fbpx

Christmas markets Rome 2022

If you are in Rome around Christmas, you are in luck: the Eternal City’s streets are lined with decorations, the smell of roasted chestnuts hangs in the air, and there are some excellent Christmas markets if you are on the hunt for presents. In Italy, the 8th of December is a holiday to celebrate the Immaculate Conception, and so, many Christmas markets kick in on or after that date – but as in every country, for some people, Christmas gets earlier every year! Here’s a guide to Rome’s best Christmas markets.

Piazza Navona Christmas market

Piazza Navona is one of Rome’s most famous squares and has long been the home of one of the city’s most traditional Christmas markets.

Trip Anthropologist
Piazza Navona Christmas market, Rome, Italy

However, it is important to know a little bit of recent history. The square played host to a year-round market for centuries, and even with the more recent explosion in tourism to Rome, it retained the annual Piazza Navona Christmas market from December to January. Until Christmas 2013, a large family-friendly fair sprawled across the length of the square.

Since then, however, there have been attempts to “clean up” the Christmas market, and rid it of the more commercial globalized aspects of Christmas which fly in the face of Italy’s Christmas traditions – but the effects have been mixed.

The idea was to focus on local artisans and food stalls, but unfortunately, the number of stallholders fell dramatically. Some vendors protested, so the fair went from having more than 100 stalls to just a handful.

Trip Anthropologist
Navona Square in Rome during Christmas time

In recent years, the Christmas market has struggled to support more than a carousel, a nativity scene, and a few stalls that sell Christmas decorations, trees, fairground food, and toys. Police shut down the market in 2019 over a row about permits, and COVID affected the Christmas markets in 2020 and 2021.

So, while it’s a famous name that throws up a lot of Google results, it isn’t what it was. This year’s market is scheduled to open throughout the holiday season from December 1 until January, but it is best to visit with the mindset of seeing this sensational square imbued with a festive atmosphere, rather than expecting a first-class Christmas market.

How to get there:

Piazza Navona is right in the center of the city, so if you are staying somewhere central, it could well be within walking distance. If not, the nearest metro is Barberini on the orange Line A, and from there it’s just a five-minute walk.

The Christmas Market at Piazza di Spagna

If what you are looking for is to visit Christmas markets in beautiful settings, you will be hard-pushed to beat the iconic Piazza di Spagna, at the foot of the Spanish Steps.

Trip Anthropologist
Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish steps at Christmas time

The wares on offer include arts and crafts, sewn goods, paper chains, and other traditional Christmas decorations, along with their more modern counterparts.

It is naturally a very busy area, but the market itself is a new addition and has an enviable location next to the Fontana della Barcaccia and in front of the famous steps, which lead you up to the Santissima Trinità dei Monti and one of the best photo opportunities in the city.

How to get there:

Like Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna is also very central. Its nearest metro is Spagna on Line A.

ChristmasLand

Held in the first three weekends in December, ChristmasLand (Via Tuscolana 179) is the Christmas market for you if you are after some vintage gifts. It’s a huge former parking garage that has been reimagined.

Trip Anthropologist
Christmas Land 2021 flyer

At Christmas, its 6000m2 space hosts a Christmas market put on by V-market, a major vintage market organizer.

Some 200 stallholders come from across the country to sell a mix of vintage items, vinyl, books, and toys along with first-hand artisanal pieces, and a lush selection of plants and flowers.

The 2021 edition included eco-friendly Christmas decorations, handmade wooden pens, and a kids’ arts and craft area. There is also a range of live activities on offer, such as handmade screen printing workshops. Expect similar levels of quirk and interactivity this year.

You can also check out The Farmer’s Market, which aims to build a closer relationship between local small-scale producers and customers. Speaking of produce, look out for Christmas hampers among other festive food offerings.

The site is also home to Fad Burger Bistrot, which adds to the cheer by making hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, and other festive goodies.

The market’s opening hours are from 10 am – 8 pm. Entry costs €3.

How to get there:

ChristmasLand in Rome is a five-minute walk to Ponte Lungo metro on Line A.

Piazza Mazzini Christmas market

Another option for lovers of vintage – Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini is the location for a year-round flea market, which gets a makeover in time for the festive season.

Trip Anthropologist
A flea market in the streets of Rome during Christmas time.

A great option if you want to sample some Italian candy or get your hands on some locally made toys, the 55 white cabins that make up the Piazza Mazzini Christmas Market are ideal for picking up some last-minute gifts.

Generally speaking, the market is open every day from December 1 until Christmas. Last year that included Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

How to get there:

Lepanto on Line A is the nearest metro station.

Christmas World at Auditorium Parco della Musica

And now for something quite different in both appearance and content.

Trip Anthropologist
Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, Italy

From the outside, the Auditorium Parco della Musica (Viale Pietro De Coubertin, 30) is a futuristic-looking building, with the contours of a spaceship – quite a departure from Rome’s many ancient attractions.

