Things to Do in Rome in January

Posted by & filed under Rome.

If you’re planning on a trip to Rome in January, this post will provide several different ideas for things to do while you’re in the ancient city. In addition to a top 10 list, we will also cover various free things to do, things to do at night and family-friendly activities.

 


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO

The following section will cover our top 10 things to do in Rome during the month of January. Whenever possible, we will note if any of these attractions/events are either free, fun after dark or family-friendly activities.

To get an idea of the most popular activities in Rome, check our list of walking tours and bus tours. If you want to see some of the most famous sites in the city, read our posts about going to the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums.

Don’t forget that several of the activities below are either cheaper or free with the help of a Rome tourist pass.

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Best Travel Deals for Black Friday 2018

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Dubai, Dublin, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, San Francisco, Washington DC.

This post will help you navigate through the myriad of discounts, specials and Black Friday deals for 2018 so you can continue to explore!Name Your Own Price Walking Tours

Keep in mind that our name your own price walking tours are always budget friendly in any of our cities and we have special blog posts to cover visiting on a budget or how to enter certain attractions for free with a tourist discount pass!

In addition to great savings on Black Friday, we’ll offer some Small Business Saturday savings to support local vendors we love, and keep an eye out through until next week for what some people are calling Travel Deal Tuesdays!

Read more »

Things to Do at Night in Rome

Posted by & filed under Rome.

In this post, we will provide several different ideas for fun activities that you can enjoy in Rome after dark. In addition to a list of our top 10 things to do, there will also be sections devoted to free things to do at night and family-friendly attractions you can enjoy even after the sun goes down.

Top 10
Free Things to Do at Night
Family-Friendly Activities
Honorable Mentions
Free Things to Do in Rome
Free Tours By Foot

 


Top 10

The following section features the ten most interesting things you can do at night in Rome. We will note when any of these ideas are also either free or great for families.

If you’re looking for even more fun activities that don’t cost anything, make sure to check our post about free things to do in Rome.

Visitors who are interested in sightseeing might also want to check our posts about the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and the Vatican Museums.

You may want to consider getting a discount pass for access to the most popular attractions in the city. For more information, please read our post about Roman tourist passes.


1) Take a Night Tour

One of the best ways to spend a night in Rome is to do a little sightseeing. Many notable and historic landmarks in this city are lit up after dark, and you can take a tour which covers the most important locations. You can expect to see sites such as the Colosseum, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain and more.

There are fully guided tours available from a variety of tour companies, but you can also take a self-guided tour. In addition to both of these options, you might also want to consider an audio tour after the sun goes down.

If you’re interested in a guided tour, visit this page for a list of Rome night tours.

For additional details about taking a self-guided or audio tour, check our post about free things to do in Rome.


2) Go to a Concert

No matter when you come to Rome, chances are there will be a concert happening somewhere in the city.

The most popular concerts feature classical music being played by symphonies or sung by notable artists such as the Three Tenors. That said, popular musicians also frequently perform more modern hits at various locations around the city. No matter what type of music you enjoy, chances are you’ll find a great concert to attend.

Check the schedule at the following venues for the best and most interesting concerts in Rome:

  • Auditorium Parco della Musica
  • St. Paul’s Within the Walls
  • PalaLottomattica
  • Traffic Live Club
  • The Monk Club
  • Atlantico
  • And More!

3) See a Football Game

If you’re a sports fan, the city of Rome has two excellent football teams to support: AS Roma and SS Lazio. Both teams play in Olympic Stadium at various times throughout the year. No matter when you choose to visit, chances are you’ll have an opportunity to see one of these two teams playing a live game.

Check the following schedules to find out when their next match will be held:

NOTE: This is a great activity for families, and the nearby Video Game Museum also appeals to a family audience. If you’re interested in both attractions, keep in mind that admission to the VIGAMUS museum is actually free with the Rome Turbo Pass.


4) Go on a Dinner Cruise

There are a few companies that offer a dinner cruise on the River Tiber. Considering that this river winds its way right through the heart of Rome, going on a cruise is a great way to see the city. See sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica, Castel Sant’Angelo, the Colosseum and more while enjoying a nice meal. This is also a great activity for anyone who wants to spend a romantic night out with their significant other.

For more details, check this list of dinner cruises on the River Tiber.

TIP: You can save 20% on cruise tickets with the Rome City Pass.


5) See an Opera

Rome has a wonderful theatre known as Teatro dell’Opera which routinely offers at least a few different operas, ballets and other shows each month. This theatre usually sticks to the classics, so you can expect familiar stories such as Swan Lake, Carmen, Don Quixote and more.

