One of the most magical times to be in the Eternal City is at Christmas. Stores and streets themselves seem weighted by extravagant decorations and the crush of customers. Each cafè and tea house seems to be bursting under the strain of people escaping from the chilly air. Rome itself has very few days which are cold by the standards of most people and even then the sun makes an appearance most of the time during winter.
This mild weather brings many tourists to the city during this period, but more importantly also to partake in the events surrounding the entire season. It begins officially on 8th December the festival of the Immaculate Conception, when the Pope pays a visit to the Spanish Steps, and flowers are placed over a statue of Mary. From there on, there are many concerts held around the city, church services and a large open air market which springs up in Piazza Navona. Navity scenes or ‘presepi’ as they are known in Italian, are lovingly displayed for the public to admire, each lovingly crafted and made from local materials with the addition of some more modern public figures.
Midnight mass on 24th December or Christmas morning service at the Vatican is a must do for many tourists. From Christmas leading up to New Years, is usually a frenzy of activity in clothing stores as women and men try to find that perfect outfit for New Years. There are numerous private parties held around the city but also numerous public functions and concerts to ring in the start of the New Year.