Rome at Christmas, 3 things to do

Rome is a really fascinating city, but during the Christmas holidays it becomes even magical. The city lights up and you can breathe a very special atmosphere. You can feel something different in the air. But what to do in the Eternal City at Christmas? Here is our top three!

Visit Christmas Markets in Rome

Decorations, sweets of all kinds – including nougats and candies- toys and many gift ideas: a visit to Christmas markets is a must. The most famous one is definitely in Piazza Navona, which this year returns traditionally from 2 December to 6 January after a few years of absence, where you can also find music and children’s rides. But it is not the only one: there is also a Christmas market in Piazza Re di  Roma, in the San Giovanni district and in the Auditorium of Rome. In the Castle of Lunghezza, a few miles from Rome, there is Santa Claus waiting for all the children.

Have a walk in the historic center of Rome

A beautiful Christmas tree and a wonderful crib make St. Peter’s Square even more impressive. But also Piazza Venezia and the Spanish Steps host two different Christmas trees every year. What about the fully illuminated via del Corso and all the well-groomed boutiques in via Condotti? Strolling in the historic center of Rome becomes a real experience and even shopping is more enjoyable: all the shops extend their opening hours (and then they close on 25 and 26 December).

Credits: @donatelladanzi-Instagram

Try the Roman Christmas traditions

December 24th and 25th are days dedicated to the family. On Christmas Eve you eat fish, while the Christmas Day is dedicated to delicious dishes such as lasagna, baked oak or fried potatoes, Roman artichokes and, of course, nougats, panettone and pandoro! Restaurants offer traditional dishes or re-interpreted ones, but the Christmas atmosphere remains intact: it is a beloved holiday in Rome as well as in Italy and you can notice it on the table!

Spending Christmas in Rome is an adventure full of beauty, events and traditional dishes: an experience to try!

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What to do on a rainy day in Rome

Rome has a pretty mild climate and it’s gorgeous in every season. But sometimes you can encounter bad weather and rain. This is not a problem, because there are plenty of great things in the Eternal City to see and visit on rainy days. Find them out!

  • Museums

Visit a museum! Even if it’s raining, you stay dry and warm, spending a lovely time discovering masterpieces. You are spoiled for choice, because Rome has many interesting museums. If you’d like to learn something about the Roman history, you can go to the Capitoline Museums. If you prefer contemporary art, there’s the Maxxi Museum or the Galleria Nazionale for Modern Art. Otherwise, if you are lucky, you have already purchased tickets for the Vatican Museums or the Borghese Gallery.

The Borghese Gallery

  • Pantheon

This is one of the best places to go on a rainy day in Rome. You can witness drops of rain entering the famous oculus at the top of the dome and then magically draining away: they don’t get the marble floor soaking wet. Now the Patheon is free, but visitors will have to pay to enter it by early next year.

  • Churches

Head to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, which is one of the most beautiful churches in the Eternal City, or to Santa Maria di Montesano and Santa Maria dei Miracoli, “the twin churches” in Piazza del Popolo. There are a lot of churches, even smaller and hidden ones, that you can visit in Rome. St. Peter’s Basilica will be probably crowded, but there’s no harm in trying.

Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore

  • Catacombs

Get underground and escape the rain! Discover the catacombs in Rome, full of mystery and history. Read our post about the most famous ones and get ready, they are really special places.

  • Coffee (or aperitivo)

Go inside a lovely cafè or bar, have a cappuccino in the morning or a good aperitivo in the late afternoon. Rome is also the habits of all the people who live there and Romans (as Italians in general) love sitting and having something to drink. You can find many nice bars especially close to Piazza Navona or in Trastevere neighborhood.

There’s always something to do on a rainy day in Rome and its sunsets with post-rain skies are simply breathtaking.

Credits @Bendeckalejandro-Instagram

Villa D’Este, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture

Included in the UNESCO world heritage list, Villa D’Este is one of the most notable masterpiece of the Renaissance culture in Italy. It is situated in Tivoli, at about 30 kilometers from Rome, and it is a beautiful path among decorated rooms, impressive gardens and awesome fountains.

The view from the first floor

The Villa was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, who started the building renovation in 1550. It had been built on an ancient roman villa: in 1983 some ruins came out and today they can be admired by its visitors. The Cardinal’s aim was to recreate the glory of Hadrian’s Villa: the rooms of Villa D’Este were embellished by various painters as Livo Ligresti and Federico Zuccaro; the building and its gardens were entrusted to Pirro Ligorio and Alberto Galvani.

In every room of this palace you can breathe splendor and magnificenceBut their gardens are the most beautiful and captivating part of Villa D’Este. There are stunning views from here: you can admire Rome and the city of Tivoli, while you are surrounding by water games, majestic fountains, small caves, aged-old trees, plants and flowerbeds.

