Get in the festive spirit with events ranging from exhibit openings to gospel music, from feast days to the ballet, and many other holiday happenings this month!
The Nutcracker – Tuesday 17 to Sunday 22
A staple of Christmas entertainment, The Nutcracker is performed in an innovative way at Teatro Quirino this month by the Roma Ballet, on occasion of the company’s 60th anniversary. This reimagined version of Tchaikovsky’s holiday favorite trades the magical house, dolls, and soldiers for a metropolitan suburb where the prince and his beloved try to break through an impending wall to separate levels of society. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit teatroquirino.it.
1oo Presepi – from Saturday 7
The 100 Presepi (100 cribs) exhibit returns for its 44th edition to the Sala San Pio X and displays creations by nativity makers from all over the world. The exhibit was established in 1976 as a way to promote the Italian tradition of the manger scene during the Christmas holiday. It originally showcased 100 cribs, hence the name, but this year’s exhibit will include upwards of 150 manger scenes from around the globe. For more information visit 100presepi.it. Via dell’Ospedale, 1.
Feast of Saint Lucy – Tuesday 10
It’s said that Saint Lucy used to bring food to Christians who were hiding in Rome’s catacombs during the 3rd century, wearing a wreath of candles on her head to guide her way through the dark. On her feast day, Scandinavian countries celebrate the coming light of Christmas that will illuminate the dark winter months. The Swedish community in Rome puts on a reenactment of St. Lucy’s works this day in Piazza di Pietra, where a procession of the Stockholm Youth Chorus performs traditional Swedish Christmas carols. Gingerbread and mulled wine are served!
Rome Gospel Festival – Sunday 22 to Tuesday 31
This yearly festival brings the most feted gospel choirs from all over the United States to the Auditorium Parco della Musica to perform a series of concerts to sold-out audiences. Ensembles from Chicago to Harlem delight the Eternal City with their joyful music almost every night. The groups range in styles from traditional to blues and pop, so there’s something for everyone. With this year being its 24th edition and getting more popular all the time, be sure to book your tickets in advance. Find the full program at auditorium.com.
Hanukkah – Sunday 22 to Monday 30
Participate in a large Hanukkah celebration at Piazza Barberini. A towering Menorah, standing over 20 feet tall, is lit every night of Hanukkah by Rome’s Jewish faithful. In addition, traditional songs and dances are performed as accompaniment each night. After taking part, head to the Jewish quarter where you can try traditional Roman-Jewish specialties such as deep-fried artichokes and much more.
New Year’s Eve – Tuesday 31
Ring in the New Year Roman-style! Start with a big dinner, known as cenone, at one of the city’s many restaurants offering set menus for the occasion, or go low-key by snacking on scrumptious street food, available all over town. Be sure to eat some lentils right after midnight as it’s believed to bring wealth and luck! Circus Maximus starts their festivities around 9pm, including a light and music show, acrobatic performances, DJ sets, and other acts that continue into the wee hours. Catch major fireworks displays at Via dei Fori Imperiali, Circus Maximus, and Piazza del Popolo.