Christmas is certainly the number one festivity in Italy and, of course the one with the highest attraction, and it brings a huge slow down in terms of public life. Family first of all! So lots of shops and museums are absolutely closed.
Christmas dinner is very intimate, let’s say, for the real family.On the 25th, the so called Pranzo di Natale (Christmas Lunch) is dedicated to the large family, (including those relatives that you don’t get along with) and that, thank God, you get to see only on this occasion! New Year’s Eve works similar to Christmas, but many restaurants are open and organise the famous last dinner of the year, the Veglione (Ball in english).
Unless one of these families is opening their doors to you, what will you do? And where will you go for Christmas in Rome? Here is a list of places you can go and be served a delicious treat while romans are busy with celebrations.
ENOTECA PALATIUM, Via Frattina 94, phone 06 6920 2132,
I love this place for the food and wine. It serves traditonal roman cuisine, selected wines and it is modestly priced. All their products are from Rome’s outskirts and their selection of cheeses and hams can do for a delicious appetizer. Red wine suggested? Cecubo or any Cesanese based wine. Strictly central (just 5 minutes from Spanish Steps) is open at lunch on the 24th and the 25th. Give a call to book a table!
Recently opened, is a wide and multifunctional place with an excellent cuisine offering italian food, pizza and a large selection of artisanal beers. It will be open on Christams day for lunch (Menu 50€, 25€ Child) and on the 31st for dinner from 9.30pm (same price for the New year’s Eve). This place is excellent for Pizza and is easy to find (10 minutes walking from the Stop Piramide, Subway B-line). Not touristy at all ! Give a call to reserve a table. Open everyday (closed on 24th and 1st January).
ENOTECA DELLA PROVINCIA, Foro Traiano 82, phone 06 6994 0273,
Located at the beginning of Via dei Fori Imperiali, next to the Column of the Emperor Trajan, there is this small restaurant serving local food and wine. Sitting at the table you can see the imperial ruines in a charming context while drinking an excellent wine and eating local roman cuisine. They will be open for the 31st dinner and it is an occasion to stay in the center having a magical dining experience. Reservation is mandatory.
RISTORANTE PARIS, Piazza di S. Calisto 7/A, Phone 06 581 5378, firstname.lastname@example.org
A traditional restaurant in the heart of Trastevere: this place stands out for the fish and location, they are certainly proud of their artichokes. This particular restaurant reminds me of the typical roman restaurants in my childhood which consisted in big halls, lots of tables, a fireplace and pure white tableclothes. It’s open on the 31st (dinner 85€). Definitely give a call to reserve (they do not speak english 😉 )
SECONDO TRADIZIONE, via Rialto 39, Phone 06 39734757, www.secondotradizione.it
This restaurant is close to the vatican museum and is ran by Stefano and Francesco. I have seen the menu on their home page and is absolutely mouth watering. Their artichokes, tortellini, ragù, pasta, hand-made panettone and gelato will enhance the Christams lunch (85€); wines and Prosecco are included. On the 25th (lunch) and 31st (dinner) of December the menus are vamped up with raw fish, pasta, oysters and champagne. Next to the a-line subway stop Cipro. Make sure you book a table.
What about if I am preparing dinner by myself? First I want you to know that if I was not going to my Mom’s, I was going to be joining you; I love to cook but my Mom doesn’t let any living beings in the kitchen for hours! So read the list of Markets where you can shop with the locals.
CIRCO MASSIMO MARKET, Via di S. Teodoro, 74
This market is located next to the Circus Maximus and is open every weekend but closes during the Christmas period to the Epiphany. It has an extraordinary opening on the morning of December 23rd. Here you can find several producers of fresh food who carry their products straight from their farms to the center of Rome. Organic, mile Zero, this market is a fresh breeze of genuine food in the center of the touristic area of Rome.
The Circus Maximus Market
TESTACCIO MARKET, Via Galvani
Testaccio market is probably the trendiest market in Rome and it is open on 24th A.M.and 31st A.M. Recently re-opened is frequented by the hipsters of testaccio and has a nice finger food area over the normal shopping area with stands of fish, fruit, bread and vegetables. It is the right place if you like to eat something while out, roaming in the city: visit the roman style sandwiches of Picchiapo or taste a deliciuos sicilian cannoli at Dess’art.
SAN GIOVANNI DI DIO MARKET, Piazza San Giovanni di Dio
Be ready to the surprise this place provides: ugly outside, chaotic and stuck in the past, this market is how markets used to be 50 years ago. From the central Piazza Venezia, the tram number 8 will take you in the working class district of Monteverde: within 15 minutes you will be catapulted into another Rome. Kiosks, owners screaming, old ladies peeling cicory, the fish on the bank (fresh and supreme). Don’t miss the stand called Tuttoghiotto, where Riccardo will amaze you with a delicious tasting of cheeses and hams from all around Italy: the ancient roman cheese (you can find it only here!) is a true gastronomic experience.