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Christmas markets, called Mercatini di Natale in Italian, tend to be more common in northern European countries.

Rome's Christmas Markets | 2022 Dates, Locations 20

Beginning in the Late Middle Ages in European areas primarily speaking German and what was once the Holy Roman Empire. Nowadays, you won’t find many Christmas markets in Rome as elaborate as the ones in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and France, but there are still many compelling reasons to visit the famed Italian capital during Christmas time.

Rome is one of the most incredible cities in the world. In my opinion, coming to Rome during the winter means less crowds compared to summer. Of all the cities I have been to in the world, nothing is comparable to the Christmas programming that the “Ancient City” offers. Around nearly every corner you can find festive themed pop-up markets, Christmas villages, ice skating rinks, and shop after shop decorated in lights and Christmas theme. 

Rome Christmas Market Locations

For 2022 Christmas season you can find  Mercatini di Natale at the following locations:

• Piazza Navona – The most famous market in Rome. You’ll find local sellers, toys, street musicians and artists, several nativity scenes and amusement rides. All of this is in front of Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers. 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 Mazzini – 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.

• Auditorium Parco Della Musica – Here you will find fair trade products and products of local artists. 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. Opening December 3rd until January 8th. 

• Cinecittà WorldFrom November 12th to January 8th the main street of the Christmas Village of Cinecittà World will be decorated with the wooden houses of the Christmas Market where artisans, shows, music and designer lights will be the protagonists of the most beautiful time of the year. 

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.

Contrary to popular belief, advent wreaths, calendars and counting the Sundays of Advent is not common in Rome during Christmas. Neither do the Romans know about Saint Nicholas (or as he is referred to, Babbo Natale) who visits children in other European countries on the 6th of December. Instead, they’ll have a different visitor on the 6th of January, the witch Befana. This is why children in 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 you can find witches on Christmas markets. Babbo Natale doesn’t look back on a long tradition in Italy.

Nativity scenes in Rome

Unfortunately, another tradition that 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. 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, hundreds of cribs created by international artists from all over the world, have been hosted here. 2018 was the first year in which the exhibition took place in Via di Conciliazione 5 near the Vatican. This exhibition is open from the 8th of December until the 8th of January from 10 am until 8 pm. Admission is free.

Please share with us your pictures and experiences, we want to hear all about your Christmas experience in Rome!


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You just arrived in Italy but you don’t know what else to do for Christmas after visiting the most famous places and monuments? We have 5 activities for you to do this season that you probably didn’t know you could do this year! 

#1 – The Vatican’s Nativity Scenes

Every year, the Vatican City is decorated for Christmas with gorgeous lights and decorations. The Nativity scene and the Christmas tree are usually the focal points. The custom began in 1982 at the Vatican, courtesy to Pope John Paul II, who held that these depictions were “a show of confidence in God.”

5 Things to do in Italy for Christmas Season 2022 21

The creche is shown throughout the Advent season, which lasts four weeks before Christmas. However, the infant Jesus only appears in the manger on Christmas Eve. The scene is taken down in early January on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, i.e. the 12th day of Christmas.

The nativity scene that will be displayed in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican to honor Christmas in 2022 will be from the northern Italian town of Sutrio, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region.

The crib is entirely composed of cedar wood sourced from a sustainable forest. It has a semi-sphere that will serve as a Grotto, displaying the Holy Family. Life-sized figures portraying Sutrio’s traditional craftsmen, such as carpenters, weavers, and crafters, surround them.

The nativity scene will be on display until the Feast of the Lord’s Baptism, which falls on January 8, 2023.

#2 – Florence’s Green Line Festival

The Green Line festival, promoted by the Municipality of Florence and organized by MUS.E, will animate the city of Florence from 7 December 2022 to 8 January 2023 and will have as its central theme the four natural elements – air, water, earth, and fire -, the man-nature relationship, and the connection between heritage and good care.

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Green Line replaces F-Light, the past events that have distinguished Florence during the Christmas season in recent years with video projections, installations, and workshops dedicated to the world of light, engaging the city from the center to the suburbs.