During the summer, Teatro dell’Opera runs a special series of concerts and operas which take place at the Baths of Caracalla. This is a rare opportunity to see a show at one of the most historic landmarks in Rome. If you plan on visiting from May – August, keep an eye out for this incredible opportunity.

NOTE: The Rome Turbo Pass offers discounts on admission to operas and the Baths of Caracalla. This is a great way to save money on several different activities.


6) Go to the Colosseum

You might be surprised to find that you can actually visit the Colosseum after dark. Several companies offer night tours of this historic site, covering a lot of ground that you won’t even see on the typical self-guided visit.

This is an excellent opportunity to see a side of this popular landmark that few will ever discover. Ticket prices can be somewhat expensive, but many reviewers indicate that this experience is worth the additional cost.

For more details about this night tour, check our post about visiting the Colosseum.


7) Visit the Vatican

Much like the Colosseum, you can also visit the Vatican Museums at night. This opportunity is usually only available in the spring and summer, and tickets can be difficult to get. Luckily, even if you can’t secure admission from the Vatican Museums, you might still be able to purchase tickets for a guided night tour from a trustworthy tour company.

Night tickets will allow you to visit between the hours of 7 pm – 11 pm. Guests who have taken advantage of this opportunity report that the crowds are much more manageable and not as hectic after dark as they are during the day.

To learn more about night tickets, read our post about visiting the Vatican Museums.


8) See a Musical

In addition to Teatro dell’Opera, there are several other theatres in Rome where you can go to see musicals, plays and other live performances. If you’re interested in seeing a more modern tale played out on stage, consider visiting one of the following venues:

  • Teatro Sistina
  • Teatro Eliseo
  • Teatro Argentina
  • Teatro Brancaccio
  • Teatro della Cometa
  • And More!

TIP: The Rome Turbo Pass includes discounts on theatre tickets. If you’re planning to use this service anyways, you might want to check and see if you can use it for discount tickets to one of the theatres listed above.


9) Experience Aperitivo

If you’re going to be spending some time in Rome, you might want to try an authentic Italian tradition: the Aperitivo. This is a special event which includes drinks and a buffet-style meal. The typical Aperitivo starts at about 7 pm and lasts for a few hours, so it’s a perfect activity to enjoy at night.

Visitors from out of town might want to get some guidance from a local. Thankfully, there are several guided tours you can take which will help you to learn all about the Aperitivo.

NOTE: This is an excellent idea for a night out with your significant other.


10) Get a Tourist Pass

There are a lot of great nighttime activities included with the various tourist passes offered in Rome. If you’re looking for fun things to do after dark, the Rome Turbo Pass is an especially good option. Here are a few examples of attractions and services you can enjoy either for free or at a discount with this pass.

  • Castel Sant’Angelo
  • Borghese Gallery
  • Rome Travel Pass
  • Rome Film Festival
  • Theatre Tickets
  • Concert Tickets
  • Opera Tickets
  • And More!

If you plan on visiting any of the locations listed above or you want to save money on even more things to do at night, consider getting the Rome Turbo Pass.

 


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Free Things to Do

In this section, we will provide a few additional ideas for free things to do at night in Rome. If you want even more affordable activities, make sure to read our full post of free things to do in Rome.

Although it isn’t free, you could save enough money with a tourist pass that it would more than pay for itself. At that point, every additional activity you enjoy while using the pass would be entirely free! For more details, check our post about Roman tourist passes.

 


Domenica al Museo

On the first Sunday of each month, museums and historic landmarks around Rome open their doors to the public for free. This event is known as Domenica al Museo, and although some of the included locations close before it gets too dark, there are a few sites with hours as late as 7:30 pm – 8 pm.

If you’re looking for something interesting to do in the early evening on Domenica al Museo, consider heading to the top of Castel Sant’Angelo to get a view of Rome during sunset. Locations such as Palazzo Venezia, the Baths of Caracalla and MAXXI are also open until at least 7 pm, giving you ample opportunity to visit as the daylight fades.

For a list of additional attractions included on Domenica al Museo, read our post about free things to do in Rome.


See the Fountains of Rome

There are a lot of beautiful and historic fountains in Rome. Many of them are lit up after dark, making them glow and ensuring they are easier to see at night. Since you don’t need to enter any building to see them, you can easily do a self-guided walk and enjoy the most beloved baroque fountains in the city at your own leisure once the sun goes down.

Here are a few of the sites you should consider visiting:

NOTE: Trevi Fountain is close to venues like Teatro Sistina, Teatro Eliseo and other notable theatres. If you’re planning to see a musical, you might want to consider visiting this location either before or after the show.


Head to the Testaccio Market

During the summer and fall months, Testaccio Market holds what they call “Open Days.” This is an event where the market remains open late into the night.

