Rome is always a gorgeous family destination, but during the holiday season is truly something special. With its numerous Christmas markets and authentic Santa villages, the atmosphere at Christmastime becomes light and cheery, as the streets and shops are beautifully decorated.
The Christmas season, which officially starts on December 8th when trees are decorated, is one of my favorite times of year in Rome. Celebrations carry on through January 6th. So if you arrive after Christmas day, you still have a few weeks to enjoy the festive season.
For Romans, the arrival of the holiday season means cooler days and the smell of sweets throughout the city. The magic of Christmas is omnipresent with a number of Christmas Markets and Santa Villages that my kids adore. Now that I am a mother I’m doing my best to share my love of this cherished season with my children. Here are the Christmas activities we love to do year after year:
See the Big Christmas Tree and the Nativity Scene at the Piazza San Pietro
Every year I love to go with my older son to Piazza San Pietro to see the huge tree full of lights and the nativity scene. Traditionally, the main Christmas decoration in Italy is the nativity scene (presepe in Italian) and you can find a presepe in every church. I love taking my kids “churching” to find the most beautiful presepe!
Visit The Christmas Market of Piazza Navona – The Traditional Christmas Market in Rome
Between the festive holiday rides, nativity scene and street performers, this market is fun for the whole family. A must-do experience at Christmas, the market has hot mugs of Vin Brule, stunning Christmas ornaments and an authentic German carousel.
If you really want to get traditionally Italian, do not leave before buying scope scacciaguai (brooms against bad luck) and lucky befane (befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children on her broom throughout Italy on epiphany eve).
From December 2, 2018 to January 6, 2019, in the city center.
Check out the Casa Betania Christmas Market
The traditional Christmas Market of Casa Betania has an array of craft creations made by the mothers of the Solidarity Workshop from all countries, a project of job placement for immigrant women in situations of social hardship.
Come here to find handcrafted bags and accessories, lavender bags, Christmas decorations, wreaths, earthen cribs, decorations made with recycled materials. Do not miss the Christmas baskets, greeting cards (also customizable) and solidarity cups designed by Lorenzo Terranera.
To reach it take Metro A, stop Battistini. Admission is FREE.
Scout out the Christmas Market Talenti, Piazza Primoli
Head to the Talenti district for this elegant Christmas Market and a traditional festive atmosphere. From November 24th to December 23rd, families can enjoy the highly anticipated “Talenti Natalizi,” a program of celebrations for the whole family, all dedicated to Christmas. There is a street dedicated to shopping and the Via del Gusto, outside the “Secret Garden,” decorations, desserts, typical dishes and gourmet dishes, crafts, design and decorations.
Try the Ice Skating Rink at the Auditorium
In the splendid setting of the Auditorium Parco della Musica do not miss the Ice Park ice rink, with events, music, shows, food and attractions. The ice rink is open every day from 10 a.m. to midnight and is a magical place to spend hours immersed in a breathtaking Christmas atmosphere.
Where: Auditorium Parco della Musica – viale Pietro de Coubertin 10
Getting there by tram
2 Piazzale Flaminio /Piazza Mancini
Getting there by underground
Metro A to Flaminio then take tram 2
Ferrovia Roma-Nord to Piazza Euclide
Explore the Fantastic Castle of Santa Claus – Il Fantastico Castello di Babbo Natale
To really immerse your kids in the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus head to this spectacular Santa Village, which includes Santa Claus’s big house, the toy factory (where children can watch elves working on their toys), the workshop of pastry chefs and much more.
Where: Castello di Lunghezza, via Tenuta del Cavaliere, 230 – Rome
When: from November 11th to December 26th 2018, every Saturday, Sunday and public holidays
Price: 14 euros adults, 12 euros children from 3 to 11 years, free for children from 0 to 2 years
Take the train from Rome (ROMA TIBURTINA LINE – TIVOLI). Roma Tiburtina Station – Lunghezza (direction Tivoli), as it arrives directly to the castle.
Have a Ball at the Christmas Village Luneur Park
Luneur is the largest amusement park in Rome and the oldest one still operating in Italy, dating back to 1953.
From December 1st Luneur hosts the most beautiful Christmas experience in the city with sparkling lights, enchanted creatures and lots to entertain children of all ages. Do not miss the real Santa Claus. You can bring your letter and deliver it personally! Santa Claus, flanked by the loyal Folletti and the cute Pepe, the funny little Marzipan, is ready to welcome and fulfill your wishes by taking a souvenir photo with you!
Free admission from December 1st!
How to get there: To get Luneur Park in an economical way, surely the most convenient way is the subway. With line B, in fact, it will be possible to reach 500 meters from the entrance of the park going down to the stop called Eur Magliana.
Experience the Caffeina Christmas village in Viterbo
If you have one day to spend outside Rome, you can’t miss the Caffeina Christmas village in Viterbo!
The Caffeina Christmas Village is an extraordinary Christmas village that from November 23rd to January 6th covers the streets and squares of the beautiful medieval historical center of Viterbo with magic. The world of Santa Claus, the Fantastic Library, the village of the elves, the largest indoor crib in the world, the enchanted theater and the delicious market of great quality will make magical moments live for young and old. For the wonderful roads full of history you can spend hours of pure magic together with the whole family.
You can get the Caffeina Christmas village easily by car or by train:
Line Rome Ostiense – Viterbo. Porta Romana stop (5 minutes walk from Caffeina Christmas Village)
This article was written by Fabiana Calcagno, a Club Bebe Voyage member and a local mom in Rome.