Sometimes in Italy religion and folklore are the two sides of the very same coin.
That coin is the Immaculate Conception day.
When you wonder what to do in Rome on December the 8th, you are actually wondering how to move on that thin line that separates the deepest religious feeling of the Immaculate Conception with the drive to taste the first bites of a December that looks like a long-lasting meal on a table laid from the 8th ’till the 31st, full of fragrance, flavors and fascination.
We think the two things can combine together.
off the answer to your question: what to do in Rome the 8th of December?
07:30 am – Firemen at Piazza Mignanelli
For the sake of laziness every Roman claims he’s off to the Spanish Steps, even when actually he’s going somewhere else close.
That’s exactly what happens for the first bite of the 8th of December, when the main act in the early morning is in fact not at the Spanish Steps, but in Piazza Mignanelli, where takes place the long lasting tradition in the form of the firemen climbing the beautiful column with the Holy Mary on the top of it, saluting her with a crown of laurel.
They raised it the 8th of December 1857 and since 1923, every year, they repeat this joyful set up.
Breakfast – Bar Frattina
So, you woke up early (far too early being in vacation!), but you are not used to be an early bird.
You rushed to Piazza Mignanelli but didn’t get the chance to have a proper breakfast.
Here’s your chance: from the square take Via Frattina and you will stumble on Bar Frattina, a classic Roman bar where having your Cornetto e Cappuccino to satiate your hunger.
10:00 am – English mass at San Silvestro In Capite
Now it’s time for your spirit to have its fair share. Close to Via Frattina, in Piazza San Silvestro, there is the San Silvestro In Capite church where two times a day they provide english mass for the anglophones: at 10 am and 5:30 pm, even more on the Immaculate Conception day.
San Silvestro In Capite web site
Piazza del Popolo – the 100 Nativity Scenes exhibition & Caravaggio
To continue your journey through religion and folklore, you should know that more than 40 years ago it opened in Santa Maria del Popolo the 100 Nativity Scenes exhibition. It opens from the 27th of November until the 7th of January, from 09:30 am until 8:00 pm. It’s the Italian tradition at its best, where craftmen show the effort of a whole year creating the best nativity scene possible.
… While you are at it, how about to see The Crucifixion of Saint Peter and The Conversion of Saint Paul, two breathtaking masterpieces by Caravaggio hosted in the church?
Waiting for the main act of the day, when the Pope at 4pm will reach Piazza Mignanelli to salute the Holy Mary, you could go to Campo De’ Fiori for some street food and start our Highlights of Rome tour, where our guide will lead you through some mesmerizing open air spots and will end this marvelous christmas-vibe experience at the Spanish Steps, just in time for the Pope 😉
04:00 pm – The Pope at Piazza Mignanelli
For a catholic, this is the 8th of December: the Pope surrounded by thousands of devotees that reach the square in order to salute the Holy Mary with a pray, for a moment of emotional silence in the heart of downtown (talking about miracles!).
Ice Skating at the Auditorium
In Rome doesn’t snow that often.
Frankly, it doesn’t quite snow at all, but we don’t give up our christmas dreams and for a month we can ice skating too, and it takes place in a wonderful setting: the Auditorium, a multi-functional complex dedicated to music, cinema and cultural meetings enriching the patrimony of Rome.
Constructed by the worldwide archistar Renzo Piano, visiting the Auditorium on the Immaculate Conception day is the perfect way to finish a journey full of Roman suggestions, folklore and religious fulfillment.