In addition to the later hours, there are also usually live musical performances and special services offered by businesses in the area. For example, this is the only time that you can get a good cut of meat from the butcher and watch them cook it for you on site!

It might not be free if you plan to purchase a few things while shopping at Testaccio Market, but you don’t necessarily have to buy anything to enjoy the music and look around.

TIP: This marketplace is pretty close to historic sites like Circus Maximus and the Baths of Caracalla. If you have any interest in visiting either location, consider heading out to these landmarks before going to an Open Day at Testaccio Market.

 


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Family-Friendly Activities

This section will focus on attractions you can enjoy with your family after dark in Rome. If you’re looking for more ideas, make sure to check our other sections for activities such as Open Days at Testaccio Market, seeing the fountains of Rome, going to a musical, enjoying an opera or heading to a football game.

Families who are looking for more things to do at night should consider getting a Rome tourist pass to save money on a variety of popular activities.

 


Go to a Gladiator Show

Even though the age of gladiators has long since ended, there is still at least one location in Rome where you can see a live recreation of gladiatorial combat.

Gruppo Storico Romano has a small arena near Appian Way where you can take the family to see a Gladiator Show during the summer. This is a fairly limited event, but it’s definitely an excellent experience if you happen to visit Rome at the right time.

In addition to the Gladiator Show, Gruppo Storico Romano also provides something called Gladiator School for young children. This class gives your kids the opportunity to find out what life was like during the period where this type of battle was popular.

TIP: If you’re going to be in the area, consider taking a walk down Appian Way. This is a free activity and there are a lot of notable sites to see along this historic road.


Enjoy Dinner at a Cat Bistro

If you have a family full of cat lovers, a trip to the Romeow Cat Bistro is an absolute must. This is a location where friendly felines will join you for your meal. In addition to serving a variety of dishes earlier in the day, they also offer dinner in the evening.

This bistro has some of the most unique and high quality dishes of any restaurant in Rome, so you can expect a slightly higher price for your meal. It will also be important to make a reservation ahead of time to ensure that you’ve got a table.

This is an excellent opportunity for families who are interested in a more classy meal to bring the kids out for a special experience.

NOTE: If you’re looking for a more affordable opportunity to spend some time with cats, head to the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. This location is free to visit and there are several happy kitties in the area.


Take the Kids to the Zoo

At the Northern end of Villa Borghese, you will find Bioparco di Roma. This is Rome’s zoo, and they are open until the early evening during the spring and summer. Although it’s not technically open after dark, this could be a great way to spend the end of the day with your family.

While you’re there, you can expect to see camels, kangaroos, crocodiles, emus, flamingos, owls, and many other interesting animals. There are also special events held every month, so make sure to check their calendar before heading out to see if there’s anything going on when you plan to visit.

TIP: You can get a discount on tickets to Bioparco di Roma with the Rome Turbo Pass. If you’re already planning to use a tourist pass, this could be a great way to save money on a fun activity for you and your family.


Take a Cooking Class

If you’re trying to teach your children how to cook, Eataly of Rome can help with that. Although a majority of their classes are taught in Italian, they do have some courses for children which are taught in English.

This is an excellent opportunity to give your kids a fun and educational experience which will make it easier for them to safely help in the kitchen whenever you make a meal.

In addition to the basic fundamental cooking courses, they also provide special classes about how to prepare classic Italian pizzas and chocolate. No matter what you or your family like to eat, chances are they’ve got a class that can help you make your favorite food even better.

 


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Honorable Mentions

If you still haven’t found an activity you want to do at night, consider one of the following options. These are attractions that we simply couldn’t fit on the top 10, but they are still excellent ideas.

For more fun things to do at night in Rome, look into getting a Roman tourist pass.

 


Go to the Borghese Gallery

Although they don’t have late hours, this beloved museum does stay open until 7 pm on most nights and until 9 pm on Thursdays. You won’t be able to stay all night, but you can definitely start your evening here without any problem. If you’re going to be in the area on a Thursday, this is a wonderful opportunity to see some of the most famous artwork in all of Rome after dark.

Tickets for the Borghese Gallery aren’t too terribly expensive, but you can actually get admission for free or save money at this attraction with the Omnia Vatican and Rome Card, the Rome Turbo Pass, the Roma Pass and other popular Roman tourist passes.


Experience Wine Tasting

In addition to the cooking classes they offer, Eataly also provides wine tasting courses. If you’re in the mood to try some of the finest wines in all of Italy, this is a great opportunity that you won’t want to miss. Wine tasting classes are offered at least once a week, so there’s a very good chance that they’ll have one available while you’re visiting Rome.

Some classes focus on white wine, but others provide a variety of red wines to try out. During each course, a professional Sommelier or chef will explain details such as how to taste wine, what foods to pair it with, and how to properly serve it to guests.