The stunning “Hundred fountains” run along the boulevard which leads to the Oval Fountain, embellished by rocks. At the end of this street, with an incredible view on the Roman valley, the Fountain of Rometta sticks out: it represents a miniature of Ancient Rome.

The Hundred Fountains

The Fountain of the Organ– which has a inner mechanism to play music- is situated in an area which seems to be magic: from this terrace you can admire all the gardens of the Villa. 

The Fountain of the Organ

The Fountain of Neptune is one of the most imposing and recent of the Villa: it was created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini using an existing waterfall.

The Fountain of Neptune

You can feel lots of emotions in Villa D’Este. You can almost see the protagonists of those ancient times, while walking or talking about art and politics. You only have to close your eyes, listen to the water and let yourself be caressed by its speechless beauty.     

5 great vegan restaurants in Rome

The Roman cuisine is not famous for its vegan dishes, but don’t worry. You won’t starve in Rome for sure, because there are good vegan restaurants, bistrots and patisseries in the Eternal City. Some of them are really peculiar. Are you ready to try them all?

So What? (via Ettore Giovanale 56/58, Pigneto)

A “classic Italian restaurant” as the owners chef Paolo and Alessandra underline on their website, but vegan. They have starters, first and second dishes, side dishes and desserts: ingredients are fresh and some of them come directly from their veg garden. The restaurant is really nice and reflects the owners’ interests: cinema, music and food, of course.

La capra campa (via Dignano d’Istria 51/a, Prenestina)

This is a 100% organic and vegan restaurant: ingredients come from Lazio countryside and some dishes are the vegan version of classic recipes. The name of the restaurant means “the goat can live” from an Italian tongue twister and it’s one of Rome’s best known vegan bistros. They also produce vegan cheese, which is used for their special recipes.

Romeow cat bistrot (Via Francesco Negri 15, Ostiense)

If you love cats, this is the right place for you. It’s the first cat cafè in Rome. It takes inspiration from the Japanese ones, but it has something more: a refined, vegan cuisine. You can have breakfast, lunch or dinner here in the company of beautiful felines. They use seasonal menus and also have raw dishes.

Universo Vegano (piazza del Paradiso 18, Campo De’ Fiori)

This is the first cruelty-free and vegan fast food chain in Italy, that uses only natural ingredients, without animal derivatives. Here you can eat vegan burgers, pizza, lasagna, sandwiches and desserts. As the founders explain on their website, they founded this restaurants because they believe in veganism as a philosophy of life.

Arancia Blu (via Cesare Beccaria 3, Flaminio)

A vegan and vegetarian restaurant and wine bar, which hosts art and events. You can try re-interpreted Italian dishes -from starters to desserts- surrounded by paintings and listening to good music. According to the Daily Meal, this is the fifth best vegetarian restaurant in the world.

If you love pastries and ice cream, you can’t miss Grezzo, the raw patisserie and chocolate shop which is close to Colosseum, in the heart of Monti neighborhood. Check our review here.

 

A little gem frozen in time: Calcata

Time seems to stand still in Calcata, a mediaeval village perched on a tufa mountain.  This magical place will awaken your imagination and transport you to a world of fairy tales. And it’s only about 40 kilometers from Rome.

Calcata 1

The historical centre of the village, surrounded by defensive walls – mentioned in some documents of the 8th century, even if human presence in this area can be traced back to prehistoric times- remained abandoned for many years from the beginning of the 20th century, because it was considered unsafe, and its inhabitants went to live outside. From the 70’s the situation changed and the small village returned to life, thanks to Italian and international artists who restored the houses and opened art galleries and cafès.

calcata 2

Once you pass the gate to the heart of Calcata, you find yourself catapulted into a differents world, made by narrow alleys, beautiful views over the Treja Valley, nice restaurants, artisan shops and even a Museum (Museo della Civiltà Contadina). The Palazzo Baronale degli Anguillara, which is situated at the entrance of the village,  used to be the most important building of Calcata and now it is the headquarter of the Parco del Valle Treja.

calcata 3

Calcata is a gem full of mistery, a place frozen in time where you can find a unique atmosphere. In this ancient village is easy to start believing in magic and witches, in romantic stories and legends. You can reach it by walk- it is not possible to go there by car, you have to park in sepcific areas- and you’ll be surprised by its beauty and appeal.

calcata 4

Calcata is a perfect place for a day trip from Rome and it’s stunning during the night: it has that charm of the ancient times and the halo of a candle that continues shining.

A day trip to Bracciano from Rome

A nice historical centre, surrounded by a volcanic lake and dominated by a splendid castle: Bracciano is a perfect day trip from Rome. You can reach it by car or train (the FM3 railway which runs between Rome and Viterbo).

