As well as giving you the chance to pick up unusual and unique gifts, it’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in traditional, Italian culture. Christmas markets are an integral part of local celebrations and you’re just as likely to find yourself rubbing shoulders with a Roman as you are with a visitor to the ancient city.
With family being at the centre of Roman values, you’ll find that there’s plenty for kids to get involved with. However, if you’re off on a romantic getaway with your other half, a Christmas market in Rome offers all the ingredients for an idyllic day out.
Piazza Navona Christmas Market
For a true taste of Rome Christmas markets, you’ll find a jumble of stalls set up in Piazza Navona. Open from the beginning of December, pick up handmade toys, Christmas decorations and traditional Italian gifts, such as a broom used to sweep out bad luck. With plenty of stocking-fillers and some beautiful carousels, it’s a great place for the whole family.
Get there as the sun goes down if you’re a couple, for a beautifully romantic time. As dusk gives way to darkness and the fairy-lights twinkle across the square, the Piazza Navona Christmas market is an oval-shaped area perfect for love. You’ll see street entertainers, hear live music and be able to indulge in a mug of ‘vin brulè’, while browsing the artisan goods on sale.
Christmas Shopping with Teenagers
If you’re visiting a Christmas market in Rome with teenagers or you like to wear exclusive goods that you just won’t find anywhere else, look out for the Mercato Monti Christmas Market. A cross between a vintage market and an independent outlet, you can expect two floors of retro clothing and apparel designed and made by indie craftsmen.
While this market is open throughout the year, it fully embraces the festive spirit and covers itself in tinsel and baubles. In addition to clothing, you’ll find handmade jewellery and organic beauty products created by local merchants.
Food is a central part of any Christmas market in Rome. Snack on roasted chestnuts or try traditional tortellini, delicious Modena sausages or mouth-watering torrone nougat.
If you’re something of a foodie, then the Trionfale market should be at the top of your list. Much less touristy than the Christmas markets found in the centre of Rome, this is popular with locals looking for seasonal ingredients and food-related gifts. Among the rows of fruit and vegetables, you’ll find fresh and dried pasta, fruity olive oils, truffles and plenty of wine. Wine is sold in plastic bottles and the vendor will fill yours up with your choice of a selection from almost every corner of Italy.
In addition to the array of fresh produce, you’ll find plenty of food to enjoy as you continue browsing. Look out for sourdough bread, crunchy biscotti, piping-hot arancini and slices of slow-cooked pork. While this might not be one of the Rome Christmas markets to take the kids to, it’s perfect for couples and those who want to go home laden with treats to remind them of an unforgettable winter break in the Eternal City.
Have you ever been to Rome? What bargains did you pick up at the christmas markets? Let me know in the comments below!