The city’s monuments and squares, from the center to the outskirts, will be transformed into a magical and unforgettable experience for everyone. You can easily go on a round trip to Florence by train so you don’t miss the Green Line festival this year! 

You can learn more about this festival clicking here.

#3 – The Christmas Market in Bolzano

Bolzano is well-known throughout the holiday season for its spectacular Christmas Market! From the end of November until the 6th of January, around eighty exhibitors display everything that creates a Christmas mood, as well as the numerous celebrations that surround it. Bolzano is known as the Italian capital during the Christmas season.

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During Advent, the city is lit up in Christmas colors and music, with hundreds of lights lighting the streets of its historic core and traditional Carols playing in the background. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the ancient city center is transformed into a spectacular citadel of illuminations and decorations.

A hundred little wooden houses sprinkled throughout the squares and alleyways sell the best of South Tyrolean handicrafts, while the Wine Road’s wine vaults welcome guests for a special toast for the adults to have a great time.

Make sure you plan to visit this amazing place during your trip with your family! We guarantee you won’t regret it!

Dates: From 24th November 2022 through 6th January 2023
Location: Piazza Wernher, Bolzano/Bozen, Italy
Opening times: 10:00am to 7:00pm. Reduced hours on the following dates:

24 December: 10.00 – 14.00
25th December: closed
31st December: 10.00 – 18.00
1st January: 12.00 – 19.00

#4 – Christmas Shopping in Milan

Surprise, surprise! Milan is the best spot to spend Christmas in Italy, especially for shoppers 😉 The seasonal decorations at Piazza Duomo and Galleria are a must-see, and they’re also ideal for wrapping off your Christmas shopping. You won’t have more excuses to give presents to your friends and family if you come here!

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You’ll enjoy the Christmas Markets, festivals, plays, and decorations that bring Milan to life around Christmas, and the city’s ambiance becomes something magical. With this charm comes crowds, so plan your trip carefully and dress warmly, as temperatures in the city plummet in December.

We recommend you some of the best places to shop in Milan during Christmas:

• Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
• Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
• Brera District
• Corso Buenos Aires

Even the non-shoppers will appreciate the window displays, midnight mass at the Duomo, the massive Christmas tree there, and the lights at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Castello Sforzesco. 

Just be aware of not forgetting to bring back all the shopping bags back to your room though!

#5 – The Living Nativities in Sicily

A significant and treasured symbol of Sicily during Christmas is the living nativity scene. Many Sicilian villages perched on hills and mountains and surrounded by valleys are ideal locations for performing the living nativity scene: mazes of narrow cobbled streets provide the ideal setting and atmosphere to recreate ancient Bethlehem and the time of Jesus’ birth, while the inhabitants enjoy dressing up and offering local food and wine to visitors, with the sound of the traditional bagpipe in the background.

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Every year, a large number of people enjoy the breathtaking scenes in some villages where faith and nature coexist harmoniously. Here we recommend some towns and cities where you can see the Living Nativity scenes: 

• Castanea (Messina): is located on the hills of Messina. Every Christmas, Castanea transforms into the setting for one of the most popular and magnificent living nativity scenes in Sicily.

• Gangi (Palermo): in 2014, Gangi was named the most beautiful Italian village.

• Ispica: located in South-Eastern Sicily, following an itinerary from the historical center to the famous location of “Cava d’Ispica,” a very spectacular ancient site where the nativity scene is placed.

In Ancient Sicily communities, Christmas means not just real nativity scenes, but also other major traditional representations known as Pastorali, which are religious dramas popular in Sicily in the XVII and XVIII centuries. They are now rather prevalent in the Sicilian interior towns of Agrigento and Caltanissetta. The term pastorali refers to the figure of the shepherds, who, according to Christian tradition, were the first to see newborn Jesus because of their simplicity and humility.

We hope these places catch  your attention and that we picked your curiosity to see them by yourself this year. Please send us your pictures when you visit and let us know your experience by tagging us with our socials or via email at [email protected]

Also, if you want to see more events coming up in Rome to know more about the traditions or expats like you, just click here! 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year 2023!