Inside, the space is transformed into an immersive experience, as visitors travel through Christmas as it is experienced in some of the world’s most famous cities.

These cities’ Christmas markets are celebrated too, meaning you can stroll down London’s Portobello Road without leaving Rome!

This market is also a great spot to go in Rome for fair trade products along with the typical locally produced goods.

As well as the handicrafts and food on sale, little ones can visit Santa and leave their wishlist with him, and there is also an ice rink if you are in the mood to show everyone your moves.

How to get there:

Take Line A on the metro to Flaminio, then Tram 2 or Ferrovia Roma-Nord to Piazza Euclide.

Mercatino Giapponese

While we are talking about immersive experiences, another option would be Mercatino Giapponese (Via Appia Nuova, 1245) a year-round Japanese market that offers you a truly eastern view of Christmas.

Styled as the “Christmas City”, the Christmas market features cookery exhibitions and martial arts displays, as well as workshops aimed at kids.

Walking around the stalls, you will find quintessentially Japanese offerings, including traditional kimonos, Japanese cuisine, manga, comic books, and bonsai trees.

It’s important to note that, unlike most Rome Christmas markets, this only runs for one weekend. It is due to be held this year on the 10-11 December and is open from 10 am-7.30 pm. Entry costs €4.

How to get there:

This market is a little more out of the way, to the southeast of central Rome. The 118 and 664 buses go from central Rome and take around an hour, or you could catch the FL4 regional train which connects to the metro at Roma Termini.

Alcazar’s Market

For a bit more of a funky Christmas market, try Alcazar’s Market (Via Cardinal Merry del Val, 14).

Trip Anthropologist
Alcazar’s Market, Travestere, Rome

The brainchild of Alcazar Live, which promotes a number of musically-assisted events across the city, Alcazar’s Market fuses DJ sets and tasty brunch dishes with a collection of stalls offering art, design, high street fashion, handmade products, and vintage.

Held in what was once a movie theater in the bohemian Trastevere neighborhood, this is a great spot for one-off second-hand discoveries as well as a chance to see the latest work by emerging local talents.

The market will be held on the 10-11 / 17-18 of December and its opening hours are from 11 am – 7 pm.

How to get there:

It’s either a twenty-five-minute walk crossing the river from the Massimo metro (on the blue Line B) or there are various bus routes: the 75 goes direct from Roma Termini to the Induno bus stop, a five-minute walk from the market.

Natale per Emergency

The Spazio di Natale Emergency (Via IV Novembre 157a) is a Christmas market with an unmistakably Christian message: that Christmas should be a time of thinking about those less fortunate.

Trip Anthropologist
Spazio di Natale Emergency, Rome

This festival provides its punters with the opportunity to buy one of the dozens of different products, knowing that the proceeds will go to a good cause.

In 2021, these gift ideas ranged from homemade panettone to crafts Made In Afghanistan, along with a number of Christmas-red sweatshirts and T-shirts bearing the market’s logo. For kids, you can find traditional Christmas gifts, like yo-yos. You also have the option to buy a gift for a person in need, such as medical treatment for people in developing countries.

The market is held from the last weekend in November until Christmas Eve and is open seven days a week.

How to get there:

Via IV Novembre 157a is a ten-minute walk from Cavour metro station on line B.

Piazzale Ankara

Like Natale per Emergency, all profits from the market at Piazzale Ankara go to charitable causes.

Not far from the beautiful parks of the Villa Borghese gardens, this market is dominated by a large Christmas tree that towers over stalls selling antiques and fair trade products.

How to get there:

It’s a twenty-minute walk from Flaminio metro on Line A.

Piazza Risorgimento

A small modern Christmas market, Piazza Risorgimento wins points for its location: it’s just outside the Vatican walls, a stone’s throw away from St Peter’s Basilica.

Trip Anthropologist
Small market at Piazza del Risorgimento seen from the Vatican, Rome

A surprisingly wide array of gift ideas are on offer: household items including kitchenware and jewelry are among the items you won’t find at many Christmas markets.

The market runs until January 6th and is open from 10.00-8.00 pm.

How to get there:

The nearest metro is Ottaviano on Line A.

Mercato Monti

Another must-visit Christmas market for vintage lovers has always been Mercato Monti – but its future is unclear.

At the time of writing, the market is looking for a new site after being unable to continue at Via Leonina.

Its Facebook page is likely to be the best source of updates, but it would be a sad loss if the market wasn’t able to return in time for Christmas.

In years past, it brought a real hipster vibe with it, selling streetwear, homework, artwork, records, and accessories.

All things considered

Our Christmas traditions might lead us to imagine a typical Christmas market being those in Germany and Northern Europe, but as you can see, there are plenty of options for bargain-hunting in the Christmas markets in Rome!