NOTE: Eataly’s Italian headquarters are very close to Appian Way. You may want to consider taking a walk down this ancient road either before or after your wine tasting class.


See the Capuchin Crypt

If you’re in the mood for a spookier experience, consider going to the famous Capuchin Crypt after hours. This is the location of the bone chapel, a famous and somewhat creepy catacomb full of human bones which have been creatively placed throughout the crypt. Some may consider it a bit macabre, but many actually consider this a rather holy place.

No matter what your reasons are for visiting, this is an excellent activity that you can enjoy after dark. Several companies provide guided tours of the Capuchin Crypt at night. Check this list of Capuchin Crypt tours and find one that fits both your schedule and your budget.

TIP: If you’re interested in visiting this location, you may also want to see some of the other catacombs in and around Rome. Many of them are easy to find on Appian Way.


Head to a Rooftop Bar

There are several popular rooftop bars in Rome which offer both excellent drinks and an incredible view of the city after dark.

No matter which location you choose, the views from above are sure to be breathtaking once the sun goes down. Most of the ancient city will be dark, but chances are that you’ll be able to discern some of the more notable landmarks as they are often lit up at night.

Whether you just want a night cap or you’re looking for fantastic views, take a look at this list of the best Rooftop Bars in Rome to find a good place to grab a drink after dark.


Take a Ghost Tour

Even if a trip to the Capuchin Crypt doesn’t sound like the best idea, you may still want to consider taking a ghost tour in Rome. With a history stretching back thousands of years, this city has a lot of creepy tales to tell.

On a fully guided ghost tour you’ll learn about some of the more disturbing things that have happened in this ancient city over the centuries. Many of these outings will take you to locations such as the Trajan Forum, the Colosseum and Castel Sant’Angelo.

If this sounds like an interesting activity, check this list of Roman ghost tours to find one that fits both your schedule and budget.

 


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Free Things to Do in Rome

Free Things to Do in Rome

Posted by & filed under Rome.

This post will cover some of the most fun and interesting activities you can enjoy for free in Rome. In addition to a list of our top 10 free attractions, we will also include sections with family-friendly ideas, things to do at night and almost free opportunities.

 

 


Top 10 Free Things to Do 

The following section will provide a list of the ten most interesting and fun activities you can enjoy in Rome for free. We’ll make sure to mention whenever any of these ideas are also family-friendly or great after dark.

If you’re looking for information about the most popular activities in Rome, make sure to read our post about visiting the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and our article covering the Vatican Museums.

Several of the historic landmarks we will mention in this post are included with various Roman tourist passes. Although there are opportunities to see many of these sites for free, you may want to consider this option to avoid large crowds. Read more »

Things to Do in Rome in December

Posted by & filed under Rome.

The following post will provide several different ideas for fun activities you can enjoy in Rome throughout the month of December. In addition to our top 10 list, we will also include several free attractions, things to do at night and family-friendly opportunities.

 


Top 10

In this section, we will provide our top ten list of the best activities in Rome during the month of December. Many of these attractions and events are either free, perfect for families, or great after dark.

If you’re looking for help finding the most popular activities in Rome, check our list of walking tours and bus tours. Visitors who want to see the most famous sites in the city should check our posts about going to the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums.

Keep in mind that several of the activities below are either cheaper or free with the help of a Rome tourist pass.


1) Take a Walking Tour

December is one of the best times to take a walking tour in Rome. Not only is this the beginning of the slow season for tourism, but there are also a lot of fantastic Christmas decorations being put up around many of the historic sites that are included on walking tours.

In addition to tours of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, you can also take a tour of Rome’s city centre. Alternatively, you may want to consider taking a guided walk through the Vatican Museums.

Some of these walking tours are either free or pay-what-you-wish, so this is a great way to save money while exploring the city and learning about the history of Rome.

NOTE: If you’re interested in touring the city, this would also be a good time to take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour. There won’t be as many people on the bus in December, so you’ll have a better chance to get a good seat and enjoy your experience.


2) Go to a Concert

Music lovers will be happy to hear that there are several concerts taking place in Rome throughout the month of December. No matter what your favorite genre is, chances are you’ll find a great show to attend. Here are a few of the more notable bands that will be performing:

  • Dire Straits Legacy (Dec 3rd)
  • Electric Ethno Jazz Trio (Dec 7th)
  • Enrico Nigiotti (Dec 10th)
  • Caracas (Dec 17th)
  • A Perfect Circle (Dec 19th)
  • Walt Whitman & The Soul Children of Chicago (Dec 21st)

3) See a Football Game

When it comes to sports, Romans are wild about their football clubs AS Roma and SS Lazio. Both will be playing several home games at Olympic Stadium in December, which means you’ll have many different opportunities to see a live match.

