In December in Rome, the shopping streets are full and the museums are empty. There are many nativity scenes to see, festive streets and stores.
What’s on in Rome in December?
Enjoy the spirit of the Christmas season, stroll the shopping streets, visit museums and nativity scenes and enjoy the rustic Roman cuisine. Temperatures are mild and there is no frost.
There are concerts from classical music to current Italian youth culture and some nice Christmas markets.
Read also our latest information about COVID rules in Italy and in Rome.
December in Rome
Until the middle of the month there are hardly any tourists in Rome. Accommodation is therefore cheaper and even very good hotel can be booked cheaply. We always recommend choosing accommodation in the center, between the Spanish Steps and the Tiber River or even in Monti, between Via Nazionale and the Colosseum. You can then reach the most beautiful places on foot and rarely need public transport. Read our information about Hotels in Rome.
To get to know Rome, a tour with the open hop on hop off buses is a good idea. One round takes 90 minutes. December the buses leave every 25 to 50 minutes, depending on the line. Details about the lines can be found in our information about the hop on hop off buses.
Rome is a very green city. The temperatures are very pleasant for walks in one of the autumn Roman villas. There are many beautiful viewpoints in Rome that can be hiked, for example with a tour from Capitoline Hill to the Aventine. There are also many options for jogging, for example from the Tiber through Trastevere to Gianicolo Hill and Villa Pamphili, or from the city center to Villa Borghese.
How cold it is
The highest temperatures in December are in Rome at 15° C / 59° F, the minimum temperatures at 4° C / 39° F. 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.
Climate data December
|Sunshine hours Ø||3.5|
|Days with rain Ø||10|
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.
At the turn of the year there are often strong cold winds and in some years it can be quite uncomfortable with a long drizzle.
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, We 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 December between 7:19 and 7:38.
Italian fashion is known worldwide and everyone will envy you for your purchases.
In December, the shops are particularly attractive. They are beautifully decorated for Christmas and the shopping at the mild temperatures in Rome is very pleasant.
The luxury brands can be found around Via dei Condotti, which leads from the Spanish Steps to Via del Corso. Along Via del Corso you will find shops in all price ranges.
A special consumption temple is the department store La Rinascente in via del Tritone. In the basement you can visit the ancient aqueduct which supplies water to the Trevi Fountain and the fountains in Piazza Navona. On the roof terrace you have a wonderful view over the city.
Also in the side streets around Piazza Navona and around Campo de ‘Fiori there are many nice little shops and boutiques.
Other shopping streets are Via Cola di Rienzo and Via Appia. The Via Marconi and the Via Tuscolana as well as the newly built shopping centers are too far away from the center for most tourists. Read about shopping in Rome.
Spettacolo multimediale Welcome to Rome
Nel centro di Roma, tra il Vaticano e Piazza Navona, vi aspetta uno spettacolo cinematografico multidimensionale di 30 minuti e una mostra con modelli interattivi.
Keeping your distance is a necessary precaution. Avoid the queues and make a daily schedule. In our category 3 days in Rome you will find suggestions that you can combine with each other.
Since you have to reserve in advance at most museums, there are only queues at free attractions such as St. Peter’s Basilica and the Pantheon. Until mid-December, however, the risk of queues is low. There are almost always queues at ticket offices in airports and at the ticket machines. Bookings on the Internet are therefore the best choice.
Organize the journey from the airport to the hotel in advance and read our information about the metro and how you can get tickets quickly and easily.
Many museums can only be visited by reservation. These include the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums, the Colosseum, the Borghese Gallery and the museums of the Municipality of Rome. You can find information about the museums on our pages
St. Peter’s Basilica
Entry to St. Peter’s Basilica is free.
Priority entry to St. Peter’s Basilica is not available in December. This imposing building is definitely worth a tour. For more information read our pages on St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square and the history of St. Peter’s Basilica.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Basilica 7 am – 6:30 pm – dome 8 am – 5 am – treasure 9 a.m. – 5:15 pm
More information about St. Peter’s Basilica>
9 – 4 Closing 6:00 p.m. Admission until 5 p.m. on Dec. 8 + 9, 27-30. The Museums are closed on Sunday and Dec. 8. Free admission is Sunday Dec. 18.
