The Christmas holidays are an enchanting time to visit Rome, when the weather is typically not too cold and the city is alive with festive cheer, adorned with lights across both boulevards and winding medieval streets. In addition to the La Befana Christmas market in Piazza Navona, filled with sweets, handicraft gifts, supplies for making your own presepio of every type, and a carousel, the city sets up a small ice rink in the park behind Castel Sant’Angelo.
The Christmas holidays are celebrated in Rome from the Feast of Immaculate Conception on December 8, when the pope processes to the Spanish Steps from the Vatican to lay a wreath of flowers at the statue of the Virgin Mary, to the Epiphany on January 6, when La Befana brings gifts to children, placing them in the shoes they have left out for her. On Christmas Eve, the nativity scene in the piazza at St. Peter’s is revealed, and families will enjoy touring the other nativity scenes (presepi) of significance throughout the city, such as one of the oldest known presepi at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the exhibit of 100 presepi in Piazza del Popolo.
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