AS Roma

  • vs Inter (Dec 2nd)
  • vs Genoa CFC (Dec 16th)
  • vs Sassuolo (Dec 26th)

SS Lazio

  • vs UC Sampdoria (Dec 8th)
  • vs Eintracht Frankfurt (Dec 13th)
  • vs Cagliari (Dec 22nd)
  • vs Torino FC (Dec 29th)

NOTE: Olympic Stadium is right down the street from VIGAMUS, the Video Game Museum. Rome Turbo Pass includes admission to this museum for free.


4) See All the Christmas Displays

No other city celebrates Christmas quite like Rome. Not only are there several events and activities related to the holiday, but you’ll also find Christmas Trees and Nativity Displays near many historic landmarks. Here are just a few places you can expect to find a nice holiday display:

TIP: Each of these locations is either included as a stop or very near one of the destinations provided by hop-on-hop-off bus tours. If you’re hoping to see as many of these Christmas displays as possible, this is a great way to get around the city.


5) See a Show at Teatro dell’Opera

No matter when you come to Rome, this historic theatre will likely have at least a few notable operas and other shows taking place. December is no exception, as you can expect both The Nutcracker and Swan Lake during the latter half of the month. Here is a full list of the performances you can see at Teatro dell’Opera before the new year.

  • Tristan und Isolde (Dec 3rd – Dec 11th)
  • Rigoletto (Dec 2nd – Dec 18th)
  • Swan Lake (Dec 28th – Dec 31st)
  • La Bottega Fantastica (Dec 1st – Dec 7th)
  • The Nutcracker (Dec 18th – Dec 24th)

TIP: Teatro dell’Opera is roughly a 15-20 minute walk from famous sites such as the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. Both locations are free to visit whenever you want, so you may want to see them either before or after you go to the theatre.


6) See the Wood of the Manger

According to religious leaders, the church of Santa Maria Maggiore holds within its walls some of the wood that came from the manger where Jesus was born. You’ll find the relic in an item known as The Holy Crib, which is located near kneeling statue of Pope Pius IX.

To this day, visitors are welcome to come and venerate this holy item. What better time of year to see such an important artifact than during the month leading up to Christmas?


7) Enjoy Domenica al Museo

On the first Sunday of every month, many of the museums and historic landmarks of Rome will open their doors to all visitors. This is usually the busiest time to visit any of the participating locations, but since December is a slow month for tourism, the crowds might not be as big as usual. Here are a few of the more notable sites and museums included during this event:

TIP: If you want to avoid the possibility of large crowds altogether, consider using a Rome attraction pass to visit each of these locations on a less popular day without paying full price.


8) Celebrate The Feast of The Immaculate Conception

On December 8th, Roman Catholics will pay homage to the Virgin Mary by making a pilgrimage to Piazza Mignanelli, which is roughly one block away from Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps. In a tradition dating back to 1958, the pope himself will be there to kneel in prayer and leave a wreath to be placed on the statue of the Madonna.

Since this is a national holiday, all schools and government offices will be closed for the event. Thankfully, the shops will remain open, but you can expect road closures and particularly large crowds around Piazza Mignanelli.

NOTE: This is one of the rare occasions where you will be able to see the pope in public outside the walls of the Vatican. If you want to learn more about opportunities to see him, check our post about visiting St. Peter’s Basilica.


9) Attend Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica

On Christmas Eve, Catholic churches around the world celebrate the holiday by holding mass at midnight. This time honored tradition is held everywhere – including St. Peter’s Basilica, where the pope himself will be on hand to deliver the mass.

You will need tickets for this event, but they are entirely free to obtain. All you need to do is ask for them ahead of time and wait to see if they will be granted. If you do manage to get tickets, you must take them to the Preffetura Vaticana at least a few days before the event to confirm that you have them.

Even if you can’t manage to get tickets for this event, remember that there are several churches in Rome where you can attend midnight mass.

TIP: Since you will be in the area on Christmas Eve, it’s worth noting that the Vatican Museums will be open to the public for free on December 24th. This would be a great activity to enjoy before heading to midnight mass.


10) Celebrate New Year’s Eve

As with their celebrations for Christmas, Rome tends to throw a pretty great party for New Year’s Eve. Everything starts at Circus Maximus, where you can expect live theatrical performances and a fireworks display.

In addition to this event, there will also be several free shows and exhibitions at certain theatres and museums in the city from 3 am – 8 am. When the night is finally over, there will be a live concert at Ponte della Scienza at 7 am in honor of the first dawn of the new year.

The best part about all of these activities? They’re all free to attend!