Details on the Vatican Museums>
City museums and national museums
In Rome, some of the museums belong to the municipality and some to the state.
The city’s museums include the Capitoline Museums, Trajan’s Markets, Imperial Forums and numerous other museums. National museums include the Colosseum, Castel Sant’Angelo, Borghese Gallery and many more. For the full list of museums, opening times and tickets, see our Rome Museums page.
All museums run by the Municipality of Rome, such as the Capitoline Museums and the Trajan’s Markets, have free admission on December 4th. The entry time must be reserved by telephone +39060608. Admission is also free at the national museums, most of which do not require reservations.
Cinecittà si mostra Visit the dream factory of Roman cinema, Metro A Station Cinecittà Tickets
Stadium of the Domitian The stadium under Piazza Navona
Via di Tor Sanguigna 3 Tickets
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
Capuchin Crypt – Museum and Crypt of the Capuchins
Via Vittorio Veneto 27 Bus 52, 53, 61, 63, 80, 83, 160, n90, nMA (Barberini) Tickets
Leonardo da Vinci Experience – near St. Peter’s Square
LUCIO DALLA. Even if time passes
The exhibition is dedicated to the extraordinary human and artistic journey of the popular artist, telling 50 years of history.
Most of the material is exhibited for the first time, documenting the path of a narrator of life and sounds who, with biting irony and poetic vision, has conquered all hearts, not only as a musician, but also as an actor, writer, theater director and lover of sports and motor sports, dance, opera, painting and literature.
Ara Pacis Museum, Exhibition Room – until January 6, 2023
Pasolini Pittore is an exclusive exhibition project, completely new in its kind, conceived on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Pier Paolo Pasolini. It aims, more than forty years after the last complete publication on Pasolini the painter in 1978, to bring back attention to an important artistic aspect, often neglected by critics, in the overall context of the work of the writer and director.
The exhibition includes about two hundred works, most of which come from the Gabinetto Scientifico Letterario G.P. Vieusseux in Florence. They reconstruct Pasolini’s artistic career since the early 1940s and document the continuity of Pasolini’s painterly practice and his technical tenacity. In the end, the artist was always more interested in the “composition” – with its contours – than in the material, in line with that painterly phase of Italian art that, especially between the 1960s and 1970s, was increasingly defined also by its civic commitment.
Domitian Emperor. Hate and love
Domitian was the last emperor of the Flavian dynasty. Although his reign was quite successful, he finally fell victim to a conspiracy. 94 works in 15 halls tell his time and his story.
The exhibition is a co-production of the Sovrintendenza Capitolina and the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, with loans from London, Copenhagen, Paris, the Netherlands, Karlsruhe, Munich, Rome and Naples.
Capitoline Museums, Villa Caffarelli – until Jan. 29, 2023
VAN GOGH – Masterpieces from the Kröller-Müller Museum
In the run-up to the 170th anniversary of his birth, this exhibition and emotional journey, through an exceptional loan of 50 works – including his famous Self-Portrait (1887) – tells of his human and artistic life.
Special attention is given to the period of stay in Paris, in which Van Gogh devotes himself to an accurate color research in the wake of Impressionism and a new freedom in the choice of subjects, with the conquest of a more immediate and chromatically vivid language.
Palazzo Bonaparte, Piazza Venezia 5 – until March 26, 2023
The Colors of Antiquity. Santarelli Marbles at the Capitoline Museums
In two rooms of Palazzo Clementino at the Capitoline Museums, there is on display a broad overview of the use of colored marbles, from their origins to the 20th century, through a fine selection of pieces from the Santarelli Foundation.
Audiences of the Holy Father in December
General audiences of the Holy Father take place on Wednesdays at 9 am.
The Pope’s Angelus prayer takes place on Sundays and on December 8th at noon in St. Peter’s Square.
In December there are papal masses on Christmas Eve and on December 25th. There is also a Vesper in the afternoon of December 31st.
At noon on December 25th, the Pope gives the blessing to the city and the world Urbi et Orbi from the loggia delle benedizioni.
