Christmas is just around the corner, and the city of Rome is preparing to celebrate the end of 2021 in the best possible way. In these days leading up to the festive season, the health crisis is worsening in most European countries, but by taking the necessary precautions we can all help to avoid infections, while enjoying the historical, artistic and cultural beauties of Rome. We have chosen a few Roman attractions that will help you enjoy a well-deserved holiday while keeping safe.
What to do in Rome between Christmas and the New Year
We are in the winter season, but thanks to Rome’s climate you can still enjoy the city en plein air, even on the coldest days of the year. Here are a few ideas we have gathered up about how to make the most of the enchanting Roman Christmas on the city’s streets.
Although ice skating is more closely associated with northern European cities, Rome has a number of open-air rinks where you can skate with the whole family, in some cases without the need for a green pass.
One of the most striking rinks is undoubtedly that installed at the center of the Auditorium Parco della Musica. While you are there you can also visit Christmas World, the festival dedicated to exploring Christmas traditions from around the world, a real journey into the magic of Christmas.
Another large, open-air skating rink can be found at the Porta di Roma shopping center, on the outskirts of the city, an ideal place to combine shopping and fun, perhaps sipping a hot chocolate in one of the many mall bars.
If you want to get away from the city for a few hours, you can go to Tivoli, which is preparing to celebrate Christmas with the long-awaited return of the outdoor ice rink and a real Christmas village.
Take a stroll in a Roman Park
If you want to enjoy a Christmas holiday in close contact with nature, there is no need to leave Rome, its parks and green spaces rivalling the most beautiful and unspoilt places of the Rome province.
If you are looking for a large park to get lost in, with its 190 hectares of greenery, why not try the Parco della Caffarella.
The park is crossed by the Almone river, which the ancient Romans considered to be sacred, and is rich in historical and archaeological remains, including tombs, villas, towers and hydraulic works, including the Valche, towers used as mills, dating back to the 11th century. You can follow the main path of the Caffarella Valley, the site of myths and legends linked to the history of Rome, and rich in biodiversity. It’s like being in the countryside, even though you are just a few steps away from the city center, and you will be surprised by the park’s rich fauna, such as the peregrine falcon, the frogs inhabiting the many ponds and ditches, the green woodpecker and the porcupine.
Villa Borghese Park is the ideal destination for those looking for a green place rich in architectural and artistic treasures, including age-old trees, lakes and Italian gardens. Couples in love can stroll along the romantic paths that criss-cross the park, or go to the Lake Garden, where you can hire a boat and admire the Temple dedicated to Aesculapius at the center of the lake, and the Sundial and Fountain of the Satyr Family along its banks. Other nearby attractions include: the Secret Gardens; Piazza di Siena, named after the city of origin of the Borghese family, and home to the International Show Jumping competition; Casino Borghese, housing the Borghese Gallery; Villa Giulia Etruscan Museum, and the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Another not-to-be-missed park is Villa Pamphilj, the former country residence of the Pamphilj family, in the Monteverde neighborhood, where you can see relics from the Roman and Medieval periods, including structures of the Trajan-Paul aqueduct in the northern part and Casale di Giovio, with the remains of impressive walls from the Imperial age and a decorated early Medieval architrave. The Casino del Bel Respiro is an enchanting example of 17th century Italian architecture, with its Italian-style gardens and fountains. This park is great for those who love trekking: you can cover distances of over 10 kilometers, passing from one side of the park to the other thanks to the bridge crossing the via Olimpica.
Christmas and New Year’s Eve dining
After so much outdoor activity, you can finally enjoy a well-deserved rest and savor the pleasures of Roman and Italian cuisine.
Ristorante Amedeo is ready to welcome you to its spacious premises with rich and sophisticated menus it has prepared for the end-of-year festivities in Rome.
For Christmas Eve, the chef has come up with a surprising fish menu, starting with smoked swordfish and buffalo mozzarella roulade with confit tomato and oregano, then moving on to tonnarello pasta with shrimps, yellow datterino tomatoes and crispy courgette flowers, followed by grilled squid with misticanza salad and green apple, accompanied by cod croquettes. The grand finale of this rich food and wine experience is Matteo Dolcemascolo’s handmade panettone, served with custard.
Christmas lunch is more traditional: the artichokes in batter with mint mayonnaise starter is followed by meat-stuffed tortellini in broth with crispy vegetables, the main course is breaded lamb chops with golden new potatoes and Roman-style puntarelle, while the dessert is Matteo Dolcemascolo’s panettone with custard.
For dinner on New Year’s Eve, Amedeo has planned an à la carte menu or alternatively a fixed menu. In both cases, the sommelier has come up with some interesting pairings, choosing wines from the restaurant’s well-stocked cellar.