Traveling to Italy during December holidays

Hello everyone, I need some advice to help me make the best of traveling during the holidays when, during several days of our trip, so many sites, museums and restaurants will be closed. I am having thoughts of completely reversing this but, right now, my tentative plan is: arrive Rome December 22 in the morning depart Rome for Florence December 27 (train) depart Florence for Venice December 29 or 30 (train)
depart Venice for home January 2 I've looked at several different lengths of stays in each city but can't figure out the best way to handle the holidays. I am assuming that there will be more "to do" in Rome on the 25th and 26th than the other cities. Or would walking around Florence be a great way to spend the 26th? Should we go to Orvieto on the way to Florence? Other locale suggestions? Will everything be closed in Venice on January 1? My plans are still flexible at this point. We were in Venice last year but have not been to Florence or Rome. I'm sure they will all be beautiful for the holidays. Would Christmas in Venice and New Years in Rome be a better plan?

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2208 posts

I have posted this before, but maybe you will find it useful if you have not seen it.
We were in Rome Dec 22-31, 2011 and traveling in Italy the entire month of December. (We moved here last May). Rome is amazing at Christmas! The 24th - 26th take some planning, but there's plenty to do. The 24th we spent the morning at the Borghese, shopped, had lunch, rested up, went to church (English langauge service) at 6:30PM, then dinner at 8:30, followed by a nice walk to see more lights. The city is so decked out at Christmas! A very nice day. A very Roman thing to do is have a fish-based multi course feast on the 24th. The 25th we cooked a nice American breakfast, then took a walk through the ghetto where it was pretty much business as usual. Lots of people were out and about. The ghetto was a great choice for dinner, too, but make a reservation because a lot of Italians dine out for Christmas! There are two precipi (nativity scene) museums open on Christmas Day so we visited one in early evening, taking in the lights at Piazza Venezia as well. The 26th we took a self-guided walking tour up the Gianicolo to Villa Doria Pamphilj, then toured the Palatine and Forum in the afternoon. We were exhausted! The point is, with planning, there is plenty to do even if some sites aren't open. Just walking (check out the book "24 Great Walks in Rome" for ideas ) is entertainment. As the holidays approach there will be lists of restaurants open, special exhibits, etc.

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2208 posts

Part II Some resources to help you if you go to Rome for Christmas. (I tried to embed the links but they would not post correctly. Sorry!) One blog to watch is www.parlafood.com. Katie always lists great ideas especially for dining. I also like www.romerevealed.com for ideas and current events. Oh, and on the 26th, Via Fori Imperiali is closed to traffic and is thronged with Romans enjoying the passagiata. Quite the scene. As to accommodations, we rented an apartment near Campo dei Fiori and it was perfect! Great to have a small kitchen, washer, and space to hang out.

Posted by Jodi
Mountain House
53 posts

We spent Dec.23-26 in Venice last year and loved it. There was plenty to do. Took the Dodge's Secret Itinerary Tour and attended Midnight Mass at San Marco on Christmas Eve/Day. We attended a Vivaldi concert at San Vidal on Christmas night. There were plenty of restaurants open on all days and evenings. We stayed in an apartment off of the Strada Nuova and that shopping district was bustling every day.....even the McDonalds was open Christmas Eve and Christmas until late.
With all of that it was still so lovely and peaceful. We left on the morning of the 26th though, so I'm not sure how that day went in the city. I remember that the street shops of the SN seemed to be down at that point. That all being said, I certainly wouldn't bypass Rome during the Holidays. I think it would just be a different, busier vibe.

Posted by Ashley
Palm Bay
18 posts

We were in Rome this past Christmas, 2012. One thing that was open on the 26th is Pompeii. If you are planning to go there, that might be a good day to do it. On Christmas Day, we were already a few days into our vacation and we just decided to rest. We spent Christmas Eve at the Vatican. Lots of preplanning to get tickets to mass, but it was worth it. Feel free to message me with questions.