Christmas in Rome: what is closed, and when?
Are you visiting Rome for the end-of-the-year-holidays? First off, congrats on your travel! December is really a magical time, and particularly in a city like Rome. What we lack in terms of snow and sleighs we more than make up for with Christmas ornaments, events and, well, shopping!
While you can admire the former to your heart’s content, part of regular events and shopping experiences may be disrupted by the, well, holidays proper!
The large majority of shops observes a Christian/Catholic calendar and will be closed to allow their employees to be with their families, regardless of whether they personally observe those holidays or not (see also here).
Stores as well as museums and other landmarks will have shorter opening /operating times, and will stay closed altogether in select dates.
Below we listed major disruptions by those essential services one usually ends up needing when visiting a different country. Do note that for specific offices or shops, business hours may be different only on December 25th and December 26th.
What are the actual December holidays in Rome?
Generally speaking, just December 8th, December 25th and December 26th. Some establishment smight close for longer periods while including these two dates.
The issue with the 25th and 26th is that many people visiting from abroad are unaware that there is a second holiday so close to Christmas day. Not just that: they are also unaware that shops and museums tend to close earlier in the evening the day before Christmas to, as mentioned, allow personnel to reach their families.
What will be closed on Christmas day and St. Stephen’s Day in Rome?
Post offices: Closed on December 25th and December 26th for the whole day
Banks: Closed on December 25th and December 26th for the whole day
Hospitals: Emergency rooms will be working as usual throughout the holidays
Public transportation: Buses, subway trains and trams will operate until 9PM on December 24th; from 8:30 to 1:30PM and again from 430PM to 9PM on December 25th; and with the usual Sunday schedule on December 26th; finally, the service will operate with no interruptions between 530AM on December 31st to 230AM on January 1st.
If you plan to travel on Christmas Day or on the following day, allow plenty of time to reach the airports or the train stations, and make sure your trains (if applicable) are regularly scheduled.
Museums and other attractions: Expect ticket offices to close earlier than usual on December 24th. Will be closed all day on December 25th, unless the attraction is in a church (example: the Pantheon, San Clemente, in which case they might observe different/shorter hours). Will be open as usual on December 26th. We recommend googling the various sites to learn about their specific timetable during the holidays – an advice that works with any establishment in Rome at this time!
The Vatican Museums, being in a different sovereign country, will follow a different schedule, as compared to Italian museums: again, make sure you check their official web site to learn about it (or about any last minute changes).
Shops: Supermarkets and grocery stores belonging to a nationwide chain (like Coop, Pam, Conad etc.) will open for the usual hours. At the very most (and this largely depends whether they’re in the center of the city or in the suburbs) they will close earlier on the day before Christmas.
Family-run grocery stores/shops will close at lunchtime or at around 2PM on the day before Christmas, and expect them to remain closed both on the 25th and 26th.
Malls will observe shorter opening times on the day before Christmas and will be closed all day on Christmas day. They will be open as usual on the 26th.
Finally, seven-elevens run by foreign nationals will observe their usual opening hours.
Restaurants & other types of eateries (cafes, bistros…): Restaurants will open as usual on December 24th and December 25th: it’s some of the busiest day of the year for them! They might stay closed all day on the 26th, particularly if they’re a family operation. Cafes and bistros, particularly when they work as a tavola calda, will remain closed on December 25th and December 26th (we would be surprised if they were to open!).
Our office: our office will be open as usual! We’re just a phone call away, should you need us!