Piazza Navona Christmas market: all you need to know about Rome’s most famous festive market

by marta

All you need to know about Piazza Navona Christmas market: where it is, when to go, what to expect, how to visit Piazza Navona market with kids.

The Christmas market of Piazza Navona is an institution in Rome.

The market has been happening for decades and especially in the past, it was a big even with Christmas stalls, food trucks, carousel and a heart-warming festive feel.

In the last few years, the market has become smaller and the stall less impressive: however, it is still a pleasant place to visit, a great thing to do in Rome with kids if you are in Rome at Christmas and the best Christmas market in Rome for location and backdrop!

This is all you need to know to plan a visit.

Good to know! I took the photos in this article during my visit to the market a few days ago, in December 2022, on a Sunday morning/lunchtime hour.

Piazza Navona Christmas market in Rome with crousel and the backdrop of the church of Santa Agnese in Agone, Rome, Italy

Piazza Navona Christmas Market location and how to get there

The Piazza Navona Christmas market takes in place in Piazza Navona itself, in Rome city center.

Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful piazzas in Rome and masterpieces of Baroque architecture, famous for having artwork by artists such as Bernini and Borromini.

When on, the Christmas market takes on the entire square: stalls occupy the long sides of the square and a pretty carousel, nativity scene and balloon sellers stand in the centre.

Access to the square and the market is free.

Piazza Navona is easy to reach on foot from other parts of the city center and the Vatican. Several buses also stop on nearby Corso Vittorio, including bus n. 30, 60, 62, 81, 87.

You can read here >>> all you need to know about Piazza Navona.

Dates and opening hours

The starting date of the Piazza Navona Christmas market change each year and are usually only announces a few weeks before the event.

Usually, the market starts on the 8th of December (the Immaculate Conception, the day that marks the start of the Christmas festivities in Italy) and ends on the 6th of January, the day of the epiphany.

The market opens at 10am and stays open until 1am.

Piazza Navona Christmas market: what to expect

The Piazza Navona Christmas market is an event Romans are fond of and that can be lovely or disappointing depending on expectations.

If you are used to German style markets, with tons of wooden huts, ice rinks and games, this is not it.

The ‘market’ in Rome is more a handful of huts than a proper Christmas village and a place that is pretty to discover is wandering around the city center, but not a place to spend hours in or to plan a trip to Rome for.

Balloon seller in Rome Piazza Navona during the Piazza Navona Christmas Market in Rome

However, if is pretty and worth seeing, if already in the city!

Here, small kids especially will love:

  • The carousel, which only comes to the square in the occasion of the market
  • The balloon sellers
  • The trucks selling sweets
  • The roast chestnut seller
  • The nativity scenes

Grown up are likely to enjoy the beautiful square, the festive atmosphere and the nostalgia indulging candied apples.

In this market, at least in the last few years, you do not find many stalls selling gifts (we only found one this year, and mostly with Christmas decorations) nor mulled wine.

Roasted chestnuts arranged in tidy pile with yellow paper cones

The best time to visit the Piazza Navona Christmas Market with kids

The most traditional days for families to visit the market are Saturdays, Sundays and the 6th of January, for la Befana .

Heading to the market on the day of La Befana, in particular, is a family tradition for many Romans (my family included!) and a great way to meet other kids, celebrating the last day of Christmas in Rome with their parents.

Nativity scene in Piazza Navona, Rome, December 2022, with figurines

Rome’s Piazza Navona market – pin this!

Collage of three photos with roasted chestnuts, Rome carousel and balloon seller with text: Piazza Navona Christmas market Rome travel guide

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