The view from the castle

If you love history and nature, you’ll appreciate this town at about 40 km from the Eternal City. The Orsini-Odescalchi Castle, which you can immediately see from the road while reaching this place, is one of the most beautiful and impressive castles in Europe. Its costruction, commissioned by Napoleon Orsini, was completed in 1485. In 1696 the Castle was sold to the Odescalchi family and was opened to the public in 1952. Its decorated rooms tell the history of the well-known noble families of Italy- Orsini, Medici, Borgia and Odescalchi- and it’s really well preserved. You feel like you are in a movie, its atmosphere is really unique. That’s why many famous people- like Tom Cruise and Eros Ramazzotti, for example- chose this castle for their weddings. It also can be reserved for exclusive events.

After the guided tour to the Castle- which lasts one hour- you can go to the lake for a relaxing walk. It’s one of the cleanest ones in Italy- it’s famous also because it’s the drinking water reservoir of Rome- and in the Summer you can swim and sunbathe on its beach. The lake is inside the Parco Naturale di Bracciano-Martignano, which is an excellent area for sports activities as exursions, cycling and trekking.

When in Bracciano, you must taste its traditional dishes with Bracciano lake freshwater fish– like eel, pike, tench-or, if you prefer meat and depending on the season, pasta with boar meat or porcino mushrooms. You can find many restaurants and pizzerias both in the downtown and in the lakeside.

Your experience in Bracciano can give you anything you are looking for: history and art, nature and relax, good food and outdoor activities.

 

Top 5 reasons to visit Rome

“Yes, I have finally arrived to this Capital of the World! I now see all the dreams of my youth coming to life… Only in Rome is it possible to understand Rome.”  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This is what Goethe said about Rome and we totally agree. You can only appreciate and understand the Eternal city if you see it through your own eyes. So, if you are looking for some more reasons to visit Rome, here you find our list.

 

  • ART AND HISTORY

Rome is an open air museum and a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can admire incredible archtectural feats like the Pantheon; ruins from the Roman Empire like the Colosseum and the Roman Forum; monuments and churches from different historical periods. There are plenty of things to see and museums to visit (like the Capitoline Museums, the Ara Pacis and the MAXXI) and they are all great!

Roman Forum (credits: @kwon_yongsoo-Instagram)

 

  • STUNNING PIAZZAS AND FOUNTAINS

Fountains are almost everywhere in the center of Rome, surrounded by beautiful piazzas, the heart of the Roman (and Italian) life. The Trevi Fountain is one of the most beautiful in the world. And then we have the Fountain of Four Rivers in Piazza Navona, designed by Bernini; La Barcaccia Fountain at the bottom of the Spanish Steps; The Fountain of the Turtles in the Jewish Ghetto…and many more. Why don’t you count them all?

La Barcaccia

 

  • FOOD

The Roman cusine is an experience into taste and history. Have you ever heard about the famous “pasta alla carbonara” or “amatriciana”? Only in Rome you can find the authentic recipe. Not to mention gelato, pizza and wine: you’ll be spoilt for choice for every kind of food and wine tours.

Bucatini all’amatriciana (Credits: @silvia.massetti85-Instagram)

 

  • LAKES, BEACHES AND OTHER CITIES

Not everybody knows that Rome is really close to the sea. Ostia is the nearest beach to the city, at about 30 kilometers, but other famous places -like Nettuno or Anzio- are at 60 kilometers. The town of Castelgandolfo, on the “castelli romani”, also has a beautiful lake. But all round the Eternal City you can find small and pretty towns to visit. Using Rome as a base, you can easily reach Naples, Florence or Orvieto, for example.

Castelgandolfo

 

  • GOOD CLIMATE

The best season for a trip to Rome? Any time! From March to May the city is colourful and smells nice. Rome in Summer is quite hot, but you still can find places where to stay cool. From September to November it’s a bit rainy, but has a lot of beautiful and mild days. October is a great month for a Roman holiday. In the winter it’s less crowded and it’s not very cold. Rome’s magic atmosphere is always there.

The Trevi Fountain

 

Ready to book your unforgettable holiday in Rome?

 

A day in Monti

It’s cool thanks to its picturesque alleys, small shops and ancient buidings. It’s trendy thanks to its bars, restaurants and pubs. The Monti neighborhood is one of the most beautiful districts of Rome. It’s close to Colosseum and Piazza Venezia, it contains within itself an authentic atmosphere and that brightness of the Eternal City, it’s perfect to explore the Roman nightlife. This is why some of our holiday apartments are located here.

Rione Monti-TreasureRome

(Credits: @alessiacarosi)

Rione Monti is full of life, both during the day and at night. You can go shopping in via Cavour or via Nazionale, where you can find many kinds of shops.  The famous Mercato Urbano di Monti -on Saturdays&Sundays, for vintage clothes and accessories-is located there. You can have a walk in the tiny and lovely via Urbana and try one of Grezzo’s delicacies. And then you can take a picture at the nice Piazza della Madonna dei Monti, where a lot of people use to sit and chat, before having dinner in one of the restaurants or pizzerias located in the heart of this district: via dei Serpenti, via Panisperna or via del Boschetto.