Another weekend  in Rome with the summer heat upon us! If you go to the beach, it’s just outside Rome and you can discover some villages (why not!),  Take the train to Ostia  that you can find at Metro B Picramide and and get off at Ostia Antica! Or stay in the city with all kind of things to do in the open air!  Visit some interesting exhibitions, or discover the cultural and gastronomic events scheduled in the city this weekend.

Here are the events not to be missed on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of May in Rome:

Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 May will be another weekend full of events not to be missed. The capital is experiencing a real rebirth after the months of restrictions. Culture, art, food have exploded into the Roman streets with a varitey of entertainment for everyone.

From food markets to craft markets and oriental cultures, from festivals dedicated to good food and good drink, to classical and pop music that lights up the city. Over the weekend hundreds of historic and contemporary buildings in Rome open and it ends with a dance at the Palladium Theater.

Peace concert in Piazza del Popolo

What to do the weekend of 21st and 22nd of May in Rome 33

On Saturday 21 May,  “Play Music Stop War” an event with free admission. A strong message through music aimed at supporting humanitarian work and welcoming refugees from Ukraine promoted by Community of Sant’Egidio.

From 19:30, beloved artists and bands will preform, coming from different musical scenes, but firmly united for the same noble cause, they will join their voice to demand an end to the war in Ukraine and every war in the belief  that there is no future without a foundations for peace.  ( Find full info here)

15th anniversary of the Japanese Market

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The Japanese Market celebrates its 15 years on Saturday and Sunday, with a full fun program. The splendid and large industrial spaces of the Capannelle Hippodrome will frame a unique journey through the sounds, smells and atmospheres typical of the Rising Sun. A large market exhibition with over 100 exhibitors selected for an out-of-the-box shopping proposal. It ranges from typical Japanese crafts to the greener proposals of bonsai, kokedama and terrarium, the creative crafts of ceramics, origami, kimonos and kokeshi as well as a wide selection of manga, gadgets and typical products of Japanese comics & game culture. ( Find full info here)

Spring Beer Festival

What to do the weekend of 21st and 22nd of May in Rome 35

The Spring Beer Festival returns to Rome from 19 to 22 May. It’s free admission dedicated to Italian craft beers will be held at Città dell’Altra Economia, in the premises of the former slaughterhouse in the Testaccio district. The theme of this new edition is “let’s go back to the party” with Brewer companies and friends. 20 Italian breweries have been selected.  There are also things for children believe or not!  ( Find full info here)

Giovanni Truppi in concert at the Auditorium

What to do the weekend of 21st and 22nd of May in Rome 36

After the on stage performance the Ariston with Your father, my mother, Lucia, the piece in competition at the 72nd Sanremo Festival, and with Nella Mia ora di Libertà, a piece by Fabrizio De André interpreted in a duet with Vinicio Capossela and participation in surprise of Mauro Pagani, Giovanni Truppi will be on tour with “Tutto l’iverso”, and will make a stop in Rome on Sunday 22 May, at the Auditorium Parco della Musica.  ( Find full info here)

Aperol Spritz Festival

What to do the weekend of 21st and 22nd of May in Rome 37

Aperol Spritz Festival returns to the Auditorium Parco della Musica from 20th to 22nd of May. Three evenings of fun, in which the unmistakable orange aperitif signed Aperol Spritz will be the star for the night! The suggestive location will be tinged with orange together with 15 Aperol bartenders, installations, gadgets and entertainment. for three days full of initiatives.  ( Find full info here)

Festa dell’Amatriciana with Eat Italy

Amatriciana, one of the most famous pasta Roman dishes! Eataly Roma pays homage with an exclusive event. From Friday 20 to Sunday 22 May the third floor of the Roman store will host “La Festa della Amatriciana”: a long weekend in which Amatrice’s recipe will be savored in the most varied and tasty variations. Classic proposals and delicious variations will tickle the palate of all participants. ( Find full info here)

Feast of the arrosticino among 400 thousand flower bulbs

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An area with 400 thousand wonderful bulbs of Italian anemones, buttercups, roses, horned violets in the heart of Rome, presents the Arrosticino Festival over the weekend. The typical Abruzzo dish will, in fact, be the protagonist among the wonders of the Rome Flowers Park. In addition to the Arrosticini, you can have lunch in the well-stocked restaurant, where you will find first courses, main courses and typical side dishes of the Roman tradition, also available for celiac. ( Find full info here)


