By Megan Millisky
In December, the city of Rome illuminates with glowing Christmas lights and decorations. There is a wide variety of activities to choose from. Take advantage of free days at Rome's best historical sites, or catch a puppet show at the San Carlino theatre. Attend a tango festival or spend a night at the opera. Here is your guide to all the festive fun happening in Rome this December.
1. A Christmas Carol at San Carlino Puppet Theatre
See this classic Christmas tale at the San Carlino Puppet Theatre. The show is perfect for young children! The venue is located near many other common Roman tour sites.
2. Free Days at Roman Historical Sites
This December, some of Rome’s most amazing sites are free to visit! You can visit the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum for free on December 1 and 18. Or, check out Borghese Gallery or Baths of Caracalla on other select days in December.
3. Celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
December 8, Roman Catholics pay homage to the Virgin Mary with a prayer at Piazza Mignanelli. Expect huge crowds - roads are closed but shops remain open. The Pope comes to Piazza Mignanelli to pray and place a wreath on the statue of Madonna.
4. Filarmonica d’Opera di Roma
Hear the sounds of the season when you visit Rome’s Filarmonica. An orchestra accompanied by singers dressed in 18th-century clothing. Performances are from December 31-January 1.
5. Italian Instrumental Taste Festival
December 10, enjoy classical music by Vivaldi, Verdi, Bartók and Marcello. This lovely show takes place at a world-famous chapel, Sagrestia del Borromini.
6. See the Vatican City and the Pope
The Pope will deliver mass on select days in December. These events are free, but tickets can be difficult to get, especially for masses on Christmas and the days leading up to the holiday. Historic Vatican City is decked out in beautiful decorations and lights.
7. Rome Tango Festival
Dance the tango while in you’re in Rome! This energetic festival runs from December 12-16. Dancers can attend a tango brunch or an intensive tango session. The festival welcomes guests from all over the world to dance along!
8. Christmas Opera Concert in Rome
Enjoy a classic Italian Opera in the Methodist Church of Ponte Sant’Angelo. Get swept away listening to romantic piano music or classical Italian Opera on December 22. After the show, sip Prosecco and meet the musicians.
9. Vatican Museums Free Admission Day
While the Vatican museums, including the Sistine Chapel, are open most days of the year, there is usually a fee to get in. But if you want to save money, check out the Vatican Museums on December 24, when they’re free to the public.
Address: Viale Vaticano, 00165 Roma RM, Italy
10. New Year’s Eve at Circus Maximus
New Year’s Eve Festivities begin at Circus Maximus around 9 PM on December 31. There will be a theatrical performance followed by fireworks. The event, at Rome’s largest hippodrome, is free to attend.