Wednesday 7 December 5 pm Inauguration of the Christmas crib in St. Peter’s Square
For more information see our article on Christmas in Rome
t.b.d. Musei in Musica A night of music in the museums of Rome
Participating: Capitoline Museums, Centrale Montemartini, Trajan’s Markets and many others
Christmas concert in the Vatican konzert im Vatikan
Recording December 17 7 pm Auditorio della Conciliazione website
Broadcast on Christmas Eve on Canale 5
19.12. Christmas Run for Sant’Egidio. Running for everyone at Villa Pamphili – 15 km – 8 km – 4 km. Groups with Pace Maker from 4’30″/ km to 8′ / km. Web https://www.christmasrun.it/wp/
Rome has a lively music scene. Many pubs and music venues offer live music, especially on weekends. Classical music can be found in many churches and palaces.
Rome’s Music Park
A jewel is the Parco della Musica, built by the internationally known architect Renzo Piano, in northern Rome on Via Flaminia. See all events here. Events and tickets
There are several auditoriums and an open-air stage in the Parco della Musica. There are performances in all styles.
Some events are also organized together with the Casa del Jazz. Events and Tickets Casa del JazzBus 160, 671, 714, 792
Largo Venue is a cultural center on Via Prenestina.
Palazzo dello Sport
The Palazzo dello Sport is a multifunctional hall where concerts are held regularly. It is located in Quartier EUR and is easily accessible by Metro B station Palasport.
The Roman Theater of Ostia Antica
Another spectacular venue is the Roman theater in the excavations of Ostia Antica. The theater was built in the time of Augustus with 3,000 seats and was expanded to 4,000 seats in the 2nd century.
In Rome and the surrounding area there are a few parks that offer a welcome change. However, in winter they are mostly only open on weekends and public holidays. The parks are decorated for Christmas and the children can get to know Santa Claus.
The Luneur Park offers many rides. It is located in the south of the city in the EUR district on Via Cristoforo Colombo. The opening times in winter are irregular, mostly Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., in summer daily until midnight. On the Luneur website you can see the calendar with the opening days. Bus connections are lines 30, 170, 714 and 791, Colombo / Agricoltura stop. From there it is 750m to the entrance on Via delle Tre Fontane 100.
Cinecittà World is a theme park with numerous rides. It is located next to the outlet center Castel Romano on Via Pontina between Rome and Pomezia. The park is open 11 – 19 on the following days: 3.+4.12, 8.-11.12, 17.+18.12, 25.-29.12. On New Year’s Eve the park is open until after midnight.
The shuttle bus departs from the ATAC stop in Viale America above the EUR/Palasport metro station on line B from 10:30, 14:30, 18:30 – return 19, 21:30, 0:30. Another shuttle bus departs from Termini, via Giolitti 48, to the outlet center next door in Castel Romano, departing 9, 10, 12, returning 16, 18:30, 19:30. Cinecittà World tickets
Excursions around Rome
Rome has beautiful surroundings. The Romans go to the seaside or the mountains for a good meal on weekends.
The seafood restaurants by the sea are also well attended in December. There is a rustic kitchen in the mountains that goes well with the cooler temperatures. With a little luck you can even go skiing.
You can reach many destinations by public transport.
Excursions to the sea
If you want to see the sea, just go to Ostia Lido. A ticket for city traffic is sufficient for the journey and on the way you can visit the excavations of the old port city of Ostia Antica.
Excursions in the mountains
The most famous summer residence of the Romans in Castel Gandolfo. The popes spent the summer here at an altitude of around 400 m. Pope Francis, however, remains in Rome and the palace and gardens at Castel Gandolfo can be visited.
You can get to Castel Gandolfo by train from Roma Termini or from Ciampino with a 3-zone ticket. The train station is located on the volcanic hill between Lake Albano and the village.
With the high-speed trains that are punctual to the minute, Florence and Naples are only around 1 ½ hours away. With our tips you can put together your own day tour or book an organized tour. Take a day to stroll around Florence and see the world famous Uffizi Gallery. Or visit the excavations in Pompeii and see Vesuvius, which is still active today and buried the city under its ashes.
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