Christmas services Christmas in Rome sweeps into view on 8th December, and sparkles all the way till the Epiphany on 6th January. There’s a ticketed Christmas Eve Mass on 24th December, and Pope Francis will give his Christmas blessing and message at noon on the 25th in St Peter’s Piazza.
Nativity scenes Every church has its own nativity scene, with a full size one at St Peter’s Piazza from 7th December. South of the Vatican City is the Presepe dei Netturbini, a permanent model showing life over 2000 years ago in Palestine.
‘100 Cribs in the Vatican’ This exhibition is free to enter, at Via di Conciliazione 5 from 7th December to 1st January.
New Year’s Eve On 31st December, there will be huge celebrations on Circus Maximus, with live music, fireworks, light displays and an aerial show, to the accompaniment of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. After midnight, celebrations continue, with a DJ set from Skin from Skunk Anansie.
Epiphany, 6th January The arrival of the Magi (three kings) is celebrated with a medieval parade along Via del Conciliazione carrying gifts for the Pope, who will say a 10am mass in St Peter’s.
New Year’s Concerts at Palazzo Doria Pamphilj There are regular classical concerts, opera and aperitifs at beautiful Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, close to Rome Luxury Suites, in January.
Bacon & Freud at Chiostro del Bramante Until 23rd February, the beautiful cloister by Bramante is exhibiting extraordinary works by Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud.
Pompei & Santorini Also within easy reach of Rome Luxury Suites, the Scuderie Quirinale has a blockbuster exhibition on the links between Pompei and Santorini in Greece, until February.