for Christmas gifts.

The Mercato Monti is open every weekend, during Christmas season but as well throughout the rest of the year, from 10 am until 8 pm. The bus lines 40, 60, 64, 70, 75 and 117 as well as metro line B (metro station Cavour) will bring you to the market.

4. Christmas market in Rome: Christmas market at the Auditorium in Rome

The Christmas market at the Auditorium in Rome is worth a visit as you will find fair trade products and products of local artists. Here you can also go ice skating. Next to the ice rink you can find a nice bar. More food stands and shops are inside the gallery of the Auditorium. The Auditorium is some kind of concert hall with several events taking place throughout the year.

Auditorium ice rink Rome

This Roman Christmas market opens on the 8th of December and closes on the 6th of January. Stalls are operating every day from noon until 8 pm. The Auditorium in Rome is located near Via Flaminia which you can reach by tram line 2 at the station Flaminia/Reni.

5. Christmas market in Rome: Christmas market at the EUR district

Between Via Oceano Pacifico and Via della Grande Muraglia, this market offers creative workshops, children entertainment, contests, local products and in addition to the Santa Claus house, you will find the Magic Tree Happy Christmas dedicated to John Lennon in which everyone can hang a thought or a wish.

The Christmas market is open from the 19th of November to until the 27th of December from 10 am to 7 pm. To get to the market you can take the metro lines B and B1 and get off at the metro station Fermi and then take one of the following buses: 070, 700 or 709 and get off at the station Colombo/Pacifico. Then you will have to walk for about 1,4 km. On your way you will pass the shopping mall Euroma2. It is one of the biggest malls in Rome. You will finds shops and fast food restaurants on 3 floors. 

Christmas in Rome: Christmas traditions and customs in Rome and Italy

Information about Christmas traditions in Rome

For Christmas in Rome as elsewhere in Italy, it is tradition to decorate the Christmas tree with the whole family. The day which is dedicated to decorate the Christmas tree is the 8th of December. On the 8th of December Christmas season officially starts. On this day the streets in Rome are being decorated, the first Christmas trees will be put up in front of monuments and attractions and the first hot wines will be available on Christmas markets.

Italian children won’t see Saint Nicholas on the 6th of December, as do children in other European countries. Instead, they’ll have a different visitor on the 6th of January, the witch ‚Befana‘. This is why children in Rome and Italy used to receive their Christmas gifts on the 6th of January, and not, as common in other European countries, on Christmas Eve or the 25th of December. This is also the reason why nowadays you can find witches on Christmas markets. Santa Claus, Baby Natale in Italian, doesn’t look back on a long tradition in Italy.

Information about nativity scenes in Rome

Another tradition that unfortunately has almost been lost over the years is installing the crib and adding the statuette of baby Jesus after midnight on the 24th of December. During the Christmas season Romans love to visit the many nativity scenes scattered throughout the city. An absolute must is a visit to the International Exhibition ‘100 Presepi’ in Rome. Since 1976 this site hosts hundreds of cribs from all over the world, the work of international artists. 2018 is the first year in which the exhibition takes place in Via di Conciliazione 5 near the Vatican. This exhibition is open from the 7th of December until the 13th of January from 10 am until 8 pm. Admission is free.

piazza-del-popolo-view-from-pincian-hill-in-rome

Every parish puts up their own nativity scenes and many apartment and building entries are lovely decorated with nativity scenes. In some communities close to the city of Rome you might even find nativity scenes with live performers and live animals.

St Peter's Rome Christmas

 

Don’t miss out on St Peter’s Square during Christmas season! On the 7th of December the nativity scene on St Peter’s Square is officially inaugurated and remains illuminated until the 8th of January. The nativity scene in 2018 is formed from sand blocks delivered from Jesolo. Jesolo is known for its sand sculpture festival. Four artists from the USA, Russia, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic will start work from mid-November to create the approximately 8-meter-high work of art from around a thousand cubic meters of sand. The Christmas tree 2018 comes from the Dolomites in the province of Pordenone. You should definitely go and see its beautiful decorations! St Peter’s Square is open to the public day and night, you can come whenever you like.

St. Peter's Basilica without waiting

If you want to combine the visit of St Peter’s Square with the visit of St Peter’s Basilica, you should buy tickets in advance, because St Peter’s Basilica is one of the most popular attractions during Christmas season.

More information about Christmas customs in Rome

Christmas Eve is the evening of the expectation of the birth of Jesus Christ. Families usually go to church to see the Christmas Mass. Afterwards there won’t be a huge feast, but rather a simple dinner with fish. The 25th of December is the most important Christmas holiday in Rome. Here you can find out more about Christmas traditions and customs and whether restaurants, shops, museums and attractions are open in Rome during Christmas:

More information about Christmas in Rome

(picture: © hotelinteriordesigns.eu)

4 Reader Comments

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  1. Karol Jimenez Pagano says:

    Hello,

    What day in December does the Christmas market open in Piazza Navona?

    • Denise says:

      Hi Karol, at the moment they are about to install the Christmas market, apparently – if everything is going well – the market will open on december 7th.

  2. Ellie M. says:

    Dear Sirs,
    My son and I would like to attend the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. Dec. 24 2017. Is it too late to be considered to enter ?
    Thank you for your kind attention.

    All my best,
    Ellie

  3. M G says:

    This is my first time in rome. I am very disappointed since one of the reasons was to see the christmas market in piazza navona which unfortunately is not yet open and yr site says it opens on 8th dec. So next time pls update.

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