At the beginning of the week we wrote the first exam and after getting back to having a (social) life after weeks of studying, I went for a walk in the centre of Rome and noticed that over the last couple of days the streets have filled up with christmas decorations and lights – but they were not yet switched on!
I found that very peculiar, as the first Sunday of advent as well as the 1st of December have passed already. And what do you do in a foreign land when confronted with confusing local behavior? Right, you ask the locals! And so I learned that the starting signal for all kinds of Christmas decoration in Italy is officially the 8th of December. It’s a holiday, so people stay home, put up and decorate the trees and get that festive spirit going – and the streets officially get illuminated.
Knowing this, yesterday evening I went out to explore festive Rome. The first stop was a Christmas market near Flaminio. Well, it was a crafts market with a lot of fairy lights and some Sicilian street food stands outside, to be honest. It was absolutely lovely, the whole venue was full of lights and looked very whimsical – but it was by no way a Christmas market: no mulled wine, no sausages, not cold enough. 😛
Next up was Via del Corso – and oh yes! Now we are talking Christmas: the whole street was covered with lights all the way down to Piazza Venezia and all the shops had festive decorations in the windows. I felt so happy walking under the fairy lights munching some castagne (roasted chestnuts) which just taste so christmassy and also kept my fingers warm. The street was full of people and I was very pleased that I didn’t have to do any crazy Christmas shopping!
After seeing the tree at Piazza Venezia and passing by Fontana di Trevi (which is not decorated in any way, but simply very beautiful at night) I went to Piazza Spagna, where a firework tree is gracing the steps: it’s animated lights that give the impression of fireworks in Christmas tree shape. It looks very impressive but I can’t decide wether it’s beautiful or tacky!
Christmassy Rome: check!
To finish off the evening I returned home and warmed myself up with a hot tea with proper christmassy spices and all!