Rome for the Holidays

Wondering what to do in the Eternal City during the holidays? Let your favorite Christmas carol inspire your itinerary!

Wondering what to do in the Eternal City during the holidays? Let your favorite Christmas carol inspire your itinerary! 

If your favorite Christmas song isRockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
You should…Go on a tour of Rome’s spectacular pines.

Nothing says Christmas to you like a towering, lavishly adorned tree, topped with a glittering star. Get rockin’ around Rome’s Christmas trees with stops at the city’s most magical alberi. A jaunt all the way down Via del Corso will lead you to Piazza Venezia’s towering, 30-meter tall spruce, trimmed with over 40,000 LED lights sure to ignite the holiday spirit. St. Peter’s Square also hosts a magnificent, larger-than-life pine, which is traditionally gifted to the Pope from a different European nation every year (2015’s tree comes from Bavaria). And if the sight of a tannenbaum sets your heart a flutter, don’t miss the Colosseum’s majestic Christmas tree!

If your favorite Christmas song isWe wish you a Merry Christmas
You should…Eat Italy’s version of figgy pudding.

Most famous for its jovial refrain of calls for figgy pudding, We Wish you a Merry Christmas is undoubtedly every foodie’s preferred Christmas tune. Though you can’t find Britain’s holiday cake in the bel paese, Italy’s classic Christmas desserts are abundant this time of year. Look for panettone, a sweet bread studded with candied orange and raisins, or pandoro, a tall, star-shaped cake dusted with a generous helping of powdered sugar. While almost every Roman bakery will offer these confections in December, Pasticceria Regoli (Via dello Statuto, 60) has them down to an art.

If your favorite Christmas song isAway in a Manger
You should…Explore Rome’s nativity scenes.

Pay homage to your Christmas carol of choice with a visit to the Eternal City’s presepi, or nativities. Piazza del Popolo is the venue for the 40th annual “100 Presepi,” a delightful display of one hundred interpretations of the manger scene that come from all over the globe. Hoping to purchase your own nativity? Stop by Savelli Gallery (Via della Conciliazione, 47) across the street from St. Peter’s Basilica and pick out a new family heirloom.

If your favorite Christmas song is… The 12 Days of Christmas
You should…Take off on a holiday shopping spree.

This classic Christmas melody is all about giving and getting gifts, your favorite part of the season. Get presents for everyone on your Christmas list with a shopping marathon throughout the Capital. Is your sister a high-maintenance fashionista? Prepare your wallet and head to Via dei Condotti, a glamorous street packed with luxury brands like Fendi, Gucci, and Roberto Cavalli. Looking for something for your foodie father? Volpetti (Via Marmorata, 47) stocks truffle cheese, 15-year old balsamic vinegar, and red wine-infused salami, guaranteed to get him smiling on Christmas morning. Got a boyfriend who's a bookworm? Find that novel he’s been talking about at Almost Corner Bookstore (Via del Moro, 45) or Feltrinelli International (Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, 86).

If your favorite Christmas song isWinter Wonderland
You should…Seek out Rome’s ice-skating rink.

The bad news? Rome’s mild climate means we rarely ever see a white Christmas. The good news? You can recreate a wintery wonderland with a spin around Auditorium Parco della Musica’s ice-skating rink, opened just for the holidays. And while you won’t find snow glistening on tree branches, the city does feature displays of gorgeous, glimmer-y lights that make the city feel magical. See them on Via del Corso, Via dei Coronari, and Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina.