A mix of traditional and unusual Christmas trees around Rome
In addition to the Christmas lights around the streets of central Rome, the capital is enlivened by a number of Christmas trees over the festive period.
A 20-m Christmas tree from the southern Italian region of Molise stands in the middle of Piazza Venezia. The tree is decorated with 30,000 led lights and variations of the word "peace" in 20 different languages. There is also a large tree outside the Colosseum while fashion house Louis Vuitton has donated a tree near its store in Piazza S. Lorenzo in Lucina.
St Peter's Square is lit up by a 25-m Christmas tree donated to the Vatican by the residents of Regensburg, a town in Bavaria in southern Germany. Once the seven-ton tree comes down in January, its trunk will be used to make toys for children in need.
Perhaps the most unusual Christmas tree is located inside Termini station. In accordance with the annual tradition, thousands of commuters have affixed letters to the tree, including declarations of love, aspirations for the new year, desired football results, and tirades against politicians. The messages, many of which are addressed to Babbo Natale, range from the ironic to the poignant.
Messages such as "I want to feel more loved" are found alongside notes such as "For Christmas I would like to find the courage to leave Italy forever."
However some notes express wishes on behalf of other people, such as a request from Nadia and Fabrizio: "We feel compelled to ask you for a great gift, you must help Concetta and Francesca, the two women well into their seventies who live on the pavements at Piazza dei Cinquecento outside Termini station and who, for over 30 years, have been visible to millions of tourists and pilgrims, but invisible to the institutions."