The birth of the Lord is the focus of the religious holidays and many pilgrims come.
The heavy Roman cuisine is perfect for winter time. You can get to know many delicious specialties. Walks through the festively lit city are very atmospheric.
Museums opening hours
Colosseum Rome December
Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine are closed on December 25th 8:30 – 15:30 Closing 16:30. Details about the Colosseum Tickets>
On the 1st and 18th of December, admission to the Colosseum is free and no reservation is possible. Due to the high demand, there are long waiting times for the issue of free tickets as well as for the security check. On December 25, the Colosseum’s Archeopark is closed.
On Sunday, December 1st, admission to all National Museums is free. Any other day with free admission will be decided by each museum itself. All information and opening times can be found in the list of museums.
Tickets for the National Museums
Vatican Museums Rome December
For the Vatican Museums you should buy the tickets well in advance. Otherwise you risk long waiting times at the cash register. Details about the Vatican Museums>
Tickets Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
When is St. Peter's closed in December
7 – 18:30
St. Peter’s Basilica is closed during the pope’s celebrations, for which you need invitations.
These are in December:
Masses: 12.12. 18:00, 24.12. 21:30, 31.12. 17:00.
General audiences: 4.12., 11.12., 18.12.
Urbi et Orbi 25.12. 12:00 (free entrance).
Details can be found at the monthly events.
23.11.-1.12. ROMA ANTIQUARIA Antique Fair
Mon-Fri 15-20 Sat-Sun 10-20 Fiera di Roma – Rome Fair Train FL1 direction Fiumicino airport
You need invitation cards for all the Pope’s Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica and for the General Audiences.
1.12. 12:00 Angelus prayer of the Pope
4.12. Papal general audience
5.12. 16:30 Inauguration of the crib on St. Peter’s Square
8.12. 12:00 Angelus prayer of the Pope
10.-12.12. Newspace Economy Forum on space technology
Fiera di Roma – Rome Fair Train FL1 direction Fiumicino airport
11.12. Papal general audience
12.12. 18:00 Pope’s Mass St. Peter’s Basilica, Beata Vergine Maria di Guadalupe
15.12. 12:00 Angelus prayer of the Pope
12.-15.12. Arti e mestieri Arts and Crafts – Fair for craftsmen from all regions of Italy
10-20 Fiera di Roma – Rome Fair Train FL1 direction Fiumicino airport
13.-15.12. Roma Archery Trophy
Fiera di Roma – Rome Fair Train FL1 direction Fiumicino airport
18.12. Papal general audience
22.12. 12:00 Angelus prayer of the Pope
24.12. 21:30 St. Peter’s Basilica, Christmas Mass
25.12. 12:00 St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benediction Urbi et Orbi
26.12. 12:00 Angelus prayer of the Pope
29.12. 12:00 Angelus prayer of the Pope
31.12. 14:00 Baths of Caracalla, New Year’s Eve Run We Run Rome 10km and 5km
31.12. 17:00 St. Peter’s Basilica, Vesper and Te Deum
Galleria Colonna – one of the largest ancient private palaces in Rome. The most beautiful rooms of the palace and the art collection of the family with artists from the 15th and 16th centuries such as Pinturicchio, Cosmè Tura, Carracci, Guido Reni, Tintoretto, Salvator Rosa, Bronzino, Guercino, Veronese, Vanvitelli
Via della Pilotta 17 (near Piazza Venezia) Bus 51, 60, 63, 80, 83, 85, 160, 170, H, n5, n8, n11, n90, n543, n716 (Piazza Venezia) Tickets
Via Vittorio Veneto 27 Bus 52, 53, 61, 63, 80, 83, 160, n90, nMA (Barberini) Tickets
Piazza del Popolo 12 Metro A, Tram 2, Bus 61, 89, 160, 490, 495, 628, nMA (Flaminio) Roma – Viterbo Tickets
Ex Barracks Guido Reni, Via Guido Reni 7 Hall X Tram 2 Apollodoro or Flaminia/Reni Tickets
Ex Barracks Guido Reni, Via Guido Reni 7 Hall 11 + 12 Tram 2 Apollodoro or Flaminia/Reni Tickets
Gioiello. Intimo colloquio, jewels and sculptures in the Villa Torlonia, Casina delle Civette
Tuesday – Sunday 9-19 Via Nomentana Bus Nomentana/Villa Torlonia 60, 66, 82
National Gallery of Modern Art Tuesday – Sunday 8:30am – 7:30pm via delle belle arti 131 Tram 3, 19 Galleria Arte Moderna
Colors of the Etruscans, Treasures in terracotta in the Centrale Montemartini, Via Ostiense 106, Metro B Garbatella, Bus 23, 769, 792 Ostiense/Garbatella Tickets
via Enrico de Nicola 79 Termini train station, Metro A Repubblica Tickets
Piazza del Colosseo Metro B Colosseo Tickets
