The Christmas season in Italy is steeped in tradition and the country hosts special events, markets, and celebrations that have been passed down for generations. Come late December many places across the country are transformed by the Christmas spirit and you can find markets, fairs and decorations adorning the ancient streets. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do during the Christmas season.
Visit the markets
Most Italian towns have a Christmas market in their town centers. For instance, The Christmas market at Bolzano is the perfect spot to buy a tree and handcrafted decorations. The market can be found in the historic town center and runs from the end of November until December 23rd.
Meanwhile, the traditional Christkindlmarket in Frascati is perfect to buy gifts, holiday treats and see the nativity scene. Where ever you are in Italy, you will have no difficulty finding a market.
See the nativity displays and trees in Rome
Rome has some of the most ornate and detailed nativity scenes in the country with the best being at Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican city center. Here you can see a lifesized nativity scene, amazing Christmas lights, and a massive Christmas tree. There is also a large Christmas tree that is lit outside the colosseum and a great Christmas market and nativity scene at Piazza Navona.
Attend Mass at the Vatican
There are many religious ceremonies on display in saint peters square in the Vatican that no traveler will want to miss. There is also the popular midnight mass given by the Pope on Christmas eve. Mass takes place inside the basilica and onlookers get to see the ceremony on a big screen in the square.
During this time the square is magnificently decorated and pilgrims can travel to the city to enjoy the Pope’s address from the papal balcony on Christmas day.