By Orson Johnson
If you happen to be in Rome during the Christmas season, you should not fail to pay visit to the Piazza Navona Christmas Market. From the market, visitors will be able to spot famous Roman architecture in the surrounding areas. The market square is an important part of the city's architectural history and was built in the first century to serve as a Roman Circus where the people could enjoy games, horse races and theatrical shows. The piazza Navona was once known as the Stadium of Domitian. It is is hedged in by a beautiful church and three fountains, namely, the Fountain of the Four Rivers, Fountain of the Moor and the Fountain of Neptune. There are a few other buildings around the piazza as well.
Currently, the piazza Navona functions as a Christmas market that combines nostalgia with brisk business. It is an excellent location for this market since its rich cultural history and splendid fountains makes it popular with tourists. During the Christmas season, it comes alive as a spectacular market and features Christmas decorations, paraphernalia, statuettes, cribs, nativity figurines and Christmas tree decorations. You can find interesting seasonal food items and Italian Christmas cuisine specialities as well as souvenirs. There is no vehicular traffic on the square, leaving plenty of space for pedestrians to walk around and explore the area.
The fountains in the Piazza add to the beauty of the Christmas market and cool down the area.
Taking pictures around the fountains is a popular activity of tourists. The easily accessible shops, stalls, cafes and terraces around the square augur well for shopping enthusiasts. The Piazza Navona Christmas Market also features street performances, mimicry, a carousel and Santa Claus in his grotto. The Santa section of the market is very popular with children, and adds to the festive mood of Christmas.
For those interested in purchasing Christmas cookies, breads, puddings, cakes and other Italian dishes, there is plenty to choose from. The traditional Christmas cakes to look for are torrone (a nougat bar made with almonds and honey), biscotti, panettone and pandoro. Porchetta sandwiches made of pork, prosciutto and capicolli with spiced sausage should be on your list of local food items to sample at the Piazza Navona Christmas Market. There are also candies, cakes, pastries, ginger bread and plenty of other sweets on sale.
After the Christmas season, the market becomes a Befana market and celebrates Befana, a local festival that follows Christmas. Celebrated on January 6th, an old woman called Befana replaces the Santa Claus act by handing out sweets to children.
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Self catering apartments Rome and Rome accommodation services.
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