6 Reasons to Go to Rome in December

Why visit Rome in December

This past December, I had the pleasure of visiting Rome. I didn't think that was something I would ever say! But many people believe, “Rome? In December? But why?” And I'm going to tell you why! Because there are so many reasons to visit Rome during this time, and I promise you will not regret it.

1. Fewer Crowds

One of the best things about going to Rome in December is the lack of crowds. Yes, there will still be lines and droves of people at specific high-volume historic sites and attractions. But the number of groups will be significantly less, especially if you wander around more local places like Trastevere, the oldest and most authentic (in my opinion) area of Rome.

Trastevere is centuries old, populated by the working class of Rome, and filled with traditional and innovative trattorias, craft beer pubs, artisan shops, affordable B&Bs, and budget hotels. And the best part of going to Trastevere in December is that you feel like you're living like a local of Rome.

2. Better Rates on Trips to Rome in December

The reason I chose to go to Rome in December was because of the great travel deals. I bought a package from TripMasters, which was an excellent experience. TripMasters puts together affordable packages that include hotel accommodations and flights. I scored international flight, three nights in Rome, a trip from Rome to Barcelona, and three nights in Barcelona for around $1,000. I think most people can agree on what a good deal that is.

3. Beautiful Scenery

I cannot aptly describe how beautiful Rome is in December. The leaves are the most magnificent colors. You may experience a good deal of rain, so you'll need to prepare. But nothing makes you feel more like a local than walking around with an umbrella in the streets of Rome, stopping for coffee or wine midday to escape the rain. Make sure to pack a travel umbrella!

6 Reasons to Go to Rome in December
The beautiful fall colors of Rome in December, walking along the River Tiber in the morning. © Vanessa Pruitt

4. Christmas in Rome in December

Need I say more? Christmas in Rome seems just a little bit more magical. What is a perfect place to do some of your Christmas shopping (given that you have room in your luggage to bring things home)? You will appreciate the decorations this time of year. The huge lighted Christmas tree in the courtyard of The Sistine Chapel and The Vatican Museum is magical as well.

6 Reasons to Go to Rome in December
Nativity scene and christmas tree in front of the Sistine Chapel. © Vanessa Pruitt


6 Reasons to Go to Rome in December
Christmas decorations in Trastevere in Rome during December. © Vanessa Pruitt

5. Live More Like Locals of Rome

I highly recommend staying in Trastevere during your trip to Rome. In December, you'll encounter fewer tourists, and you'll experience living among locals in the area. Make sure you wander to a cafe in the morning hours. You'll meet Italians of all age groups gathering for their morning cup. Enjoy a traditional Italian breakfast: A cappuccino, toast with jam, a croissant, and fresh-squeezed juice.

I stayed at the Ripens in Trastevere, a very welcoming bed and breakfast that included a complimentary breakfast at Terra Satis, just a short walk away.

6 Reasons to Go to Rome in December
A traditional Italian breakfast at Terra Satis in Trastevere, Rome. © Vanessa Pruitt

6. Meet Non-Touristy Travelers in Rome in December

My experience may be anecdotal: In December, you'll meet more regular travelers than more ignorant tourists (like myself). I used Couch Surfing to connect with a group of 3 friends who were going to be in Rome at the same time as me. We met up in a central location and explored Rome for two days together. They were invaluable resources, teaching me about traveling abroad and keeping me in good company for two days during my stay. I also got to learn about their own cultures. It was indeed a magical experience.

6 Reasons to Go to Rome in December
Feet representing 4 countries around the world. © Vanessa Pruitt

Stay tuned for future articles. I will discuss essentials for traveling to Europe, packing for an international trip with a carry on and one medium suitcase, and what I would do differently. I plan to also write about all of the places I highly recommend visiting while in Rome!

6 Reasons to Go to Rome in December

Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS