Getting Ready in Rome

Here are some photos I snapped this afternoon and evening around Rome, showing how the city is getting ready to celebrate Christmas.

The Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square. There were a lot of Italian families out this Sunday all over town, to stroll around, shop, people watch, and visit some of the historic sites. St. Peter’s was quite busy – but not so much with tourists, as with locals!

The fence up around the obelisk is to hide the construction of this year’s Nativity scene, which will be unveiled later!

It’s always nice to see the inside of St. Peter’s Basilica:

A Mass was being celebrated at the Altar of the Chair – that is, behind the main altar/baldacchino, in the very back.

The traditional Roman Christmas market – at least in recent times – is the one in the famous Piazza Navona. However, I have always found it disappointing, consisting mostly of Nativity scene vendors from Naples, stale candy vendors, stale pastry vendors, and other vendors selling mostly things of low quality, made in places far from here. This little Christmas market (pictured), on the other hand, which had some nice things in it, is new this year (as far as I know), and is located in front of the Chiesa Nuova (where St. Philip Neri is buried):

Things on sale ranged from hats/scarves to nice carved olive wood household items.

Here is the Basilica of St. Eustace (in Italian: Sant’Eustachio), on the square that has the famous coffee shop with the saint’s name (the coffee comes with some sort of brown foam on it, instead of white). The shooting star light above the door is one of the standard Christmas decorations that you see on/in churches all over Rome (especially above Nativity scenes). I have never been able to find out the particular significance of the design. I suspect there was just some vendor one year who made an offer all these places couldn’t refuse, hence they all got this design!

An interesting church inside as well, but rarely bright enough to get decent photos.

Finally, here is a street with a typical light decoration over it. Many streets/neighborhoods in Rome put up lights similar to these, and many businesses further put garlands and lights around their doors and shop windows, making for a very festive holiday atmosphere!

I’ve never found out who pays for the electricity for these displays.

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