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Christmas escape to the Eternal City

A Guide to Spending a Magical Christmas in Rome

As the holiday season approaches, many people start planning their festive getaways. If you’re looking for an unforgettable winter escape, consider spending your Christmas holidays in the eternal city of Rome. With its stunning architecture, rich history, and delicious cuisine, Rome is a truly magical destination during the festive season.

The lead-up to Christmas in Rome is filled with delightful traditions that will transport you back in time. One of the most beloved customs is the lighting of the Christmas tree, which takes place on Piazza Venezia on December 7th each year. The tree stands proudly against the backdrop of the Capitoline Hill and is decorated with twinkling lights and festive ornaments.

Another must-see event during the Christmas season in Rome is the Presepi Viventi, or Living Nativity scenes. These scenes are reenactments of the biblical story of Jesus’ birth, complete with live actors dressed in period costumes, animals, and traditional music. The scenes take place throughout the city, but some of the most popular ones can be found at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli.

One of the most magical experiences during the Christmas season in Rome is visiting the city’s many churches, which are decorated with stunning nativity scenes and intricate decorations. The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, for example, is renowned for its elaborate nativity scene, complete with a life-sized baby Jesus lying in a manger surrounded by animals.

If you’re feeling hungry after all that sightseeing, be sure to sample some of Rome’s traditional Christmas dishes. These include panettone, a sweet bread loaf filled with dried fruit and raisins, and tortellini en brodo, small dumplings filled with cheese and spinach served in a hot chicken broth.

When it comes to accommodations during the festive season, there’s no shortage of luxurious options in Rome. One popular choice is the Hotel Raphael, which offers stunning views of the Piazza Navona and features elegant rooms decorated with classic Italian furnishings. For a more budget-friendly option, consider staying at the Hotel Santa Maria, located just steps from the Colosseum and offering comfortable rooms at affordable prices but have have chosen another option.

Piazza Navona – Christmas eve

Our trip to Rome at Christmas

As I sit down to pen down our unforgettable three-day sojourn in the Eternal City of Rome with my two beloved children, a lump forms in my throat, and my heart swells with gratitude for this blessed experience. Our journey began a day before Christmas Eve as we landed at Fiumicino Airport, eagerly anticipating the magic that awaited us in this ancient city.

Our accommodation was just a stone’s throw away from Tiburtina Metro Station, which proved to be an excellent base for our explorations. The weather was mild and pleasant, and we couldn’t have asked for better timing as there were no crowds at the iconic landmarks we visited.

The Fountain of Trevi at Christmas

Day one was dedicated to discovering two of Rome’s most renowned attractions- the Fountain of Trevi and the Colosseum. Our little ones were thrilled to toss their coins into the watery expanse of the fountain, making a wish for our future travels.

Colosseum, Rome, Winter

Next, we delved into the fascinating history of the ancient Roman amphitheatre, which was once the site of gladiatorial contests and animal hunts. The children were mesmerized by the grandeur and scale of this architectural marvel, and we spent hours exploring every nook and cranny.

On our second day, we headed to St Peter’s Basilica, a magnificent edifice that left us breathless with its intricate artwork and soaring ceilings. The kids were in awe of Michelangelo’s Pieta sculpture, which depicts the Virgin Mary holding the lifeless body of Jesus Christ. We also visited St Peter’s Square, where the children marveled at the towering obelisk that has stood for centuries.

St Peter’s Basilica

The third and final day was dedicated to discovering lesser-known gems of Rome. Our first stop was St Luigi De Francia, a humble church that houses some of Caravaggio’s most breathtaking paintings. The children were fascinated by the vivid colors and dramatic scenes depicted in these masterpieces.

Caravaggio’s most breathtaking paintings

Next on our itinerary was the Pantheon, an ancient temple that has been standing for over 2000 years! Its grandeur left us speechless as we gazed up at its awe-inspiring dome. Our final stop was St Angel Churs, where we savored the delights of Italian cuisine and indulged in some delicious gelato.

Pantheon at night , Christmas

As we pack our bags to return home, we cannot help but feel grateful for this magical experience that has enriched us beyond measure. We look forward to returning to Rome in the summer when the sun shines bright, and the city is alive with the warmth of the Mediterranean. Until then, our memories will continue to inspire us as we reminisce about the wonders we’ve witnessed in this timeless city.

In conclusion, Rome is a truly magical destination during the Christmas season. From the lighting of the tree to the Living Nativity scenes and traditional festive dishes, there’s no shortage of enchanting experiences to be had. Whether you prefer luxurious accommodations or budget-friendly options, there’s a perfect place for you in Rome this winter. So why wait? Start planning your Christmas escape to the Eternal City today!

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