Whether you take a guided tour to see Rome's elaborate Christmas decorations illuminated after dark or take in the fireworks display on New Year's Eve, the Italian capital sparkles during the holiday season. Here's how to experience the magic.
Attend Christmas Mass or a Papal Blessing
For some, there's no better way to spend Christmas Eve in Rome than by going to mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Booking the experience in advance means you'll likely get a gourmet 3–course Christmas Eve dinner, too. Check out the special tours offered only on Christmas Day that include a papal blessing at St. Peter's.
Go Christmas Shopping
Germany may be better known for its holiday markets, but Rome's Christmas market in Piazza Navona offers visitors a wonderful excuse to pick up unique souvenirs or gifts for friends and family back home. The official sales season in Italy begins in early January, too, so if your itinerary keeps you in Rome for awhile after New Year's Eve, you may get to take advantage of some great discounts on Italian goods.
Listen to a Holiday Concert
Concerts take place year round in Rome, but around the holidays, you'll find opportunities to attend special seasonal concert events. Spend an evening in the eerie Capuchin Crypt for a Baroque Christmas concert, or celebrate New Year's in the gorgeous Doria Pamphilj Gallery for a performance of 17th-century music.