A Roman Surprise. . . . . .


Let me take you back to the Roman Christmas my family had. David had taken students to spend the fall semester in Rome and the children and I were to fly over and meet him for Christmas.  The apartment he had that time was spacious and elegant, but rather noisy as it was high over a busy intersection.  Those of you who have visited Rome, know there is an endless shrieking  siren sound , day and night.

David had bought a lovely live tree and put a garden of poinsettias under it. There was lots of candy from the Piazza Navona Christmas market. As we walked around the city getting reacquainted with memorable places from past visits, we noticed next to no decorations, no lights of the trees or over the streets,  no wreaths etc.  Not a one of the many Christmas displays so prevalent in the United States. (This may be different now, as this Christmas I am recounting was in the 80s.)

In my previous post, I told you about  Christmas Eve ,the fish dinner tradition of ancient Christianity, and our foiled attempt to get to midnight mass.


We first noticed the deadly quiet from the streets below, as we awoke on Christmas morning.  Honestly, Rome is one of the noisiest cities in the world, but not on Christmas morning.  Next we noticed very few people  walking.  We hurriedly got dressed and headed to our Cappuccino Bar for breakfast. Not a single one in our neighborhood was open.  We walked near a church and there were groups of families going in.  Next, we noticed the missing  street vendors who sell flowers from Africa. . . . usually so colorful and fragrant, there were no  paperboys. . . . nothing was open. Everyone must be home with their families for Christmas morning.  I asked  David if had  any food in his apartment. . . some bread , wine, and fruit.  But of course we expected to eat at least dinner out while we were there.  And I had not expected to COOK!   Yikes. . . . Maybe a simple pasta? None of the restaurants were open for dinner, but we didn’t starve!

We were still dumbstruck that in this very secular city that it would completely shut down  for a Christian  holiday. Well  that was the case, Christmas in Rome is a family celebration and remembrance of the birth of the  Christ child  All day we saw families entering the cathedrals  with their children, and go to the presepe (nativity)  display of the long ago Bethlehem miracle.  They are amazing to see and each church has a special touch. . . a waterfall, or maybe  a moving star for the Magi to follow.

These magnificent churches  we had visited on other days, were  nearly empty for daily mass except for the older women in black were now drawing families to see, remember, and discuss the story of the Christ child.  Maybe it was just a tradition, maybe the respect of Romans for families and especially mothers, or maybe even in this secular country a tiny mustard seed of faith and hope  for the story of the Savior of the World  come to earth on a Christmas night, so long ago.

So on this December 23 as I remember a special Roman Christmas, I want to share with you pictures from Google Images of some of the magnificent presepe in the over 360 churches in Rome.

Merry Christmas! 


13 - Nativity Scene - Les Augstins de Fribourg





Buon Natalie a Roma !

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
This entry was posted in Architecture, Religions of the World, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to A Roman Surprise. . . . . .

  1. ShaunyNews says:

    Great blog…x
    I love how you can share 3 Christmas’s…
    From 3 Cultures.
    Italy, India and USA…
    I can only share a Scottish Christmas. So you are blessed in a small way.

    You are a wonderful woman Anne.
    Don’t stop doing what you do, never stop being who you are.
    I can tell stories and people take them as if it’s hate.
    Never, just passion. You share good things, amazing things.
    Things people like and talk back too…
    I write things that scare people…But know it scares me too..

    From Dawn the kids and I …
    Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and loved ones..
    This is 1 day of the year where we are ALL connected via love.
    That love can be God, Parents, Partners, our Kids, our friends.. x
    Sometimes as a kid I used to always think to myself
    “Why are people so nice on Christmas yet are all nasty and frosty come the New Year”
    Scotland celebrated Christmas almost alone with family.
    But we bring in the New Year with the World. We are exposed for what our Culture is.
    Same as me looking Time Square, Hong Kong or Sydney Australia.

    Have a good one Anne….
    My love from Scotland x

    Liked by 1 person

    • annetbell says:

      Shaun, thanks for the lovely Christmas gift message. There is no doubt that I have been greatly blessed. Next year, I will share Christmas in India, which will probably surprise people too! Much love for a happy Christmas for you, Dawn, and your family. Thank you for your friendship which is always intriguing! I look forward to great stories and news from my Scottish friend, Shaun in 2016!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. raulconde001 says:

    Reblogged this on raulconde001 and commented:
    See pictures of a beautiful time in Rome, Italy.


  3. etinkerbell says:

    I live in Rome so I understand your Roman Christmas bewildement. However, in case you come back to Rome for Christmas time again, you would be pleased to know that nowadays many bars are run by Chinese, hence they are open even on Christmas day. 😉 Have a fabulous Christmas. Stefy. 🙋


  4. annetbell says:

    David said, “Good.” to your message! Thanks so much for the information! Have a lovely Christmas! Thanks for taking time to write!


  5. ShaunyNews says:

    Often I wish I had blogged things like this and not scary stories…
    But it’s not important. The people behind me and on my lap listening to music are the important parts.. Knowing what is really important is something you taught me Anne…
    And I can’t thank you enough.. .lol

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Norm 2.0 says:

    Merry Christmas and all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

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