Get into the festive spirit with gospel music, feast days, ballet, and loads of other holiday happenings running all month long.
Rome Gospel Festival – Friday 23 to Thursday 29
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. This year’s line-up includes the Florida Inspirational Singers, the Harlem Gospel Choir, the Brooklyn Gospel Harmonettes, the Brent Jones Gospel Choir, and more. Be sure to book your tickets in advance. Find the full program at auditorium.com
St. Lucy’s Day – Tuesday 13
According to tradition, St. Lucy brought food to Christians hiding in the catacombs in 3rd-century Rome, wearing a wreath of candles on her head to light her way. In Scandinavian countries, this festivity has come to represent the light that Christmas will bring to the long, dark winter ahead. Rome’s Swedish community marks the day with a celebration on the night of 13 December (once considered the longest and darkest night of the year). Stop by Piazza di Pietra at 6pm for a small procession complete with Swedish Christmas carols and generous helpings of gingerbread cookies and mulled wine.
Hanukkah – Sunday 18 to Monday 26
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.
Don Quixote – From Sunday 18 to Saturday 31
The legendary, romantic, and ultimately tragic story of Don Quixote de la Mancha has been told and retold in countless forms since it first burst from the pen of Miguel de Cervantes. One of the most fascinating is the ballet version, set to music by Ludwig Minkus and originally choreographed by Russian master Marius Petipa. The Teatro dell’Opera di Roma presents a modern yet thoroughly classical reincarnation of the ballet created by renowned choreographer Laurent Hilaire, who draws inspiration from Mikhail Baryshnikov’s classic American adaptation of the Petipa/Gorsky standard. Italian and international stars interpret the main roles, including Isabella Boylston, Susanna Salvi, Rebecca Bianchi, Alessio Rezza, and Daniel Camargo.
Incanto di Luci – All month
Rome’s Botanical Garden is presenting a sensory exhibition in which light and nature come together to create an enchanted world that will illuminate the Eternal City’s holiday nights. This extraordinary initiative, which radiates the beauty of nature into space and projects the gaze towards infinity, takes place among the towering palms and bamboo forests of this exquisite garden. Visitors can immerse themselves in the enchantment of the Christmas Roundabout, admire the Cathedral of Light, and ascend with their eyes the magnificent Staircase to the Moon. Find out more information and book your visit at incantodiluci.it