Rome events in December 2024 - Holidays, exhibits, concerts, and other things to do

Rome events in December include Christmas holiday dates of course. But there are a few other important things happening this month, too.

castel sant'angelo in decemberDecember has the shortest days of the year, and as a result, there is often a glow in the sky, especially in the afternoon. Find out all the events and things to do in Rome in December.

Find out all the things to see and do in Rome in December 2024.

Rome events in December 2024 - What's happening

December is a great time to visit Rome for a lot of reasons, not the least of which are the lovely lights and decorations that start going up even before the month begins.

December weather in Rome is cool, which makes it comfortable for sight-seeing. It's also a good time to enjoy some hot Roman lunches and dinners indoors with some good wine.

Keep reading for more info about the best Rome events in December 2024:

Holidays and special dates in Rome in December

Besides the obvious holiday dates of Christmas and New Year, there are a few other Christmas-related dates as well as non-Christmas related dates to note in December as well.

December 8 - Immacolata/Immaculate Conception

In Italy, the Catholic holiday of December 8, the Immaculate Conception, or Immacolata, is celebrated. Many shops will be closed, but sites are open (except for the Vatican Museums.)

If the 8th falls near a weekend, you can expect it to be busy in Rome.

At noon, you can head to St. Peter's Square to hear Pope Francis give the Angelus (free, lasting about 15 minutes.) 

Another thing you can do on December 8 is visit Piazza Mignanelli near the Spanish Steps.

Every December 8, at 4:30pm, the pope changes the Madonna's wreath at the top of the column there.

In recent years, there has been more and more security, and the event has become more and more popular, so you should expect huge crowds, and should try to get there as early as possible if you want to get anywhere close to the event.

The pope does not do it himself - the firemen do, but he is there for the event. 

 🤙 Roaming in Rome? 📱

Get yourself an Italian eSIM for calls, messages and data when traveling here.

Save on data charges with plans from just 19€ from Holafly - our recommended eSIM provider!

Click here to get yours now and use code ROMEWISE to save 5%!


Chabad Roma organizes the lighting of the menorah during Chanukah in Piazza Barberini.

menorah on first night of Chanukah in piazza barberiniRabbis are in attendance for the lighting of the "candle" of the menorah on the first night of Hanukkah in Piazza Barberini.

In 2024, Hanukkah is from December 25 - January 2.

You can attend the first night's lighting ceremony with Rome's rabbis at sundown on December 25, 2024 but you can also go for the following 7 nights to see each "candle" being lit.

Christmas tree lightings

Several Christmas trees go up around Rome in December, but it seems the one people ask me about the most is the one at the Vatican

The Christmas tree in Vatican Square is a relatively new phenomenon (started in 1982 during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II), but it's typically been lit just before Christmas Eve.

The inauguration of the Nativity scene and the lighting of the Christmas tree at Vatican Square has not yet been announced for 2024 - watch this space!

In 2023 the tree that is normally in Piazza Venezia, due to construction, was moved to Piazza Del Popolo for Christmas, but we don't yet know where the tree will be this year.

Christmas Fair in Piazza Navona

christmas market in piazza navonaThe Christmas market in Piazza Navona has been a bit on and off in recent years. But when it's happening in full force, it's one of the best Rome events in December.

Usually, Piazza Navona is THE spot for Rome's Christmas biggest and most festive Christmas Market.

We're awaiting details of whether the Piazza Navona market will be running in 2024.

Current exhibits and events at Rome's museums in December 2024

The cooler fall and winter months are a great time to take in the arts and some art indoors. Some museums stay open later on the weekends.

There are several Rome events in December at various museums around the city.

Here are some special things you can do in Rome in December 2024:

emotion exhibition

Chiostro del Bramante


The exhibition at the Chiostro del Bramante, curated by Danilo Eccher, describes the emotions of twenty artists through their works to let visitors know which and how many emotions inspire an artist.

November 29 2023 - September 25 2025

For more information and tickets, click here.

colossus constantine

Capitoline Museums - Villa Caffarelli Garden

The Colossal Statue of Constantine

See the striking reconstruction of the Colossus of Constantine, one of the most representative works of late antique Roman sculpture.

February 6 2024 - December 31 2025

Free to enter, follow the path up to the right to reach the garden entrance. 

Don't miss my video all about the statue!

torlonia bunker

Villa Torlonia

Visit the Bunker and Air Raid Shelters at Villa Torlonia

Located below the Casino Nobile of Villa Torlonia, the two underground structures are reopening with a new multimedia set-up allowing for an immersive visit, reconstructing the Bunker's historical memory including information about Mussolini's life at the villa.

April 5 2024 - December 31 2024

Visit the website for all details and booking information.

 🔐 Store your bags and luggage securely! 🧳

We're parterned with Radical Storage who have locations across Italy for you to keep your luggage safe before and after check-in, while on day trips and for everything else between 👌

Click here to book now and use code ROMEWISE to save 5%!

The perfect 3-day itinerary in Rome

Trying to figure out how to organize your visit to Rome? I've got the perfect 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors (or those who have not been here in a while.) It works for a 2.5 day visit as well.

In my 3-day itinerary, you'll see all the major must-see Rome attractions like the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant'Angelo, and much more.

And if you have more time, or want suggestions for extra/other things to do, you'll find that there too.

Visit my page with the best 3-day itinerary in Rome for first-timers.

