Christmas in Rome: A Map of the Best Lights, Decorations & Trees of the 2012 Holidays

Christmas in Rome: A Map of the Best Lights, Decorations & Trees of the 2012 Holidays

The Immaculate Conception marks the official start of the Christmas season in Rome. On December 8 many families set up their Christmas trees and cribs at home and start showing off the season lights from their windows or balconies.

The key public happening in Rome on that day is the Pope’s visit to the Virgin Mary statue on top of the column, near the Spanish steps.

Right after these events it’s time to write a wrap-up of what you’ll find for Christmas in Rome. We thought an itinerary leading to the best lights, decorations and trees of downtown Rome would be particularly useful to orientate yourself.

For the second year in a row, the City government decided to have unified light settings in the city center with the aim of creating a special Christmas atmosphere. Last year’s lighting was a huge success, confirmed by all the likes you gave to the photos we posted on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

This year’s theme is no longer Italy, our homeland (in 2011 we celebrated 150 years of Italian unification), but a more international one: environment protection, moderate energy consumption and sobriety.

Until January 10 you can walk under the white-starred sky of Via del Corso dotted by half a million of environmentally-friendly LEDs. At the end of this road you can admire the lights composing the virtual nativity of Piazza Venezia on the backdrop of its huge Christmas tree (the tallest in Rome for these Christmas holidays), a 30 mt red spruce from Andalo, a small town of the Italian Alps, covered by 40,000 LEDs.

The skiing resort of Andalo also made us other gifts: the trees at Pincio, the panoramic terrace of Vilal Borghese, overlooking Piazza del Popolo, and the one on top of Campidoglio, the Capitol hill.   

From the central region of Molise come the other two major Christmas trees: the one near the Colosseum, 22mts tall, and the white spruce (25 mt tall and 12 wide) in St. Peter’s square, that will only be lit up after December 14.

A charity initiative and the financial support of the Belize embassy in Rome made a Christmas tree possible on top of the Spanish steps, at Trinità dei Monti.

Another solidarity project is behind the sale of 100 Christmas trees crafted by artists, celebrities, couturiers and designers running through December 13 in Via Borgognona 38b.

Lights will also decorate other shopping streets of downtown Rome, such as Via Vittoria, Via Frattina, Via Condotti (best lighting) Via della Croce, and Via del Babuino. But also less known roads such as Via Due Macelli, Via Bocca di Leone and via di Ripetta. San Silvestro square not only will host lights and spheres but also a Santa Klaus house for children where they can play and take pictures. If you can’t make it to San Silvestro square, try at least to catch the LED-covered, double deck Babbo Natale tour bus with about 30 Fathers Christmases that will tour the whole city, including the suburbs, entertaining kids with music, dances and sweets.