BBQ universe: around the world through the grills

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Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 May, in the large garden of Eur Social Park, you can enjoy the barbecues of the world. American, Japanese, Greek, Italian BBQ, specifically an ancient Lazio recipe and a traditional one from Puglia, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil. In addition to food, there will be shows, courses, show cooking and space for children. (Find full info here)

Roman cuisine festival

What to do the weekend of 21st and 22nd of May in Rome 40

At AgriPark, the park of the Agriculture Nuova organic farm in Via Castel di Leva, it will be a weekend dedicated to Roman cuisine, the real, traditional and popular one. A tribute to the typical dishes with a unique and unmistakable flavor appreciated all over the world. Cooks and restaurateurs will face off with carbonara, amatriciana, cheese and pepper, gricia, porchetta d’Ariccia, oxtail, tripe, offal and lamb.  (Find full info here)


Open House Roma

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On 21 and 22 May, “Open House Roma” returns, the event that celebrates design and architecture in the capital by opening hundreds of historic and contemporary buildings to the public free of charge. A special weekend that will offer Romans and tourists the opportunity to discover the most interesting details of our architectural heritage, with events also designed for people with visual and hearing impairments. Among the novelties of this year, the unpublished tour of the architecture of Ostia, the most interesting construction sites in the city, historical and special places of ancient Rome such as the Pyramid of Cestius and unique engineering works such as the Atac garage. (Find full info here)

Vivaldi The Four Seasons

What to do the weekend of 21st and 22nd of May in Rome 42

The Accademia di Santa Cecilia Orchestra presents Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd. The concert will feature the American Gil Shaham, one of the greatest violinists on the current scene, in the dual role of conductor and violinist. Nominated “Instrumentist of the Year” by Musical America magazine in 2021, Shaham has created a program for the Cecilian public that alternates the famous Four Seasons with rarely performed pieces. (Find full info here)

“The Spring Festival” at the Triumphal Market

On Friday 20 and Saturday 21 May at the Mercato Trionfale in Rome, 5 artisans and ethical producers have decided to organize “The Spring Festival” to make their products known to the general public that attends the historic market in Prati. From 12 to 14 it will be possible to taste the proposals created by Giovale Formaggi, Bottega Gamberoni, Piccola Bottega Merenda, Fattoria Pulicaro and Fattoria Faraoni in a dynamic and fun tasting open to all and free. (Find full info here)

Artisans on display at Palazzo Colonna

What to do the weekend of 21st and 22nd of May in Rome 43

Last appointment before summer, Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 May, with Artisans on display in the Coffee House of Palazzo Colonna located in Piazza SS. Apostoli 67, a few steps from Piazza Venezia. It will be possible to purchase creations by selected creatives of high craftsmanship, in particular a selection of fashion accessories dedicated to next summer, in a truly unique and exclusive context, extraordinarily open to the public with free access for the occasion. (Find full info here)

The Farmer’s Market on Tour conquers Cinecittà Est

On Sunday 22 May, the Rome and Castelli Romani Farmers’ market will not take place, as usual, at the Capannelle Hippodrome, but, by popular demand of the citizens of Cinecittà Est, it will debut in the green area at Via di Torre Spaccata 107 , crossing Viale Bruno Pelizzi (behind the Cinecittà studios). Among the market stalls, many tastings of organic and typical products, with Igp, Doc and Dop certification, fruit and vegetables, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, buffalo mozzarella and much more. (Find full info here)

The Last appointment of Orbita, the dance season at the Palladium Theater

On 21 May at the Palladium Theater with the last appointment of Orbita, the dance season directed by Spellbound which intends to map the leading realities of contemporary dance. On stage two works by the choreographer of Serbian origin, but based in Amsterdam, Dunja Jocic, already awarded with the prestigious VSCD Zwaan in 2021, who presents the short film Bird in Rome, directed together with director Marinus Groothof and, in national premiere, The Previous Owner, a show that explores the theme of transhumanism. (Find full info here)

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