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Is Rome a good destination for Christmas?

Is Rome a good destination for Christmas?

Oct 22nd, 2008, 10:25 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 35
Is Rome a good destination for Christmas?

My husband and I cannot decide on where to go for Xmas (or New Year if that's better). We love Rome, but are most things closed? Can anyone tell us what's it's like during that time? Or suggest anywhere else...

Please help!
MariaOrdish is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 10:28 AM
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Things are not closed, but you could have wet weather. I went on a home exchange in Rome over Christmas once and it rained for the first 20 days of the trip. The rain was heavy at times and once we had golf ball sized hail! We saw a lot of museums on that trip but not too much of the outdoors!

When the weather got better, I came down with a terrible cold. I was in Rome for a total of 17 days.
LaurenKahn1 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 10:30 AM
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Transport is very limited Christmas Eve, Christmas day, New Year's Eve and New Year's day. Our home exchange apartment was outside of the central area creating some problems for us. If you stay downtown, you should not have problems with transport because you can walk. Some restaurants are open for the holidays, of course. There are the usual hoopla over priced menus for New Year's Eve.
LaurenKahn1 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 10:31 AM
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I love Rome during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Venice is great also, but Rome would probably be warmer.

Paris is also a good choice.
zoecat is online now  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 01:09 PM
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I spent Christmas in Rome a few years ago. It was quiet in Rome on Christmas Day but there were a few restaurants and even gelaterias open. My daughter and I loved walking around when everything was so quiet. I love Rome at Christmas because it is not overly done like the US. Some streets have just lovely lights strung across and there are beautiful creches and simple trees around the city.
As for weather we had a few cold rainy days but also a few warmer days. You need a winter coat, gloves, scarf and hat and umbrella but you also need to have things to layer in case it is warm (60's).

My daughter spent the summer in Italy and said that she prefers going during the winter months when there are fewer tourists and the weather is cooler. We are actually going next month for a week in Rome.
risab is offline  
Oct 24th, 2008, 07:06 AM
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Thanks for the advice! Paris was another option for us. I haven't been, but my husband says it will be wet and cold. Any thoughts on that?
MariaOrdish is offline  
Oct 24th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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Paris will be cold and likely wet. We've also been a couple times in March (spring break timing). Had a great time. But hey, Paris is Paris.
dfr4848 is offline  
Oct 24th, 2008, 11:00 AM
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Christmas season for churches goes thru Jan 6 it seems

On the eve of Jan 6 i heard a so so romantic rendition of Silent Night (or whatever the Church calls it) in one of the bigger basilicas and in lots of churches choirs were signing seasonal songs

I think Christmas is an excellent time for rome
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 24th, 2008, 11:14 AM
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We traveled to Italy last year. We left on Christmas Day from Seattle & began our trip in Venice on Dec. 26th.

It was cold in Venice, but we had perfectly blue skies the 4 days we were there.

It was also cold in Florence, but it only rained 1 of the 5 days we were there.

We ended our trip in Rome (7 days) and out of the 7 days, it rained 1 1/2 days. It was also warmer - about 60 degrees. I finally started leaving my coat at our aparment when we went out touring. One of the best pictures I took on the whole trip was at the Forum, a shot of the Temple of Saturn with some very threatening storm clouds in the background. We had a GREAT trip and saw just about everything we wanted to see. I would HIGHLY recommend Rome for Christmas/New Year's. Sounds like FUN.

Oh, and the best thing, is that since it is a little colder, your gelato won't melt so fast!!!
halfapair is online now  
Oct 24th, 2008, 11:17 AM
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Rome is a walking town, so I wouldn't worry too much about transportation. Churches will be open and theatrically decorated and ritualistically used, which means seeing them as they were designed to be used -- no small thing if you are interested in history and public architecture. All museums will be closed on Christmas Day, and no doubt any store you can name.

Roma has a lively, vibrant Jewish quarter, where you can be sure to eat well when other restaurants are closed (and many won't be, because somebody has to feed those many pilgrims who come to Roma at Christmastime).

It can be rainy and cold (and even snowy!) anyplace you go in Europe once the winter solstice has set in. Rome is historically warmer than Paris at almost anytime, but travelers get no guarantees.
zeppole is offline  
Oct 24th, 2008, 12:08 PM
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I spent last Christmas in Rome (8 days) and loved it so much I am going back this year...plus finding a pretty good airfare didn't hurt!

We were fortunate last year and had very pleasant weather, mild temperatures (I know that may not always be the case) and only one day with a bit of rain, and do remember that time of year it gets dark early, around 4:30pm.