Visit Rome's Parks and gardens

While December can be a cool month, it can still be a beautiful time to visit a park or garden in Rome.

Rome events in December - Free things to do

If you're looking for some fun Rome events in December that are free, there are a few so far confirmed for 2024.

Free Sunday Rome events in December 2024

In recent years, we've enjoyed the Free Sunday, in which state sites and museums were free the first Sunday of the month, and the Vatican Museums were free the last Sunday of the month.


The Colosseum will be free on the first Sunday of the month, December 1 2024.

You can expect the Colosseum to be pretty much a mob scene. I'd highly recommend visiting one of the other sites that is also free on this day, like the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill, or Ostia Antica.

sistine chapel

On the last Sunday of the month, Sunday December 29 2024, the Vatican Museums are open and free. 

Hours are reduced (9:30am - 2pm, with last entry at 12:30pm). Expect long lines.

If you are on a budget, or have limited time, this can be a great opportunity. 

You cannot buy tickets in advance for the Free Sunday, but you can book a tour of the museums through the Vatican. If you don't want to book this tour, just come early. By early I mean by 8am.

But otherwise I recommend you book your visit ahead of time and pay to go another day.

Nighttime things to do in Rome in December

At the beginning of the month, the weather is still really comfortable, even in the evenings.

By the end of December, the evenings can be pretty chilly and of course it is starting to get dark quite early.

But that doesn't mean you cannot enjoy the city after the sun goes down! 

Visit the Colosseum by moonlight!

You can visit the Colosseum at night and I'd say this is one of the very best Rome events as you get to see the Colosseum lit up at night, and it's much less crowded than during the day.

Entry for night visits to the Colosseum is NOT part of the Roma Pass.

Book your tickets here.

For nighttime tours and Rome events in December, visit Viator.

Ready to plan your trip?

Book your train

Planning to travel between cities in Italy and other parts of Europe?

Use Trainline to see all the different options available across the different rail companies.

Find your hotel

Find your perfect place to stay in Rome.

Use to choose between hotels, guesthouses, and self-catering apartments in neighborhoods throughout the Eternal City.

Buy your TurboPass

Purchase the convenient Turbopass and visit all of Rome's top attractions including the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Vatican.

With one handy pass, it's all included.

Rome events in December - Concerts, operas, shows

rome opera

There is lots of wonderful opera in Rome in December, right in Rome's beautiful Teatro dell'Opera (Opera House.)

rome auditorium

The Rome Auditorium is open and you can attend wonderful concerts and other events.

opera pass

Get your Rome Opera Pass to choose from a number of shows inside a scenic and suggestive setting in central Rome (locations vary).

These wonderful opera singers put on a mini-production of various operas, often in full costume.

capuchin crypt

Visit the extraordinary Capuchin Crypt, then head into the recently restored church to listen to sacred music in a gorgeous setting.

Thursday afternoons.

rooftop aperitivo and opera

Don't miss this unique opera + aperitivo on one of Rome's most amazing rooftops, the Borromini Terrace. Combine beautiful music, with the stunning baroque setting on Piazza Navona, and a special aperitivo, to make for a fabulous evening in Rome.

There's a maximum 30 people (including an art historian guide), to keep this experience exclusive and special.

Friday evenings.

3 tenors - nessun dorma

The Three Tenors - Nessun Dorma

See the "Three Tenors" in a beautiful church setting.

You will be treated to three of Rome's most famous tenors singing some of the best-known and loved songs of Neapolitan opera, accompanied by the Mandolin Orchestra.

Music from La Traviata, Rigoletto, Tosca, and many others. 

Saturday evenings. From 25€.

rooftop and aperitivo piazza navona

Enjoy private access to one of Rome's most exclusive rooftops right on Piazza Navona, while sipping your aperitivo and listening to Italian opera classics from Verdi, Rossini, and Puccini.

Sunday evenings.

For more concerts and music Rome events in December, click here.

Tours to take in Rome in December

It's a good idea to take a tour in December.

December can be really busy.

So booking a tour is a good way to make sure you get tickets to the sites you want to visit, and also get to enjoy them without fighting the crowds too much.

And even if it's not too crowded, a tour is a great way to see the sights and get to know a bit about them as you go.

For tours to take in December, start here:

Day trips to take in Rome in December

December is a wonderful time to take a day trip, especially if you want to try some food/wine ventures outside Rome.

We have lots of options for places to visit which you can easily reach within 1-2 hours of Rome. For organized day trips, visit Get Your Guide.

Don't forget to bring these essential travel items with you!

Disclosure: If you make a purchase through a link on this page, I may receive a small commission - at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my site!

Activities with kids in Rome in December

Whether you are visiting Rome in December for the holidays or just for a short getaway, if you are coming with kids, there are plenty of tours and activities in Rome geared to children of all ages. 

If you're looking for some fun activities with kids, start here:

I've listed some of what I think are the most fun and interesting Rome events in December, and most central. For a complete list of Rome events in December, visit the website of the Rome Tourist Board.

Get your 100% free Rome trip planner now!

Simply sign-up today for our free newsletter and get the Romewise Quick Start guide to Rome:

We are committed to respecting your data. Click for our Privacy Policy.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

Please come over to the private Romewise Facebook group and join in the conversation.

You will often find me there, happy to answer your questions / comments!

You will also meet other Rome lovers and experts, too.

What are you waiting for?

Come join in the fun!