Rome is a city with a special atmosphere, full of monuments and history, and at Christmas time it becomes even more magical thanks to the nativity scenes, garlands and fir trees that decorate the streets of the city, not to mention the Christmas markets!
From late November to early January, Rome's Christmas markets flood the squares to sell handicrafts, toys and typical sweets. Take advantage of your stay to stroll around, enjoy the atmosphere and buy some gifts - you're sure to find something unique to give as a present this holiday season!
1. Visit the flea market in Piazza Navona
The Piazza Navona Christmas market is the most typical of Rome. It is located in the old part of the city (where once stood the Stadium of Domitian) in a beautiful baroque setting presided over by the church of Santa Agnes and the Palazzo Pamphili next to the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi by Bernini, one of the best fountains in Rome.
For just over a month, the square is transformed into a beautiful Christmas market that looks like something out of a fairy tale. In addition to the beautiful stalls that decorate this place, there are other attractions in Piazza Navona such as a vintage merry-go-round, a large nativity scene and Christmas tree and even an event with Santa Claus and the witch Befana, two endearing characters during these holidays in Italy.
This is a very pleasant area to walk around, so it is highly recommended to take the tour of fountains and squares of Rome, where an expert guide will tell you the details of this unique square. Many street performers such as musicians and magicians gather there to liven up the atmosphere and you will have a great time.
- Address: Piazza Navona
- How to get there: By subway, line A, Barberini station.
- Hours: Open until January 6, from 10 am to 1 am.
2. Decorate your home at the Piazza Risorgimento market
After visiting St. Peter's Basilica or the Sistine Chapel you can take the opportunity to visit another of Rome's Christmas markets, the one in Piazza Risorgimento, just outside the Vatican walls. There you can find a lot of things and not only related to Christmas. From decorative items for the house to handmade kitchenware and costume jewelry, you will be surprised by the variety of products!
The decoration of the Christmas market in Piazza Risorgimento may not be as typical as the one in Piazza Navona as it looks more like that of a modern fair. However, it is worth a visit because the atmosphere is also festive and they sell so many different things that you are sure to end up picking up a snack.
- Address: Piazza San Pietro, 00120. Vatican City.
- How to get there: By subway, line A, Ottaviano station.
- Hours: Open until January 6, from 10 am to 8 pm.
3. Find the best antiques in Piazzale Ankara
Another of Rome's Christmas markets you can visit during your trip is Piazzale Ankara, famous for its antique and fair trade stalls whose profits go to charity.
You will find it not far from the lardines of Villa Borghese, one of the most beautiful parks in Rome. So if you book a guided tour of the Borghese Gallery, do not hesitate to visit the Christmas market in Piazzale Ankara is a great plan to do after a stroll through this park where nature and art merge perfectly.
Presided over by a big Christmas tree, here you can buy different kinds of products, from Christmas decorations and delicious food to cool gifts. In addition, if you feel like doing something different, in Piazzale Ankara there is also a skating rink where you can show your skills on the ice. It's an ideal plan to do in Rome during Christmas, you'll have a great time!
- Address: Piazzale Ankara
- How to get there: By subway, line A station Spagna or Flaminio.
- Hours: Open Tuesdays from 7 am to 2 pm.
4. Experience the tradition in Piazza Caprera
If you love the traditional Christmas markets of Northern Europe, you can't miss the Christmas market in Piazza Caprera in Rome, where you can recreate the magical winter atmosphere so typical of German markets.
In the stalls of this market you can find a wide variety of products to give as gifts this holiday season (antiques, jewelry, perfumes, clothing ...), although the food and sweets from different Italian regions sold here are a real treat**(I recommend you try the panettone and Neapolitan struffoli**). If you have a sweet tooth, it's a good time to try some and accompany them with a glass of mulled wine or a cup of chocolate.
Also, like other Christmas markets in Rome, the one in Piazza Caprera also has an entertaining program of activities to liven up the atmosphere such as traditional music, storytellers or clowns. So if you are visiting the city with your family during the Christmas season, this is one of the places to go with children in Rome along with the Piazza Navona flea market. Put it on the list after the guided tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel for kids.
- Address: Piazza Caprera
- How to get there: By subway, line B, station Bologna
5. Immerse yourself in the Christmas atmosphere at Monti Market
Although the Mercato Monti is open all year round, during the Christmas season this fair is immersed in a very Christmassy atmosphere and many Romans come here on weekends to look for their Christmas gifts. So it is a highly recommended place to visit to buy some souvenirs of your trip.
