During the Advent period in Rome Christmas is ushered in with markets and bazaars, better known as Mercatini di Natale. There are numerous outdoors markets, which take place in famous squares and streets where visitors can enjoy some typical live entertainment, including Christmas music. But there are also various indoor bazaars, which usually take place inside international schools and churches, which offer a chance to buy handmade products, presents, second hand items and to experience the local Christmas traditions.
There are also displays of nativity scenes and cribs in most of the churches. The largest one is in the Sala Bramante in the Piazza del Popolo
Austrian Cultural Forum - 1 Dec
This Austrian association organises this traditional Christmas market where visitors can purchase advent calendars, Christmas decorations from Austria and other original handmade presents. There are also various food stands, which offer typical Austrian confectionery, including fresh baked gingerbread for the little ones, as well as other Austrian specialties, such as goulash soup, sausage, sandwiches and coffee. Part of the proceeds is donated to charity. 10.00-17.00. Viale Bruno Buozzi 113, tel. Nora Cau (06 632992), Margarete Bambas (338 6360327), Helma Poggini (06/8840611), Martha Peer (0633260521), email@example.com.
American Overseas School of Rome - 2 Dec
The American Overseas School of Rome organises its annual winter bazaar with numerous stands selling pottery, crafts, speciality foods, wines, jewellery, toys, candles and art. Children can take a picture with Santa Claus, while their parents grab a bite at the booster bar. 11.00-16.00. Via Cassia 811, tel. 0633438300, www.aosr.org.
S. Maria dell’Anima - 2 Dec
The church of S. Maria dell’Anima for the German Catholic community of Rome (just off Piazza Navona) organises a traditional annual Christmas bazaar after Mass on the first Sunday of Advent (at 10.00). On sale are a great variety of typical German and Austrian products, including Advent calendars, candles, Christmas decorations, delicacies, presents, second hand items and books. The first lucky ones are also able to buy a limited selection of Advent wreaths (booking suggested). Some food stands offer typical German sausages, sandwiches, pretzels and beer. The proceeds are devolved to a Catholic mission in Tanzania. 11.00-14.00. Via di S. Maria dell’Anima 64, tel. 0668801394.
Ambrit - 7 Dec
This international school has a wide selection of second-hand toys, ceramics and crafts as well as organic products and handmade confectioneries, including chutney and jam. 09.00-16.00. Via F. Tajani 50, tel. 065595305, www.ambrit-rome.com.
Piazza Navona - 1 Dec-6 Jan
Piazza Navona hosts annual market, which ends with a traditional La Befana parade on 6 January when the Befana brings sweets and presents to children who have been good throughout the year and coal to those who have been naughty. Stalls sell handmade Christmas presents and toys, sweets and organic products as well as decorations for the Christmas tree and crib. There is also a merry-go-round in the centre of the square. 09.00-23.00.
Auditorium Parco della Musica - 4 Dec-6 Jan
The Auditorium Parco della Musica hosts the annual Christmas bazaar, better known as Caravanserraglio, organised by Ciu Ciu Bosco and Flavia Donà dalle Rose. There are over 50 stalls with original Christmas presents and bijoux. 10.30-21.00. Auditorium Parco della Musica. Spazio Serra. Viale Pietro de Coubertin, tel. 3392314592, 337728681, www.caravanserraglio.info.