One thing to take note of is that some places (shops, restaurants, sites) are also closed on the 26th. We found that many places were open on Christmas Eve until early afternoon and didn't open up again until Dec. 27th. But if you like churches as another poster mentioned it's a great time to see them in all their glory.

Even with holiday closures we didn't have any trouble finding places to eat or things to see and do.

LowCountryIslander is offline  
Oct 24th, 2008, 12:14 PM
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I was in Rome near Christmas time in 04 and had a great trip. We luckily only had run for half of one day. Otherwise the weather was great; sunny and much warmer than what I'm used to in the Midwest during that time of year.

tcreath is offline  
Oct 24th, 2008, 02:13 PM
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I was in Rome over Christmas and New Year in 2006 and had a wonderful time. For more information about what I found open and when, here is my trip report:

SusanP is offline  
Oct 24th, 2008, 05:12 PM
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We have been to Rome in December several times and found it to be a magical time of year there. It does get dark early then, but it doesn't really matter since the streets are lighted with tiny strings of clear lights. Every store and church has an elaborate Nativity scene in the window or chapel.Last trip it rained one day out of our twelve days' visit. There were special Christmas concerts, lots of activity in Piazza Navona and the Fiera where we sampled all kinds of delicious foods.
Saraho is online now  
Oct 24th, 2008, 07:58 PM
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We went to Rome for Christmass 2006. We are Catholics and Midnight Mass at St Peters was a high priority. You need tickets but it does not cost. We arranged this through a priest we knew. I had read that getting back to the hotel at 2am would be a nightmare. Not true, our hotel was a 20 minute walk away. The streets were busy enough without being crowded. I worried beforehand about what we would do on Christmas Day. As it turned out we slept in, went to the Popes message at 12 noon then walked to the Villa Borghese where we spent a very pleasant afternoon. By the time we walked back down Via Del Corso the street was packed, with what seemed like every Roman family out for their Christmas walk. There were many restaurants open for dinner.

On other day everything was open. 26th December is a public holiday but still most things are open. Admittedly we were lucky with the weather that was quite warm. Rome is a perfect place to spend Christmas with lots to do.
aussiefive is offline  
Oct 24th, 2008, 09:20 PM
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Was in Rome for Christmas 2005, and agree with everything said here. On 12/26, my parents and I went to Tivoli. Villa d'Este was open, and there were no more than 20 people we could see at any time - it's almost like our private garden. Magical.
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 24th, 2008, 10:24 PM
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Hi, I also was in Rome for Christmas in 2005. I found sites within the city to be busier than our other trip to Rome. Like Rkkwan, I found the outlying sites we saw to be very empty--for us those were Ostia Antica and a little town with a castle, Bracciano. Both were wonderful.

We greatly loved the creche display at Santa Maria del Popolo.

I would encourage staying more central and using trains and buses when possible. Both of our daytrips above are reachable by train.

We had some issues with finding a cab at times. Our best luck was when restaurants would call for us at the end of our meal. My brother is very fluent in Italian and the cab drivers told him that half of the cab drivers in the city would be on vacation from Christmas Eve until New Years. It is a set rotation.

5alive is offline  
Oct 25th, 2008, 03:46 PM
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We were in Rome last Christmas and it was just wonderful. By all means stay in one of these two areas. This is the best of Rome. Oh, and don't stay in the Termini area, not so nice there and very touristy. You can walk everywhere. Staying outside these areas means traffic and lots of time spent commuting to the sites and the charming walking streets in centro historico (Central Rome). Shops are open until about 8 pm on Xmas Eve. A lot of restaurants are closed on both Xmas Eve and Xmas Day but there were also plenty that were open especially in Trastavere and Central Ancient Rome. I would consider booking dinner reservations for both nights well in advance. Ask your hotel for help. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back. Agree with others that weather was pleasant during the day (60s) but cold at night (will need warm coat, scarf, gloves at night). There are several old posts here on Xmas in Rome if you do a search.
Paulo59 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2008, 08:46 PM
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The year we were there, I remember only one warm day in the 60s.

Otherwise, we needed winter coats and gloves every day. Also, churches are not heated and some great monuments and ruins are outside.

I remember maybe three days of rain.

5alive is offline  
Oct 27th, 2008, 05:33 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
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I spent Christmas and New Year's in Rome and had an amazing time. If you are there for Christmas, Midnight Mass at the Vatican should not be missed. Most things are open, though transportation is limited, especially New Year's. The weather was very pleasant.
la_voyageuse is offline  

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