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Rome at Christmas: Top 5 Things to do in 2021

Posted on November 29th, 2021

by Expat Living in Rome

#1 Visit the Christmas Markets

Ice skating in December at the Christmas market in the Auditorium Parco della Musica or eating traditional Italian Christmas sweets at Mercatino di Natale di Roma Piazza Caprera 2021.

Rome’s Christmas markets are a joy to behold and the perfect day out for families and friends. 

This year’s Christmas market in Rome, with it’s northern tradition look, you will see the presence of some Nordic chalets type stands.  Piazza Caprera, is one of the most beautiful Umbertine squares in Rome, with it’s enchanted scenery and the magical atmosphere of Christmas. In the evening, the slightly dim lights illuminates the stands.

Without much further ado, here is a list of the top 4 Christmas markets in Rome in 2021:

#1 Natale Auditorium at the Auditorium Parco della Musica 

Let’s ring in the festive season with a visit to the Natale Auditorium. This small but charming Christmas market has over 30 stalls featuring food from various Italian regions, artisan works and hand-crafted gifts. However, the unmissable highlight of this market is without a doubt the ice rink. A perfect day out for some Christmas shopping and a spin on the ice.

Dates: 4 th of December – 6 th of January 2022
Where: Viale Pietro De Coubertin, 30 (Parioli)
Further information: Visit website

#2 Christmas Land in Rome

Rome at Christmas: Top 5 Things to do in 2021 1

Every year in December, the Vintage market (known as V-market) turns festive. Christmas Land has truly earned its name with over 200 exhibitors spread out over a space of 6000 square meters. This market has something for everyone: a children’s area (by Tauccine’s bookshop), Buba’s vintage for those who want to go vintage shopping, a farmer’s market with a 0 km policy for foodies and much more.

Entry fee: 3€ (free for children up to 12 years)
Dates: 4-5, 11-12, 18-19 December
Opening hours: 10am – 8pm
WHERE: Former Atac Depot in Piazza Ragusa, entrance via Tuscolana 179
Further information:  vintage market roma

3. VILLAGGIO DI NATALE in Cinecittà World

This Christmas village in Cinecittà World is a perfect day out for families. The village opens at 11am with a Christmas show featuring tunes such as Jingle Bells and Christmas carols. Inside the village are many different attractions for the whole family, such as Christmas face painting for the children, a virtual rollercoaster that allows guests to ride on Santa's sleigh to deliver gifts to children all over the world and the ice kingdom, the only indoor snow park in Italy.

From the afternoon until the evening, the most beautiful Christmas film scenes will be projected on a wall of water in the Piazza del Parco. Lastly, at 5pm in theatre one a live musical show will be held to celebrate the most magical time of the year with the whole cast of singers and dancers in the park.

Dates: From the 6 th of November onwards
Opening hours: 11am to 7pm (recommended to arrive before 11am

#4. Mercatino di Natale di Roma Piazza Caprera

This wonderful Christmas market is known for its great selection of traditional Italian Christmas sweets. Piazza Caprera is one of the most beautiful Umbertine squares in Rome with its enchanted scenery and the magical atmosphere of the Christmas market. This year’s market will feature some Nordic chalet type stalls.

Date: TBA

#2 Watch the Nutcracker in the Teatro dell ‘opera 

What would  Christmas be without The Nutcracker at the Teatro dell ‘opera in Rome

A sparkling festive treat for the whole family, the famous ballet composed by Tchaikovsky tells the story of Clara, who is gifted an enchanted nutcracker doll. At the stroke of midnight, a magical adventure awaits Clara and her nutcracker. 

Starting with the first performance on the 19th  of December and running until the 2nd of January 2022, this is an unmissable ballet for the whole family (and a good introduction for young children to the magic of ballet) in the beautiful Teatro Constanci in Rome. 

Tickets (17€ – 75€) can be bought online, on the phone or at the ticket office at the Teatro dell ‘opera. 

More information on where to buy the tickets at: Operaroma.it 

#3 Watch the lighting of the tree on the 8th of December and the Christmas mass at the Vatican 

Every year since 1982 a Christmas tree is decorated (with 600 wooden decorations, handcrafted by Andalo artisans and low energy consumption lighting) and erected on St. Peter’s Square, as part of the Christmas festivities.   


The tree itself is donated from all over Europe, with the first one in 1982 hailing from the Alban Hills in Italy, and according to the Vatican is sourced with sustainability in mind. 

Each year a lighting of the Christmas scene takes place in St. Peter’s Square, where the tree and the nativity scene are lit. This years nativity scene, for the first time, comes from the Andes and will feature traditional Chopcca costumes, alpacas, vicunas and the Andean condor, Peru’s national symbol.

This year’s ceremony will take place on December 10th and start at 5pm in the evening. It is recommended to turn up at least an hour early to secure a good spot to watch the lighting of the Christmas scene. 

The Christmas mass in the stunning St. Peter’s Basilica is the most watched Christmas mass around the world and it is truly a spectacle to behold. 

Starting at 9.30pm on the 24th of December and not as the name implies at midnight, it is a free event for the lucky ones, who are able to get a ticket. 

How can you get a ticket? 

 1. Fill out this form. 2. Send it via fax to the following number: +39 06 698 85863 

(The Vatican recommends to request the tickets around two to six months in advance. Those who request less than 6 tickets have a higher chance of approval of their request. Those who need more than 6 tickets, it would be best that you send a letter from your parish or some authority of the church along with the request.) 

1. You will receive a letter from the Vatican confirming, that they have received your request. This is not a ticket confirmation!

2. Head to the Preffetura Office 3-5 days before the mass, between 8 AM to 6 PM, to know the status of your ticket. There you will either receive the tickets or a letter stating that there is no availability.

What to do, if you have not been able to get a ticket? 

Don’t worry you can always try next year and in the meantime, the Christmas midnight mass will be livestreamed on St. Peter’s Square. 

No matter, whether you have tickets for the mass inside the St. Peter’s basilica or are going to watch it outside in the square, arrive early, as it does get crowded.

#4 Christmas nativity scenes 

Christmas nativity scenes have a long tradition in Italy and in December you will be able to find them in about every church and at some of the piazzas around Rome. 

One of the most famous ones is the nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square. This year coming from the Andes and featuring traditional Andean elements, such as alpacas, traditional Chopcca costumes and much more. 

Other nativity scenes are on display in Piazza del Campidoglio, Piazza di Spagna and Piazza del Popolo.

Another exhibition not to be missed is the International Exhibition “100 Presipi” featuring 100 different nativity scenes. Running from the 5th of December to the 9th of January. This free exhibition can be found in the Colonnades of St. Peter’s Square (can’t be missed, there are two big banners showing where the entrance is).

#5  Rome Expats Misfits Christmas Dinner

On Friday December 24th from 19:00 to 23:00, Misfits Christmas Eve Dinner. Cost: €25 a person. Traditional Christmas Dinner & Open bar + deserts! Reservations required via email info@expatslivinginrome.com

Are you in Rome alone for the holidays or Christmas?  

Every year even before the pandemic #RomeExpats here for the holidays come together. If you are here for the holidays then join other Expats & Locals in our WHATSAPP CHAT. Enter chat and introduce yourself and also add which area you are in so others know if they are close by or not. You can suggest a meetup or attend a meetup organized by us or someone in the chat. 


By Sarah Grunenberg 


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