Christmas traditions in Rome (and Italy)

The holiday spirit is everywhere, all throughout the country: Christmas is a major festivity in Italy and there are a lot of traditions that make it unique. We call it “Natale”: not only a very important religious feast day, but also a family-centric holiday, a great opportunity to stay at home with all the loved ones.

The Christmas season officially kicks off with the Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, on December 8. Decorations are all around: lights, Christmas trees and nativity scenes both in piazzas, streets and inside homes. There are also Christmas markets, events and a real magic atmosphere. Rome is more charming than ever.

Piazza Venezia (Photo credit: tomasalvarez6916)

Piazza Venezia (Photo credit: tomasalvarez6916)

On Christmas Eve (la Vigilia), we don’t eat meat because they need to purify our bodies. Families have dinner together with vegetables and fish based recipes: like salmon,codfish or shrimps. Someone doesn’t eat anything during the day in order to have dinner earlier and enjoy the evening. After the family dinner, many of us head to midnight Mass at the local church. Many Romans can even go to the Vatican for Mass with the Pope! During the night, Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) brings gifts to children.

Piazza San Pietro (Photo credit: @alessandradisomma)

Piazza San Pietro (Photo credit: @alessandradisomma)

On Christmas Day, we usually spend our time with our family and friends for a lunch that usually goes on the whole day. We eat traditional pasta (like lasagna or pasta in broth), roasted meat and lots of sweets like panettone, pandoro and torrone. Between the lunch and the dinner, we usually play cards or tombola (bingo). We exchange presents and have fun together. Celebrations extend into December 26, with the National holiday of Santo Stefano: lunch, dinner and family time again.

natale-treasurerome

The official end of the Christmas season isn’t until January 6—the Day of the Epiphany: children get sweets (if they have been good during the year) and there are a lot of events for them in Rome.

We love Christmas…And you?

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ” (Norman Vincent Peale)

 

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Luci e magia: è Roma a Natale

La Città Eterna si veste di luci e colori. Gli addobbi rendono splendente ogni angolo e si respira un’aria magica. Roma e Natale, un binomio perfetto, un’esperienza assolutamente da vivere: profuma di felicità, stupore, voglia di cose belle.

trinita-dei-monti-natale

Trinità dei Monti

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

Tra l’attesa delle festività natalizie e la corsa all’acquisto dei regali, la città regala scorci unici e indimenticabili: è difficile non rimanere incantati. Tra la folla, la musica e la bellezza, anche i più scettici dovranno arrendersi alla suo calore.

Palazzo Valentino (Photo credit: @hyperjoseph-Instagram)

Palazzo Valentino (Photo credit: @hyperjoseph-Instagram)

Piazza San Pietro (Photo credit: @francesco_pasquarelli-Instagram)

Piazza San Pietro (Photo credit: @francesco_pasquarelli-Instagra

Piazza Venezia

Piazza Venezia (Photo credit: @elisabetta.baldini-Instagram)

In strada è tutto luci, fumo di caffè, presepi, donne, uomini, nonne e bambini.

Via Condotti

Via Condotti

Ci si può illudere di conoscerla in ogni angolo, di capirne le logiche, di non lasciarsi sorprendersi più: ma ogni volta che torna Natale, Roma ha un colore intenso, un odore caldo, una luce diversa. Perciò non resta che rassegnarsi.

“Roma è inconoscibile, si rivela col tempo e non del tutto. Ha un’estrema riserva di mistero e ancora qualche oasi” (Ennio Flaiano)