In addition, the Mercato Monti has as a backdrop the Colosseum of Rome so before or after visiting this Christmas market you can take a guided tour of the Colosseum, which I recommend at any time of the year.
- Address: Via Leonina, 46/48, 00184 Roma
- How to get there: By subway, line B, Cavour metro station.
- Hours: Open every weekend of the year, from 10 am to 8 pm.
6. Enjoy the best views at the flea market in Piazza di Spagna
It is not very big, but it is in a fantastic location, next to the Fontana della Barcaccia and in front of the monumental staircase leading to the church of Santissima Trinità dei Monti, from where there is one of the best views of Rome. A place where both Romans and tourists meet.
- Address: Piazza di Spagna, 00187 Roma
- How to get there: By subway, line A, station Spagna.
- Hours: Open from December 1 to January 6.
7. Enter the flea market of the Museum of Criminology
If you are interested in the world of criminology, in addition to spending an entertaining time in this museum in Rome you can take advantage of your visit to visit its Christmas market, which is promoted by the Department of Penitentiary Administration of Italy. Here you will find quality products made by the country's prisons such as nougat, panettone, honey, cheese or T-shirts, among many others.
If you are passionate about Italian cuisine and you already know the best places to eat in Rome, this is a good opportunity to buy some things and collaborate with a good cause. In addition, during the opening of the Christmas market, the entrance to the Criminological Museum of Rome is free.
And if you want to make the most of the day, this museum is located very close to Piazza Navona, so you can take the opportunity to book your ticket for the Piazza Navona subway, either before or after the visit.
- Address: Via del Gonfalone, 29.
- How to get there: By bus, lines 23, 40, 62, 64.
- Hours: Open from December 11 to 18, from 10 am to 7 pm.
8. Explore Japanese culture at Mercatino Giapponese
The Christmas edition of the Mercatino Giapponese is one of the shortest (it only lasts two days!) but it condenses a lot of fun into a few days. It is a bit secluded, in the PratiBus district, but you can take the opportunity to rent a scooter in Rome and get to know it. You'll find that it has a little bit of everything for visitors of all ages to have a great time: from shows and demonstrations to cooking and martial arts workshops. There is even a large gastronomic area.
Also, if you like the Japanese theme in the stalls of the Mercatino Giapponese you are sure to find the gift you are looking for (jewelry, accessories, art, decorative objects, etc.) Either for your loved ones or for you!
Access to this Christmas market in Rome is not free, the entrance costs about 4 € but it is worth a visit. Only children under 14 and people with disabilities can enter for free.
- Address: Via Biordo Michelotti, 2, 00176 Roma
- How to get there: By subway, line C, stop Malatesta and/or Pigneto.
- Hours: Open mid-December, from 10 am to 7:30 pm.
9. Find the most curious gifts in Piazza Mazzini
Not far from Piazza Risorgimento, in one of Rome's most affluent neighborhoods, is the Piazza Mazzini Christmas market in Prati, which specializes in furniture, antiques and vintage items.
Although this market is not as spectacular as the one in Piazza Navona, they go to great lengths to decorate it with Christmas and winter motifs and create an endearing atmosphere. In addition, Piazza Mazzini is a very beautiful square that is adorned with Renaissance gardens and fountains, so it is worth a visit by itself. I recommend you book a tour of fountains and squares of Rome for this.
Apart from the usual products of this flea market, during this time of the year they expand their offer to sell quality Christmas ornaments, wooden crafts and many gift ideas such as clothing, jewelry or incense. I recommend you to buy here some typical Italian sweets (e.g. from Sardinia or Sicily) because the Christmas market in Piazza Mazzini is famous for them.
- Address: Piazza Mazzini
- How to get there: By subway, line A, Re di Roma station.
- Hours: Open from early December to Christmas Eve, from 8 am to 8 pm.
10. Have fun like a kid at Natale all'Auditorium
Another of Rome's Christmas markets that you can visit during your stay in the city is the one at the Parco della Musica Auditorium, which also hosts the Christmas World exhibition, an exhibition dedicated to celebrating Christmas and the encounter between different cultures.
In addition, the Natale all'Auditorium Christmas market also has a special program dedicated to children with shows, activities and workshops for them to have fun while the adults browse the market stalls and do some Christmas shopping.
There are many gifts to choose from: from typical sweets to beautiful handicrafts, you are sure to find a souvenir to take back with you from your trip to Rome!
- Address: Via Pietro de Coubertin, 30
- How to get there: By bus, line 910, Termini/Piazza Mancini Terminal
- Hours: Open from December 4 to January 9.