From Home to Rome’s guide to the Christmas markets in the city
Over the weekend, the unveiling of “Spelacchio“, the Christmas tree on Piazza Venezia, and the Pope’s visit to the statue of the Virgin Mary at the Spanish Steps have marked the start of the Christmas/End-of-the-year holidays in Rome and Italy.
Visitors in Rome at this time will find it easier to shop for gifts: on top of increasing the frequency of regular buses and subway trains for the whole month, transport company ATAC has planned a special shuttle bus unoriginally (eh!) called “Shopping” which will be taking visitors as well as locals around the city center from December 7 to January 6, not including the actual holidays of December 25 & 26 and New Year’s Day, from 1030 AM and 830 PM.
The question remains – while the route for the Shopping shuttle can be seen here (website in Italian), where exactly do you find places to shop at, during this particular season?
In other words, where are the Christmas markets in Rome?
A changing scenery
Gone are the glory days where Piazza Navona and its Christmas market reigned supreme – with 13 stalls run by the same company, the world-famous square is a little dull and offers little in the way of variety.
Campo de’ Fiori doesn’t fare that well either: mobbed by tourists every day of the year, it does little to find again an authenticity of sorts and will continue to operate as usual. More stalls in the very center of the city, and again with little variety, are by the Spanish Steps.
So where else to go, then?
We have selected 5 must-visit Christmas markets around the city ourselves! With a caveat: don’t necessarily expect rustic ambiences or wooden shacks to display sellers’ merchandise – many of these markets are modern, vibrant and young. It’s exactly because of this you’ll know they’re authentic!
Vintage Market’s Christmas City
Vintage Market has become a brand of sorts in Rome – if you go to one of their events, you’ll find them to be the biggest in the city. For their Christmas Edition, they will use the former bus depot on Viale Angelico, north-west of the Vatican, which will be the home, for the occasion, to more than 200 vendors. Street food, vintage clothing, up and coming artists and craftspeople will be coming together for a massive event.
Christmas City @ Pratibus District
Viale Angelico 52
The most-famous-newest-Roman market in the middle of the Monti district, walking distance from our rental on Via dei Capocci will be open on several days during December, displaying its usual mix of artisan jewels, vintage bags and clothing, art and design pieces. An unmissable stop if you’re near the Colosseum.
Via Leonina, 46/48 (Cavour subway station)
December 14-15, 21-24, 28-29
La fabbrica degli Elfi (“Elves’ factory”)
Another former bus depot, this time on Piazza Ragusa, will be the home to the largest Christmas market in Rome, boasting – like its cousin in the Prati district – over 200 vendors. Artisan food, toys, vintage items and more will be available every day until January 6, from 10AM to 6PM (and to 10PM on weekends and actual holidays such as Christmas day or New Year’s Day) along with book presentations, music events and more.
La fabbrica degli Elfi
Via Tuscolana, 179 (Ponte Lungo subway station or Roma Tuscolana city train station)
Open every day
Those who are familiar with the Flaminio district and, particularly, the area around the MAXXI Museum and the Auditorium Parco della Musica know full well that the ice rink outside the impressive music venue is a fixture of every winter season. Along with it, visitors will be able to visit the small Christmas village outside the facility, which will be also hosting the new edition of Rome’s Gospel Festival.
Auditorium Parco della Musica
Via Pietro de Coubertin, 30 (Flaminio subway stop + tram line no. 2). See the official website for more information.
Feste delle meraviglie al Castello di Santa Severa
While technically out of town (in Santa Severa, one of our recommended destinations for a day trip), this market is deserving of a visit, if anything because it takes place in the courtyards of an authentic medieval castle. And one that’s by the sea, no less! Open every day until January 6, expect events of all sorts, including Santa parades, an artisan market, a crowded ice rink and themed events for children!
Strada Statale 1, Santa Severa (Via Aurelia)
And don’t forget…
Christmas markets are incredibly popular in Rome – every district has at least one going on (usually during the weekends). They may be only advertised in their neighborhood though, so we recommend looking out for flyers, particularly near churches (most of these events have a charitable purpose).
Be on the lookout, particularly, for events happening St. Paul’s Church on Via Nazionale, by Piazza del Popolo (the Rigiocattolo market, with recycled toys for sale, is scheduled for December 14-15) and on Via Veneto, among other locations! And don’t forget about the Porta Portese flea market – while not specifically a Christmas event, it will take place every Sunday of the month and offer many chances to buy original gifts or holiday decorations.