Visiting Rome at any time throughout the year is like taking a journey through time. It doesn’t matter if you stroll through the centre or the outskirts; you are bound to come across incredible monuments and works of art: the Coliseum, the Fontana di Trevi, the majestic Papal Basilica of Saint Peter, the marvellous Sistine Chapel…
If you decide to visit Rome at Christmas, you will discover that this a European city that maintains its traditions by holding the typical Christmas Market in the Piazza Navona, as well as the multitude of nativity scenes and mangers that you can admire throughout the city: Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona, Termini, Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major, the Sala Bramante at the Piazza del Popolo… the most impressive one however, is the one that has been set up for many years at Saint Peter’s Square…
If you would like to experience a really authentic, traditional Christmas, come to Rome and you will be delighted.
Don’t miss it!
Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is located in St. Peter’s Basilica and it is one of the places you must see if you go to Rome. It is known throughout the world for being the venue for the election of the new pope in a conclave and for capturing all the splendour and spirit of the Renaissance, with its renowned frescoes Creation of Adam and The Last Judgment, among others. There are 4 different itineraries in the Vatican museums with which to visit the Sistine Chapel, or you can go directly to the Chapel and avoid the crowds.
Where: Viale Vaticano
Tel: (+39) 06 6988 49 47
Timetable: Mon-Sat 8:45am-13:45pm
St. Peter’s Basilica
Saint Peter’s Square is a breathtaking sight for all travellers visiting Rome. The square is made up of two rows of colossal Tuscan colonnades that frame the entrance to the beautiful basilica. Famous artists such as Bramante, Rafael and Michelangelo all participated in building it, although Michelangelo is considered to be the mastermind behind it, especially as he designed its majestic dome. Its spectacular interior was decorated by Bernini and Giacomo Della Porta. We recommend going up into the dome to see Saint Peter’s statue, one foot of which is largely worn away from pilgrims kissing it for centuries. Don’t forget to also visit the papal tombs in the Vatican Grottoes.
Where: Piazza San Pietro
Tel: (+39) 06 6988 1662
Timetable: 7am-6pm (Apr-Sep until 7pm)
The Roman Coliseum, which can seat up to 50,000 spectators, was originally an amphitheatre where the Roman public was entertained with battles between gladiators, wild animals and slaves. The outer wall is composed of three levels of arcades. It has suffered extensive damage with the passing of time, after having been left without care in the past. When you enter into its interior, you will be able to truly observe this grandiose monument and to travel back in time as you view the areas where the slaves were kept before they were released to the lions.
The Pantheon is a building that dates back to Ancient Rome, which remains in relatively good condition, whereby allowing us to imagine how it used to look in the past. The Pantheon is a temple to all the gods and it has the largest dome in the world. This dome has a 9-metre central opening (oculus) that allows in natural light, as well as symbolising the union between the temple and the gods above. If you are in the Pantheon and it happens to start raining, you can watch the raindrops float down in perfect circles from the oculus and splatter against the marble flooring. The Pantheon contains the remains of the artist Rafael.
Where: Piazza della Rotonda
Timetable: Mon-Sat: 8.30am-7.30pm/ Sun: 9am-5.30pm
Phone nº: (+39) 06 6830 0230
Bocca della Verità
The famous Mouth of Truth is an enormous disk in the form of a mask, which is situated in the atrium of the Church of St. Mary in Cosmedin. According to the legend, it was said that if you put your right hand in this mouth and tell a lie, the mouth will close and you will not be able to withdraw it. Some even claim that the priests used to put scorpions inside it to perpetuate the myth. It is quite well-known, as it appears in several movies such as Roman Holiday, in which Gregory Peck pretends he loses his hand.
Where: Piazza della Bocca della Verità, 18, 00186 Rome
Where to eat
Osteria Der Belli Restaurant
This restaurant is located in the Trastevere, one of the most charming neighbourhoods in Rome, which is not as well-known as others. This restaurant is a simple, family-owned Osteria, which is run by two very friendly brothers, with an interesting menu and a good wine list. The prices are very reasonable, not at all expensive and its specialities are pasta and fish. It has a terrace for outdoor dining right in the square.
Where: Piazza S. Apollonia, 11, 00153 Rome
Tel: (+39) 06 5803 782
Vegetariano Il Margutta Restaurant
This vegetarian restaurant is very close to the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. It is an excellent option if you are in the area, for a bit of a change from pasta. This restaurant offers a wide range of very imaginative dishes. We recommend that you call first to make a reservation.
Where: Via Margutta, 118, 00187 Rome
Tel: (+39) 06 3265 0577
Cafetería Tazza D’oro
This traditional café in Rome makes a splendid cappuccino and after enjoying one, we are sure you will agree that it was one of the best you’ve ever had. They also make an excellent iced coffee with cream. It is very close to the Pantheon; it’s on one of the streets that branches out from the square, leaving the Pantheon behind you.
Where: Via degli Orfani, 84 (Pantheon), 00186 Rome
Tel: (+39) 06 6792 768
This is a family-owned Roman Trattoria that is a real treasure. Its dishes are made using traditional Roman recipes, with a wide variety of pasta, rice (risotto), together with fish or meat for the main course.
