So now that I’ve told you about all the things that are closed, you may be wondering what to do on Christmas Day in Rome.
Here’s a list of things we know Romans do on Christmas day:
Walk around the city center, soaking up the lights and atmosphere, from via Veneto to via del Corso.
Head to Piazza Navona and enjoy the piazza’s special look and feel this time of year.
Even if there is not the same huge Christmas market there as in years past, it’s still a festive atmosphere. This is especially nice if you have kids, as there are games, a Santa, a carousel, and lots of lights.
Take the bus to the Gianicolo hill and get a bird’s eye view of Rome from there.
There is another carousel here for kids, too.
Visit any number of churches and see the presepi, or Nativity Scenes.
Go to St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican at noon, and watch Pope Frances give his Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi speech.
The Pope appears at the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica and blesses the crowd. (He only does this one other time each year, at Easter.) You don’t need tickets but expect large crowds.
Have a big Roman Christmas lunch out at a restaurant.
Make it last at least 3 hours (this is quite the Roman thing to do. But you have to book in advance!)
See a concert at Rome’s Auditorium.
On December 25, 2017 at 6pm, there will be a Gospel Festival, how fun!
ROME AT CHRISTMAS – EXHIBITS OPEN CHRISTMAS DAY
Italian state museums and sites, like the Colosseum, Galleria Borghese and Castel Sant’Angelo; and Rome museums, such as the Capitoline Museums are all closed Christmas Day (but open the 26th.) They also have shorter hours on the 24th, so check before you go.
If you are interested in seeing an art exhibit, the following are open on Christmas Day 2017.
From October 19 2017 through February 2018, don’t miss this special exhibit of Monet paintings at the Complesso del Vittoriano. There will be over 60 works from the Parisian Musée Marmottan Monet, by the father of Impressionism, many from home at Giverny.
Advance booking highly recommended for this popular exhibit.
Picasso – between Cubism and Classicism, 1915 – 1925. From September 22 – January 2018.
Scuderie del Quirinale, Via XXIV Maggio.
This exhibit will be open on all holiday dates, including Christmas and New Years!
CHIOSTRO DEL BRAMANTE
Enjoy – Art Meets Amuseument – at the beautiful Chiostro del Bramante, now through February 2018.
The Chiostro del Bramante is behind Piazza Navona.
This museum will be open on all holiday dates, including Christmas and New Years!
Check out this extraordinary collection of I Grandi Maestri. 100 Anni di fotografia Leica (great masters, 100 years of Leica photography), with more than 350 original vintage prints by renowned photographers.
WHERE TO SEE THE LIGHTS IN ROME AT CHRISTMAS
Until only a few years ago, lighting up streets, homes and buildings was not part of the Christmas tradition in Italy. Neither were Christmas trees, which are originally a Northern European tradition.
Now, Rome at Christmas is awash in lights and decorations. Certainly just walking around the city center is a fun thing to do during the holidays in Rome.
The best streets/areas include the area around the Spanish Steps, via del Corso, via dei Coronari, Trastevere, and Piazza Navona, even with a diminished Christmas Market there.
After a day of sightseeing in Rome and Trastevere the best place to rest is placed in Trastevere; HOSTEL TRUSTEVER located in Via Francesco Benaglia, 13.