Rione Monti TreasureRome

Piazza della Madonna dei Monti (Credits: @bonjourwhite-Instagram)

The Monti neighborhood has beautiful churches and artworks. Santa Maria Maggiore is at the end of via Panisperna and is one of the most stunning basilicas in Rome, that you can admire starting from its facade. You can’t miss San Pietro in Vincoli, the church which since 1545 has hosted a masterpiece: Michelangelo’s Moses. We suggest to reach this church climbing the “Salita dei Borgia” staircase, which connects via Cavour to San Pietro in Vincoli and it’s really peculiar.

Rione Monti TreasureRome

Salita dei Borgia (Credits: @sasiyx-Instagram)

Breath the essence of the Eternal City, take a lot of photos and discover how wonderful holidays can be is when you are surrounded by beauty, history, culture and Italian lifestyle!

5 tips for food and drink in Rome

If you chose Rome and Italy for your holidays, you probably did it also for its food and drink. Roman cuisine can seduce your palate and even your heart.

Here you find 5 top tips to enjoy Rome’s foodie scene at its most.

 

Try the famous gelato

Italy has the best gelato in the world and Rome has a lot of famous and good gelaterie (ice-cream parlours) like Giolitti (close to via del Corso) and Gelateria del Teatro (close to Castel Sant’Angelo). Walking around the Eternal City with a good artisanal ice-cream is a must.

Giolitti gelato TreasureRome

 

Go to a “panetteria”

When in Rome, search for a “panetteria” or “forno” (bakery). You can find them almost everywhere. Don’t miss the great opportunity to try some of its delicacies: different kinds of bread, pizza, cakes and biscuits. You will be spoilt for choice and you will eat something that Italians bring to their table everyday.

Pizza bianca TreasureRome blog

 

Don’t miss the fabolous aperitivo

Have you ever heard about the Italian aperitivo? It’s the event not to be missed when in Rome. In many bars and pubs you can have a drink -cocktails, wine or beer-  together with pasta, pizza, sandwiches or finger food starting from 6 pm until about 9 pm. It’s trendy and really cool.

Aperitivo Roma Treasurerome blog

Credits: @route66barroma

 

Cappuccino and cornetto for breakfast

Forget eggs and bacon. If you want to feel like a local, ask for a cappuccino and a cornetto for breakfast. Ask for an espresso after lunch and taste a good liquor at the end of your dinner. Please don’t have a cappuccino during your lunch: Romans never do it!

Credits: @azzurra_ciba-Instagram

 

Eat like a local

Roman cuisine is known as “the food of people”: all its dishes tell a story and they’re delicious. You must try them because their flavours are simply unique. Starters, First and second courses, desserts: get ready for a food experience you’ll probably miss!

Cacio e pepe (Credits:@paulinevergara-Instagram)

 

The Garden of Ninfa, where history meets nature

The Garden of Ninfa is a place that looks like it’s been taken out of a fairy-tale. An amazing park that tells the story of a ghost city and a noble family who decided to bring it to life.

Garden on Ninfa TR

Ninfa was once a prosperous town on the Appian Way, property of the Caetani family: in the XIV century it was probably populated by 2000 people. Its names comes from the little temple dedicated to the nymphs during the Roman period built in this area, at the foot of the Lepini Hills. There were various churches-Santa Maria Maggiore was the primary one- mills and bridges, a castle and a town hall. It was defended by a double-walled fortification. The town was destroyed in 1382 due to politics and family events. It remained abandoned until the 20th century, when the estate was renovated and the garden was transformed by Gelasio Caetani.

Ninfa is now an English-style romantic garden with a river and a lake, where ruins and nature coexist harmoniously. There are trees and plants, which come from all over the world, together with ancient contrunctions, that show how the city used to be. It’s an open-air museum and a magic place surrounded by mountains and at about 20 kilometers from the sea.

Garden of Ninfa

Ninfa is located in the province of Latina, at 80 kilometers from Rome, and it is definitely worth a visit: it’s an experience you won’t forget. There’s a really strange atmosphere there: you can listen to nature and enjoy its beauty and sounds. If you have time, you can also visit the 17th-century “Hortus conclusus”, an Italian- style garden a the end of the Garden of Ninfa route, and the nearby towns Norma and Sermoneta.

Garden of Ninfa

The site is run by the Italian Foundation Roffredo Caetani and it is open to the public at set times from April to November.  Visitors are accompanied by a guide and entrance tickets must be purchased online. Don’t miss this jewel of Italy’s history and magnificence.