We couldn’t start this article without Rome’s most famous Christmas Market, in Navona square, a fixture of the Roman Christmas shopping . Open until late at night, it mostly hosts sweet and toy stalls. Particularly crowded on January 6 for the Epiphany.
But if you want to visit a proper Christmas Village, Auditorium/Parco della Musica is your place. Until January 9 the outside space will be transformed into a Nordic village, with many activities especially geared for children such as the ice-skating rink, Santa Claus’ house where children can post their letters and a drawing competition with a Christmas theme. For shopaholics there is a rather exclusive Christmas Fair with an interesting range of sophisticated crafts on sale. Auditorium’s Christmas Village also features over 30 food and sweet stalls, lots of performances and season’s music concerts, exhibitions and puppet shows on the backdrop of 40 illuminated Christmas trees.
Many other Christmas villages can be found around Rome. Until January 6 in Monterotondo, your kids will experience Father Christmas’ house, a fascinating nativity a huge Christmas tree, wooden huts hosting artisanal products and a merry-go-round with horses. A Tyrolean village, open wine cellars, fried pizza and roasted walnuts will feature Bellegra’s Chritmas. While in Frascati, until January 7, the historical centre will be dotted by 40 wooden enlightened houses, with Christmas decorations.
Our favorite Rome’s typical Christmas food product is Pangiallo, a hard cake made with nuts, candied fruit and honey. Rome’s most famous is on sale at Colapicchioni bakery (76, Via Tacito – Prati area), otherwise go to Valzani (37, Via del Moro – Trastevere). But we also love the spicy version, Panpepato, with the addition of chili and chocolate! Hand-made Panettone (originally from Milan, panettone has now become a national Christmas cake) can be bought at Roscioli bakery (34, Via dei Chiavari – near Navona square), at Cristalli di Zucchero (88, via San Teodoro – near Roman Forum) or in Velletri, at L’Arte del Dolce (26, Corso Repubblica).
Another mandatory stop during the Christmas shopping are toy shops. If you are in downtown Rome, you can’t miss Città del Sole (65, Via della scrofa) with a wide selection of games, toys and gadgets, Bartolucci (98, via dei Pastini) where you can find dozens of hand-made wooden toys such as Pinocchio or Little Big Town, the newly-inaugurated three-floor shop just behind Piazza Venezia. The most beautiful, expensive and biggest teddy bears and other animal stuff toys are on sale at Al Sogno (53, Navona Square). More than just a toy shop, but rather a comprehensive playing space is Imaginarium (138/139, Via Frattina) where you can buy KicoNico puppets, BB Coscmos and Circus products and technology and science games designed by the European Space Agency. Near the Cipro/Musei Vaticani underground stop you can find Designer Toyz at Urban Toys (40/42 via Ruggero Fiore): on sale Blind Boxes, Art Toys such as Qee and Ugglydolls, and other characters by Tokidoki.