Where: Via di San Giovanni in Laterano, 106, 00184 Rome
Timetable: Mon-Fri: 12pm-3pm and 7.30pm-10.30pm/Sat:12pm-3pm
Tel: (+39) 06 7046 0935
Hostaria la Piazzetta
Hostaria la Piazzetta is a restaurant situated on a medieval side street near the Roma Termini train station. The atmosphere is very welcoming and the staff is very pleasant. The dishes are delicious and quite varied; be sure to order the antipasti and the sweets. Try the rustic Italian dinner and the desserts. We would highly recommend La Crème Brûlé.
Where: Vicolo del Buon Consiglio, 23a, 00184 Roma
Timetable: 12pm-3pm / 7pm-11pm
Tel: (+39) 0669 91640
When you enter into this shop you will feel like you’ve gone back in time. It specialises in herbal essences, liquors, soaps, balms, deodorants, anti-aging creams, bath foams and different kinds of brandies elaborated by Italian monks.
Where: Corso del Rinascimento, 78, Rome
Timetable: 9am-1pm/ 4.30pm-7.30pm
Tel: (+39) 06 688 02 783
Piazza di Spagna and its surroundings
The boutiques with the top brands in fashion can be found near the Piazza di Spagna, on surrounding streets such as Via Condotti, Via Frattina and Via Borgognona.
Porta Portese Market
This is one of the most famous markets in Rome, where you are sure to find a bargain. It is also the oldest market in the capital and it is held on Sundays in the Trastevere, starting from 5 o’clock in the morning. This street market is similar to the ones held in Madrid (the Rastro) and in Notting Hill in London, where there are always lots of antiques and falsifications. There are also lots of places to get a bite to eat while you are wandering through the market. Be very careful with your possessions, as there are many pickpocketers around this market. If you go on the underground, get off at the Coliseum and then catch a bus to take you there.
Where: Viale Trastévere
Timetable: Until 1:00pm
CastelRomano Designer Outlet
This is an outlet shopping centre in the south of Rome. Here you will find all the top brands in clothing, footwear and accessories with products from previous seasons at prices reduced from 30 to 70%. To get there using public transport, take line B on the underground to Laurentina Station. When you come out of the underground, there is a COTRAL bus that goes to Pomezia, Latina or TorVajanica. Ask the bus driver if the bus stops at CastelRomano. You need to get off at the Via Pontina stop and the outlet is then a 10-minute walk away. We recommend you catch a taxi from the Laurentina stop.
Where: Via Ponte di Piscina Cupa, 64, 00128 – 13 Km from Rome
Timetable: Mon-Thurs: 10am-8pm /Fri-Sun: 10am-9pm Tel: (+39) 06 5050 050
Going out at night
Nightlife in Campo dei Fiori
The area of Campo dei Fiori in Rome is a good place to go out for a drink. It is full of restaurants, pubs and a few nightclubs. It has a great atmosphere and you can find people there of all ages. The most fashionable bars are: el Drunken Ship, which is right in Campo dei Fiori and is always full to overflowing, and the mojority of the crowd is in their 20’s. Spirit is quieter and has a minimalist decoration. Another option is the Shanti, which serves exotic teas and is also much quieter.
Going out in the area of Trastevere
This is one of the most beautiful and bohemian neighbourhoods in Rome. In Rome, the typical thing to do is to go out for dinner and then have a drink at a bar or an outdoor café. This area offers a wide variety of dining options and a number of small bars to go afterwards for a drink.
Bar Le Sorelle
This bar has a great atmosphere and is a good option to go for a drink after dinner. Here they play live music on Fridays and Saturday.
Nightlife in Testaccio – Matattoio
There are lots of bars in the area of Testaccio. This is the typical area of Rome where the locals and the people who live there go out. There are also many restaurants in this area.
Nativity Scenes in Rome
During the Christmas season, the city of Rome becomes filled with Nativity Scenes that attract crowds of visitors. Some of the most well-known ones are the nativity scenes outside St. Peter’s Basilica and the one in the Piazza Navona, which, although it is much smaller, is delightful to see. The Sala Bramante, situated in the Pizza del Popolo, holds a large exhibition of nativity scenes. It is interesting to see how some entranceways into buildings have been converted into decorative Christmas displays with their small nativity scenes inside. It is really worth taking a walk around this lovely city to take in its Christmas spirit.
When: From the 8 December to 6 January
Where: Centre of Rome
Christmas Market in Rome
Monday 14 December 2009 13:36 | Published by | Category: Hotelopia Travel Guides,Travel News
The annual Christmas Market at the Piazza Navona never fails to surprise its visitors. Here you can find all sorts of figures to decorate your Nativity Scene, as well as the typical sweets for this time of year, wooden toys and all kinds of Christmas decorations. You will also probably find some fantastic nativity scenes set up around the Piazza Navona, which are really worth taking a look at.
When: From the 8 December to 6 January
Where: Centre of Rome