Palazzo Bonaparte – at Piazza Venezia Tickets
Bacon, Freud, La scuola di Londra, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, two giants of painting for the first time in Italy in a joint exhibition Chiostro del Bramante Bus 30, 70, 81, 87, 492, 628, C3 Zanardelli
Canova, eternal beauty, an exhibition of international collections, Museo di Roma Tuesday – Sunday 9-19 Piazza Navona
The sculptor Canova (1757-1822) with his marble figures is one of the main representatives of Italian classicism. Exhibition at the Museo di Roma Palazzo Braschi in Piazza Navona. Tickets for Palazzo Braschi
The music park of Rome
The Parco della Musica has several auditoriums and an open air theater. Here you find performances in all styles.
Harlem Gospel Choir 25.12. 17:30 – 21:30
South Carolina Mass Choir 26.12. 21:00
Dennis Reed & Gap 27.12. 21:00, 28.12. 21:00 29.12. 18:00
Danell Daymon & Greater Works 30.12. 21:00, 31.12. 22:00
Practical tips for Rome December
Climate and clothing
The highest temperatures in December are in Rome at 15° C, the minimum temperatures at 4° C. In the morning the air is cold and there may be fog. As long as the sun is shining, it is pleasant. It’s cold in the evening and at night.
It can rain occasionally in December and there can be lightning storms. The rain does not last long, but it is very intense. Everything gets submerged within a few minutes and you have to find a shelter. After 15 or 30 minutes, everything is usually over again.
Since you spend a lot of time outdoors in Rome, you need warm clothing and rainwear. Also important in Rome are comfortable shoes, as you will be walking a lot and the walkways are often bumpy.
Rome for early risers
Of course, it takes some overcoming to get up in the dark. Nevertheless, I would like to recommend that you start a day early in the morning. There is very little traffic in Rome until six o’clock in the morning and you can take beautiful photos of monuments and squares undisturbed. With a little luck, you’ll find a misty morning that offers beautiful and unique photo opportunities. The sunrise is in Rome in November between 7:18 and 7:38.
The early morning is also the best time to jog.
Mid season in Rome, what you should consider
In any case, I would advise you to take a guided tour, because otherwise you will not be able to capture many of the details of the basilica with its more than 1,500-year history. If you book the tour in advance on the Internet, you can pass the queue at the security checkpoint with priority granted by the visitor service of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Trevi Fountain often attracts so many visitors that it has to be closed for security reasons. Book a hotel in the center and visit the fountains and squares before breakfast when no other visitors are there. This is a unique experience!
Very usful are the Hop on hop off buses, especially between the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colosseum and Castel Sant’Angelo. The buses run at regular intervals and are more reliable than public transport.
If you are walking in the center, choose one of the small romantic back streets with less traffic. I have prepared some tips with half-day programs in the category Three days in Rome.
In Rome there is an interesting street food scene and of course the best pizza al taglio. Even in December, it is worthwhile to eat a good ice cream. The best ice cream parlors offer flavor variations for every season. For dinner, the Romans spend more time. It can take several hours between appetizer and dessert. There is a lot of fish and grilled. The heavy Roman Cuisine is very suitable for December. Book a street food tour to get a good introduction.
Also in December it is a good idea to take the train from the pyramid to Ostia and have a nice dinner by the sea.
It’s a good idea to take a day to explore Rome’s surroundings.
Very popular is the drive to the sea to Ostia with the local train from the pyramid (Metro B) to Ostia Lido. On the way you can see the interesting archaeological excavations in Ostia Antica.
Here you will find a complete trading city with theater. The theater stages some concerts still today.
When the weather is nice, you can take a walk on the beach and enjoy the fresh salty sea air. Read also my Day trip to Ostia