Here are the festivals and events that happen each December in Rome. Note that December 8, 25, and 26 are national holidays in Italy, so expect most all businesses, museums, and other government facilities to be closed. For more Christmas-season events, see Christmas in Rome.
Hanukkah - During Hanukkah, Rome's large Jewish community look to Piazza Barberini, where candles on a large Menorrah are lit each evening during the season. The Ghetto area near Campo dei Fiori is also festive during this time.
Early December - Christmas Markets in Rome. From December through January 6, visitors will find a festive Christmas market in Piazza Navona filled with stalls selling handmade gifts, nativity crafts, children's toys, and seasonal treats.
Nativity Display in December 100 Presepi, a display of Nativity Scenes from around the world, is on display in Sala del Bramante near Piazza del Popolo through January 6. Nativity displays are set up in most of Rome's churches.
December 8 - Immaculate Conception. On this day, the Catholic faithful celebrate the day of the Virgin Mary's conception of Jesus. Traditionally, the Pope celebrates this day by leading a caravan from the Vatican to Piazza di Spagna, where he lays a wreath at the Colonna dell'Immacolata in front of Trinita dei Monti Church.
December 13 - Saint Lucy's or Santa Lucia Day. The feast day of Santa Lucia is celebrated with a procession from Castel Sant'Angelo to Saint Peter's Square.
December 24 - Christmas Eve. Along with being a time to spend with family, visit the Christmas markets, or take in other Christmas festivities around the city, Christmas Eve is also the night when nativity displays are traditionally completed by adding the baby Jesus or are unveiled, such as the life-size nativity in Saint Peter's Square.
December 25 - Christmas Day. You can expect everything to be closed on Christmas Day as Romans celebrate the most important religious holiday of the year. Of course, there are many ways to celebrate Christmas in Rome, from attending midnight mass at Saint Peter's Basilica to visiting Christmas crèches around the city.
December 26 - Saint Stephen's Day. This public holiday after Christmas is typically an extension of Christmas day, when families venture out to view nativity scenes in churches and visit Christmas markets. The feast day of Santo Stefano is also held on this day and especially celebrated at churches that venerate Saint Stephen, such as the church of Santo Stefano Rotondo near the Colosseum.
December 31 - New Year's Eve (Festa di San Silvestro). Just as it is all over the world, New Year's Eve, which coincides with the Feast of Saint Sylvester (San Silvestro), is celebrated with much fanfare in Rome. Piazza del Popolo holds Rome's largest public celebration with music, dancing, and fireworks and of course, huge crowds. Check our information on New Year's Eve in Italy for more information on festivities and traditions.
More Events and Festivals: Rome Month by Month