Outdoor Christmas markets are a common element to many parts of Europe during the holiday season. They’re especially typical of Germanic countries, but their popularity has made other countries adopt the tradition, too – including Italy. In Rome, there are a few places where Christmas markets spring up in the weeks before Christmas.
The main Christmas market in Rome takes over the oblong Piazza Navona. During much of the year, this pretty piazza is home to outdoor cafes and vendors selling tourist trinkets, but at Christmastime the square is full of stalls selling Christmas crafts and treats. It’s an excellent place to pick up a toy for the kids or a souvenir tree ornament (which is a lovely way to remember your travels every holiday season back home) or a special food item only available during the holidays. The kids will also enjoy the merry-go-round set up in the middle of the square.
At the Auditorium Parco della Musica, you’ll find not only a Christmas market with vendors selling food products and crafts, but also music and theater performances, ice skating, and games for kids of all ages. The festivities, called “Natale all’Auditorium,” usually begin in early December and run through early January. The Auditorium Parco della Musica is near Rome’s Olympic Village, in the Flaminio neighborhood. Other Christmas villages in Rome happen in Parco Leonardo and at the Tor di Quinto. Both of these have Christmas markets, along with other holiday attractions.
In addition to the markets set up during Christmas in Rome, remember that there are Nativity scenes – Italy’s most common Christmas decoration – set up in squares and churches throughout the city. You’ll also see a few Christmas trees in public places, although these are a more recent import. The city is certainly decked out in its holiday finery, so there will be no mistaking that Christmas is coming.
Looking for something to do on December 25th in The Eternal City? Take a Christmas Day walking tour of Rome!