Reorganisation of Rome's Christmas market

New focus on children, culture and tradition at Piazza Navona market.

The Christmas market at Piazza Navona has been reorganised and from now on the number of stalls will be reduced to 48, down from 72 last year.

The Befana market will have 28 stalls permitted to sell Christmas decorations, toys, sweets and children's books, while there will be another 20 stalls selling traditional hand-crafted items such as cribs and toys.

There will also be designated places in the piazza for theatre and puppet shows as well as the popular carousel and traditional crib. The street painters and illegal street hawkers synonymous with the piazza will be banned for the duration of the Christmas market, and the city says it is "reviewing the positions" of chestnut sellers.

The reorganisation of the market has been spearheaded by the city's commerce councillor, Marta Leonori, who says the move is not related solely “to the decorum of the piazza but is focused on the quality of products, on the festa, and on children.”

In December 2014 the city's mayor, Ignazio Marino, reduced the number of stalls at the historic market from 115 to 72, angering traders who protested the “death” of the traditonal Befana market.

Marino's decision to begin scaling down the market was, however, welcomed by many Romans who felt that it had become over-crowded and tacky and had lost its traditional atmosphere.

It is believed that many of the stalls that have now been banned belonged to the capital’s powerful Tredicine family, which owns the majority of the mobile sandwich bars around the city.

The mayor has recently received court backing for his new regulations to curtail the number of mobile street traders in the capital and their invasion of some of the key tourist sites.

This year's Befana market will run from 6 December until 6 January 2016.

Wanted in Rome
Wanted in Rome
Wanted in Rome is a monthly magazine in English for expatriates in Rome established in 1985. The magazine covers Rome news stories that may be of interest to English and Italian speaking residents, and tourists as well. The publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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