 


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Free Things to Do

This section will feature a selection of different activities and events you can enjoy in Rome during the month of December. If you’re looking for more, make sure to check some of our other sections for ideas such as enjoying the Christmas displays, taking advantage of Domenica al Museo, celebrating New Year’s Eve or attending Midnight Mass.

 


Go to a Christmas Market

If you’re still looking for the perfect Christmas gift, consider going to one of the many Christmas Markets which pop up in Rome during December.

One of the biggest markets is located at Piazza Navona, which was once actually the site of the main city market. There will be various holiday pastries, toys, and other trinkets available for purchase. In addition, you can also expect live street musicians and artists to perform a lot of festive tunes.

Alternatively, you can also head to Campo de’ Fiori, which will also be open and participating in the holiday festivities. Given that this is more of a traditional marketplace, you’ll probably find a wider variety of potential gift ideas here.

TIP: Campo de’ Fiori is actually the first stop on our self-guided walking tour of Rome. It is also included with some guided walking tours of the city centre. If you want to learn more about the area, consider taking some time out of your day for one of these excursions.


Experience the Pantheon on a Snowy Day

It’s not every day that it snows in Rome, but December offers some of the best opportunities to see this rare event. If you happen to be in the city when snowflakes begin to fall, head to the Pantheon as quickly as possible.

Thanks to the open dome at the Pantheon, all of the elements such as rain and snow actually fall through the roof and into the building. According to many visitors, this is a very beautiful sight to behold. The way the light hits the snowflakes makes them look as if they are falling from heaven.

Even if it doesn’t snow, you might still want to see this historic landmark on a rainy day for a similar effect. Considering that it’s currently still free to visit the Pantheon, this is sure to be one of the more affordable and interesting activities you can enjoy in Rome at the beginning of winter.

NOTE: The Pantheon is very close to other historic sites such as Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain. Visitors who are interested in sightseeing should consider heading to these locations while they’re in the area.


See the Pope

With so many holy days taking place in December, there will be more than a few opportunities to see the Pope during this month.

The first notable opportunity will be on December 8th for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. On this day, the Pope will head outside the walls of the Vatican to pray at the statue of the Virgin Mary at Piazza Mignanelli.

There will be another chance to see the Pope when he delivers the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. It’s difficult to get tickets for this event, but it is entirely free to attend if you are granted admission.

You’ll have another chance to see him during the Urbi et Orbe on Christmas Day. This is an event where the Pope delivers a special address to the world in front of all those present at St. Peter’s Square.

In addition to these special occasions, the Pope will also hold audiences on Wednesdays and perform the Sunday Angelus each week. You can learn more about both activities in our post covering how to see the Pope at St. Peter’s Basilica.


Visit the Santo Bambino of Aracoeli

In addition to all the nativity scenes and holy items such as the wood of the manger, you may also want to go see the Santo Bambino of Aracoeli during this special time of year.

This holy artifact is a carved wooden image of the baby Jesus. The child wears a crown, is swaddled in golden material, and has been adorned with a variety of jewels given to him by devotees and the faithful. According to some visitors, this religious relic has the power to heal the sick. Worshippers often leave letters for “Il Bambino” in hopes that their prayers will be answered.

Located at the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, visitors are welcome to come and see or worship Santo Bambino for free. This site is very close to historic landmarks such as Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find.

NOTE: There are hop-on-hop-off bus stops very close to the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli. If you’re already planning on using such a service, this could be a great way to visit the church and see Santo Bambino for yourself.


Consider Getting a Tourist Pass

If we’re being honest, a tourist pass isn’t exactly free. That being said, depending on how you use the service, some activities could cost you absolutely nothing to enjoy. We’ll use a 3-Day Rome Turbo Pass (€99) as an example:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

  • Everything is free!

As you can see, by the time you get through the second day, you’ve already more than paid for the service. This is just one example of how you can plan things out, but there are a plethora of different itineraries you can prepare to take full advantage of a Roman tourist pass.

 


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Things to Do at Night

The following section will cover a variety of fun and interesting activities that you can enjoy after dark in Rome during the month of December. Make sure to check our other sections for additional ideas such as Midnight Mass, going to a concert, seeing a show at Teatro dell’Opera or celebrating New Year’s Eve.

 
Artwork by Andy Warhol. Image Source: Pixabay user pvdberg under CC0 Creative Commons license.


See the Andy Warhol Exhibit

The artwork of Andy Warhol will be on display at Complesso del Vittoriano throughout the month of December. Even if the name doesn’t sound familiar, his unique style of art will probably spark a few memories.

Warhol was one of the most prominent figures in the pop art era, and he created a lot of notable pieces. There will be over 170 works on display at this exhibition, giving you an excellent opportunity to see the kind of aesthetic that made Warhol famous.

Best of all? This exhibit will remain open until 10 pm on weekends, which means you can see it after dark!

