Rome December 2020: Enjoy the atmosphere of the Christmas season, stroll through the shopping streets, visit museums and nativity scenes and enjoy the rustic Roman cuisine. The temperatures are mild and there is no frost.
The problem with the coronavirus leads to restrictions decided at short notice. The current regulations and information on opening times of museums, restaurants and shops can be found on our page on the corona crisis. There have always been fewer cases in Rome than in other regions of Italy. If you follow the rules, you can be confident that you will be safe in Rome. Read what is planned in Rome in December and how you have to organize yourself.
Basically, one of the COVID precautionary measures is to avoid crowds and queues. You can find the current regulations in our article on Coronavirus in Rome.
You should therefore book everything on the Internet as far as possible.
The public transport in Rome is hopelessly overwhelmed and there is no working timetable. Only a few lines, such as lines 40 and 64 between Termini and the Vatican, run regularly. Take this into account when planning and choosing your accommodation. Book your accommodation in the city center, in Monti near the Colosseum or in the vicinity of the Vatican.
The Roman center is not very big and you can walk to many attractions. Read in our article Hotels in Rome which neighborhoods are best for your accommodation.
St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica opening times in December
St. Peter’s Basilica is closed during the Pope’s celebrations on Christmas Eve, on the morning of December 25th and on the afternoon of December 31st. The opening times are:
St. Peter’s Basilica 7am-6:30pm – dome 8am-6pm – Cathedral Treasure 9am-6:15pm
Vatican Museums opening hours in Decdember
Monday – Thursday
8:30am – 6pm
Friday – Saturday
8:30am – 8pm
They are closed every Sunday and on December 8th, 25th and 26th.
There is a bus tour for the Vatican Gardens that leaves from St. Peter’s Basilica to the left. You can only take part in the bus tour with a reservation.
Museums opening hours
Reservation is compulsory for the Colosseum, Vatican Museums, Borghese Gallery and all museums in the Municipality of Rome.
Reservations for the Borghese Gallery must be made with the Roma Pass on +39 06 32810. Since the gallery is usually booked out well in advance, we recommend buying tickets directly.
All museums are closed on December 25th. On December 24th, some of the opening times will be reduced.
Tickets for the national museums
Tickets for the museums of the Municipality of Rome
For the museums of the Municipality of Rome, such as the Capitoline Museums and the Trajan Markets, book by phone +39 060608
All museums run by the Municipality of Rome, such as the Capitoline Museums and the Trajan’s Markets, have free admission on December 6th. The entry time must be reserved by telephone. +39 060608
This does not apply to the National Museums such as the Colosseum or the Baths of Caracalla.
Pope audiences in December
General audiences of the Holy Father take place on Wednesdays at 9:30 am with the exception of December 23rd. The audiences are not expected to be public. They are expected to take place in the Library of the Apostolic Palace and will be broadcast on the Internet. Current information can be found on our page on the papal audience. You can follow the broadcast live on our Papal Audience live page.
In December there are papal masses on Christmas Eve and on December 25th. There is also a Vesper in the afternoon of December 31st. These celebrations are not public and are broadcast on the internet.
The Pope’s Angelus prayer takes place on Sundays and on December 8th and 26th at noon. The Angelus on December 26th and 27th will be broadcast from the library of the Apostolic Palace.
At noon on December 25th, the Pope gives the blessing to the city and the world Urbi et Orbi. The blessing is transmitted from the Aula delle Benedizioni, which is located above the porch of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Romarama replaces the Roman summer this year. Due to the compulsory break, events are planned until the end of the year. Details on Romarama>
9.-11.12. Newspace Economy Forum on space technology
Fiera di Roma – Rome Fair Train FL1 towards Fiumicino Airport
10.-13.12. Maker Faire inventors’ fair
Fiera di Roma – Rome Fair Train FL1 towards Fiumicino Airport
20.12. 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.
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
20-2 1 €
Christmas concert in the Vatican
until December 13th, 2020 Back to nature, 10 works of art in the park of Villa Borghese
Parco dei Daini, Loggia dei Vini, vor Casina della Meridiana, Museo Carlo Bilotti, Museo Pietro Canonica.
Villa Borghese Metro A Spagna, Bus 61, 89, 160, 490, 495, 590
until January 10th, 2021 Per Gioco
The toy collection of the Sovrintendenza Capitolina in the Museo di Roma
until January 11th, 2021 Il tempo di Caravaggio
Exhibition in the Capitoline Museums of the works of the world-famous painter
until June 27th, 2021 I Marmi Torlonia. Collezionare Capolavori
The legendary marble collection of the Torlonia family, exhibition in the Capitoline Museums, Villa Caffarelli
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
Banksy A Visual Protest
Over 90 works tell the world of Banksy. See the works of the unknown artist Banksy, who conquered the world with irony and sharpness, in the monastery built by the Italian architect Bramante in the 16th century.
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 7:19 and 7:38.
The early morning is also the best time to jog.
Italian fashion is known worldwide and everyone will envy you for your purchases.
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.
The heavy Roman cuisine goes perfectly with the cold season. In our Food category you will find tips on street food, pizza, the best ice cream parlors that offer creations to match the winter, but also on very elegant restaurants.
Excursions around Rome
The seafood restaurants by the sea are also well attended in December. There can be snow in the mountains and there is a rustic kitchen that goes well with the cold temperatures.
You can reach many destinations by public transport. It is of course more convenient to rent a car. Rental cars in Rome often do not have winter tires and you have to book snow chains if you want to drive into the mountains.
Excursions to the sea
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 on the volcanic hill between Lake Albano and the village.