X-MAS & New Year's in ITALY 2017!

Oct 10th, 2017, 12:09 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 3
X-MAS & New Year's in ITALY 2017!

Hello knowledgeable people!

My husband and I are coming to Italy for the first time this holiday season. We wanted to experience the true Italian celebration during this time of year. We land at FCO 12/24 8:45AM and leave from FCO 1/8 7:45AM. We are going to stay in people's homes through Airbnb for the entire trip.

I booked a place in Vatican City through the 26th so we can be nice and close for the gathering at St Peters Square to watch the Christmas Eve mass on the big screen with the locals. Then I am moving over to the Rome City Centre where I will stay through the 30th. I figured we'd see some of the major attractions when things open back up on the 26th and everyone else is preoccupied with other activities. I would love a good recommendation on where to dine for the 3 hour traditional Christmas Day lunch! I assume I will need reservations for favorites in Rome.

Now, I know this is a long time for a tourist to stay in Rome. Everyone else seems to only allot a couple 2-3 days. I like to really experience the places I visit. I want to shop in the market, cook in my kitchen, casually eat and enjoy a daily aperitif. For me it is about the culture and the food. I want to live like a local.

We have debated heading to Florence or Venice or both after that, but are having a hard time deciding. I'd really like to just go with the flow and not plan the rest of the trip, but I've heard I may end up with expensive and non ideal train tickets, times and airbnb options with it being the holiday season. I'd love to get some more opinions on that. Just a reminder that I'd like to keep this trip simple and enjoyable with the least amount of travel while still feeling like I experienced some of the best Italy has to offer this time of year. I've heard Venice is beautiful during this time (very few tourists, romantic gondola rides with heated blankets and hot mulled cider) sounds heavenly.

Before you add new ideas to where I should go, keep in mind that I plan on returning next summer or fall to check out some more of what Italy has to offer at my leisurely pace.

I am also not against cancelling my current accommodations and changing things around if there is a plan that makes more sense for an optimal experience.

Lastly, I'd love a good recommendation for the long drawn out NYE feast. I want to get my reservation in at a good spot early so I don't miss out!

Thank you to anyone willing to contribute and help with my planning.
jessfanem is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 12:21 PM
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We were in Venice last year for Christmas and New Year's and it was not at all as you describe. It was heaving with tourists, jamming up every bridge and sidewalk and walkway. Masses and masses of tourists, even without the cruise ships.

And maybe I've missed something, but hot mulled cider doesn't ring any Italian bells with me at all. Maybe Germany or Alsace, but Italy? Don't think so.
StCirq is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 12:55 PM
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Really busy, huh? Well that's a bummer. Did you enjoy it still or would you recommend Rome and Florence, steer clear of Venice.

I think I confused the hot drink. Maybe it was hot chocolate. Oh well. HA!
jessfanem is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 12:55 PM
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We were in Venice last year as well and while it was touristy we loved it!

You can see our pics here

https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]
jamikins is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 01:00 PM
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Wow jamkins! Beautiful! I love the food photos in there too. Still looks pretty low key compared to Chicago. That's where I spend most of my days. Just to give some perspective.
jessfanem is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 01:32 PM
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Just get off the main tourist routes and you will be fine
jamikins is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 01:34 PM
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We also spent a week in Rome over New Years in 2012...and loved it. these pics are from that time

jamikins is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 01:52 PM
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jessfanem, your trip sounds interesting and I am curious. I've used AirBnB to book apartments but never just a bedroom in a private home. Is that what you're doing? But I see you mentioned "kitchen" and cooking, so maybe you are renting apartments?

Also curious about Vatican City. Can one really stay inside Vatican City?

So some tips: I don't think a gondolier will serve hot drinks, but there are a few people here that would know better than I. I would enjoy hot chocolate (and have) in piazzi and campi in Florence, Rome and Venice. Italian hot chocolate is thick, sort of like the Parisian stuff.

For food shopping in Rome, you can visit the Mercato di Testaccio and the Mercato Trifonale. A quick google search turns up several articles on markets in Rome. In Florence, I love the Mercato Centrale and in Venice, of course you have the Rialto.

Sounds like fun.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 02:09 PM
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A typical winter hot drink in Italy is vin brulé, which is sweetened red wine boiled with cinnamon sticks, cloves, a whole nutmeg, orange peel, and sugar.
bvlenci is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 02:40 PM
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Rome is a great city that you could stay in for weeks. We stayed nine nights and still didn't see everything. You might consider a few day trips from Rome but check to see how the holidays might impact nearby places you may want to visit. Tivoli is home to Villa d'Este (which I wouldn't miss) and Hadrian's Villa. We enjoyed our day trip to Orvieto which is an easy train ride from Rome.

You could search lowcountryislander for her trip report on Rome over Christmas. Jamikins and Bikerscott always write great trip reports (and you already know the photos are incredible).
denisea is offline  
Oct 11th, 2017, 03:53 AM
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Great itinerary!
However, I don't agree with you on the point that 2-3 days is enough for Rome. Rome is ab big city and if you want to cover it all you need 10 days at least.If you want to explore the city and live like a local, then you need to sta at least a week.

Have a look here, it may help you to plan your shcedule: https://tripplannera.com/italy-rome-trip-planner

I'd recommend not to overwhelm your schedule as you are not going to stay for too long. Vatican is a great experience, however I think Venice would be more interesting during Christmas time than Florence.
Elina95 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2017, 08:49 AM
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I don't think it's too long in Rome. In 9 trips, I have spent approximately 75 days in Rome and have only taken 5 daytrips out of the city in that time! I was there over Christmas & New Year's in 2006 and had a great time. Note that many restaurants are closed on Christmas Day and quite a few on the 26th as well, so check that out.
SusanP is offline  

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