  • Tickets: €13/Adults | €11/Teens | €5/Kids
  • Reduced Tickets: €11/Military, Disabled | €6/Students
  • Hours:
    • Mon – Thur from 9:30 am – 7:30 pm
    • Fri – Sat from 9:30 am – 10 pm
    • Sun from 9:30 am – 8:30 pm
  • Special Hours:
    • Dec 8th: 9:30 am – 10 pm
    • Dec 24th: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
    • Dec 25th: 3:30 pm – 8:30 pm
    • Dec 26th: 9:30 am – 8:30 pm
    • Dec 31st: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
  • Purchase tickets or learn more

TIP: Complesso del Vittoriano is very close to the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli and Piazza Venezia. If you’re interested in visiting either location for the holidays, remember that there are regular hop-on-hop-off bus stops and metro stops nearby.


Celebrate Hanukkah at Piazza Barberini

Rome may be a predominantly Catholic city, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any other religious cultures in the area. Believe it or not, there is a big enough Jewish community that they actually hold a special event for Hanukkah every year at Piazza Barberini.

On every night of Hanukkah, one of the candles of a large menorah will be lit in this public square. At around 20 feet tall, this attraction tends to draw a pretty big crowd. Even if you’re not religious, you may want to head to this plaza during the holiday to celebrate and enjoy the spectacle.

If you’re interested, the show begins at 6 pm on each night of Hanukkah (or 4 pm on the Sabbath and on the last night). There is usually a big party and dancing to go along with the lighting of the menorah.

NOTE: Historic sites such as the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps are only about 10-15 minutes away from Piazza Barberini. Both locations are free to visit and would make for great activities either before or after this event.


Enjoy Classical Music at St. Paul Within the Walls

If you’re looking for a more classical concert, there will be a few different opportunities to hear the likes of Beethoven, Vivaldi and Bach at the church of St. Paul Within the Walls. During each performance, the “Opera in Roma” Baroque Orchestra will play some of the most beloved music in history before a live audience.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Meets Bach’s Masterpieces

  • Tickets: €20 – €50 per seat
  • Dates: Dec 3rd, 10th, and 17th
  • Hours: 8:30 pm – 10 pm
  • Purchase or learn more

Beethoven Symphony no 5 and 6

NOTE: St. Paul Within the Walls is roughly 10 minutes from the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. If you’re planning to be in the area before the concert, consider stopping in to see the wood of the manger.


Hear The Three Tenors in Concert

In addition to the classical concerts provided by the “Opera in Roma” Baroque Orchestra, the Three Tenors will also be performing at St. Paul Within the Walls throughout the month of December.

This is an excellent opportunity to hear this world famous group of tenors singing music from a variety of popular operas. As they sing, dancers will perform the stories being told on stage.

  • Tickets: €20 – €50 per seat
  • Dates: Dec 5th, 12th, and 19th
  • Hours: 8:30 pm – 10 pm
  • Purchase or learn more

See Jesus Christ Superstar

It’s not every day that this interpretation of events is shown in Rome. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award winning tale will make its way to Teatro Sistina at the beginning of the month. Starring Ted Neely, the man who originally played the role of Jesus in the 1973 film, this adaptation of the story is sure to be authentic and respectful of the source material.

  • Tickets: €27.50 – €44.00 per seat
  • Dates: Dec 6th – Dec 16th
  • Hours: Thur – Sat at 9 pm | Sun at 5 pm
  • Purchase or learn more

NOTE: Teatro Sistina is close to sites such as Piazza Barberini, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. Each of these locations could be fun to visit either before or after the show.

 


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Family-Friendly Activities

In this section we will provide a few different attractions and events that you can enjoy with your family in Rome this December. Check our other sections for more ideas like going to a Christmas Market, seeing a Football Game, experiencing the Christmas displays and Nativity Scenes, or even going to see the Nutcracker at Teatro dell’Opera.

 


Take the Kids to Disney on Ice

This famous ice show will be making its way to the PalaLottomatica arena in early December. If you’ve got any young Disney fans in the family, this is an excellent opportunity for them to see some of their favorite characters come to life. This event will include stories from the universe of Cars, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story and Frozen.

  • Tickets: €28.75 per seat
  • Dates and Hours:
    • Dec 6th at 7:30 pm
    • Dec 7th at 8 pm
    • Dec 8th at 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, 7:30 pm
    • Dec 9th at 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, 7:30 pm
  • Purchase tickets or learn more

Go See the Pixar Exhibit

Speaking of Disney, you may also want to consider taking the family to see a limited exhibit covering the history of Pixar. In celebration of their 30th anniversary, this attraction will be open will be open throughout the month of December at Palazzo delle Esposizioni. With over 400 works from the animation studio, this is sure to be an interesting and fun activity for kids and their parents.

