Rome does not mess around when it comes to holiday decorations. Extravagantly decorated Christmas trees and festive lights are all a part of the city’s dazzling display.
Here are the most beautiful spots in Rome during the holidays:
- Piazza Navona
A must-do on any holiday trip to Rome is a visit to Piazza Navona. One of Rome’s most beautiful public squares, the piazza is transformed into a holiday market selling sweet treats and plenty of Befana figurines. Games and a carousel are set up for children, with plenty of mulled wine and chestnuts on sale for us big kids who want to soak up the holiday atmosphere.
- St. Peter’s Square
For a more traditional, but no less gorgeous holiday scene, head to the famous St. Peter’s Square. The Basilica sits regally behind Rome’s largest nativity scene. The 24 life-sized wooden figures are placed in the center of the square every year, beneath one of the largest Christmas trees in Rome.
- Piazza Venezia and Altare della Patria
Rome’s imposing Monument to the Fatherland (Altare della Patria) was built to commemorate the unification of Italy. During the holidays, the monument is at its most festive as a lovely backdrop to the Eternal City’s main Christmas tree, which is placed smack in the middle of Piazza Venezia. Watching the traffic circle the glimmering tree with the altare lit up behind it all can be mesmerizing.
- Via del Corso
Leading away from Piazza Venezia is the main thoroughfare of Via del Corso. Each year the City of Rome makes this street the one to beat for decorations. The entire length of the 1.5 km long boulevard is strung with dazzling lights. One year, the lights were in the color of the Italian flag, and the next year rainbow lights greeted crowds. I can’t wait to see the design the city puts up for 2015!
- Via Condotti
Via Condotti is Rome’s main luxury shopping street and never wants to be outdone by Via del Corso. The street is hung with Christmas chandeliers, with each shop (such as Gucci and Chanel) vying for attention with gorgeous window displays. At the intersection of Via del Corso and Via Condotti is Fendi, whose light designs change every year and set the bar for the rest of the neighborhood. The streets are transformed into Rome’s most festive (window) shopping experience.
- The Alleyways of Trastevere and the Centro Storico
While the towering Christmas trees and glitzy lights of the monuments and main boulevards are gorgeous, I think that the most beautiful places in Rome during Christmas are actually the alleyways of Trastevere and the Centro Storico. These small streets across the city are crisscrossed with charming lights, making Rome feel so cozy during the whole holiday season.
- Bonus: It Used to be the Colosseum
One of Rome’s most striking monuments on any day, the Colosseum feels extra special at Christmas time. A huge tree used to be placed in front of the ancient amphitheater and covered in glittering lights. It was my favorite place to stop to see the twinkling lights against the best backdrop in Rome. However, Rome’s increasingly unpopular mayor, Virginia Raggi, went full grinch and cancelled the Christmas tree at the Colosseum due to budget cuts.
Rome is full of beautiful places to visit during Christmas, making the holidays one of my favorite times to be in the Eternal City.To see even more of Rome’s beauty check out the Rome photo gallery from Expedia.com!