  • Tickets: €12.50/Adults | €6/Children
  • Family Ticket: €20 (2 Adults + 3 Kids under 7)
  • Family Ticket: €25 (2 Adults + 2 Kids over 7)
  • Dates: Tue-Sun from Dec 1 – Dec 30th
  • Purchase tickets or learn more

TIP: Palazzo delle Esposizioni is roughly a 5-10 minute walk from sites such as the Trevi Fountain and Trajan’s Market. If you’re interested in doing some sightseeing, each historic location is definitely worth a visit either before or after seeing this exhibit.


Go Ice Skating

Whether or not you can make it to Disney on Ice, you may also want to consider taking the family ice skating. Although it rarely gets cold enough for ice to form in Rome, there are a few locations where you will find a skating rink during the winter.

The three ice rinks closest to city centre are at Castel Sant’Angelo, the Auditorium Parco della Musica and Ice Space Village in Testaccio. Each park will only be open for a limited time in the winter, and they both open up in December.

NOTE: Auditorium Parco della Musica is just across the river from Olympic Stadium. If you’re planning to see a football game with the family, you may want to add this activity to your trip for some extra fun.


See The Nutcracker Puppet Show

The San Carlino Puppet Theatre will be performing The Nutcracker during weekends in December. If you’re worried that your kids are a little too young for a more traditional theatrical experience, this is an excellent opportunity to bring them to a show they’ll love.

TIP: The San Carlino Puppet Theatre is very close to landmarks like Villa Borghese, the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo. If you’re interested in doing some sightseeing, consider making a short trip to any of these locations.


Take the Kids to a Christmas Show

If you’re looking for something a little different than a puppet show, consider going to a play about jolly old St. Nicholas. The Search For Santa Claus tells the tale of two elves trying to find Santa before it’s too late for him to deliver presents to all the good girls and boys.

 


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How to Visit Castel Sant’Angelo

Posted by & filed under Rome.

Located right down the road from Vatican City, Castel Sant’Angelo is one of the most popular landmarks in all of Rome. This post will provide all the information you need to visit the historic building and its museum, including ticket prices, operational hours, and opportunities to save money.

 


 


What is Castel Sant’Angelo?

This historic location was originally built to be a tomb for Emperor Hadrian and his family and it was finished in 139 AD. Despite its original purpose, Castel Sant’Angelo was almost immediately converted into a military building.
Read more »

What to See at Piazza Navona

Posted by & filed under Rome.

In this post, we will provide a list of different things you can see and experience at Piazza Navona. We will also include an overview of the historical relevance of this location and some of the reasons it has become such a popular site to visit.

 

 


Overview

What was once the open space of a stadium has since been transformed into a public square. Built in 1 AD, the Stadium of Domitian was once known as a “Circus Agonalis,” or a competition arena where various athletic contests were performed. It was Rome’s first permanent venue for competitive athletics. Read more »

Things to Do in Rome in November

Posted by & filed under Rome.

It may be getting late in the year, but there’s still plenty to see and experience in Rome. This post will provide a variety of different ideas for things to do in Rome during the month of November. We will include a list of the top 10 events, family-friendly activities, nighttime attractions and free services.

 

Rome in November

 


TOP 10

In the following section, we will provide our ten most interesting events and attractions in Rome during the month of November. Whenever possible, we will make a note when one of these activities is either free, family-friendly or fun after dark

For more ideas on popular things to do, check out our post on tourist attraction discount passes as well as bus tours of Rome.

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Visiting the Trevi Fountain

Posted by & filed under Rome.

This post will help you to plan a trip to the Trevi Fountain, one of the most popular landmarks in Rome, including how to get here, when is best to visit as well as a brief history of the fountain.

 

 


PLAN YOUR VISIT

In this section, we will cover important information about how to find the Trevi Fountain, what time you might want to visit, how much time to spend at the landmark and some of the things you can and cannot do while you’re there. For additional details on fun activities in the area, check the coins and wishes section.


Where is it? Read more »

Things to Do in Rome in September

Posted by & filed under Rome.

Even though the summer is coming to a close, there’s still plenty to see and do in Rome. This post will provide several different ideas for Roman attractions and events that you can enjoy during September. In addition to our top 10 list, we will also include activities you can enjoy at night, for free, or with your family.

 


TOP 10

This section features the ten most interesting events or activities that you can enjoy in Rome during the month of September. Whenever possible, we will include a note if one of these attractions is fun after dark, free for everyone, or family friendly.

Be sure to also read our posts on visiting the Vatican, the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine Hill as well as our bus tours and tourist discounts comparison pages for even more ideas.

Read more »