Toto Tours: Rome at Christmas is a magical time when the city outdoes itself in decorative splendor, as befits the home of the Roman Catholic Church. The temperate weather allows visitors and locals alike to spend time outside in the city’s characteristic squares, eating roasted chestnuts as well as gelato. Many churches display artistic and detailed ‘preseppi’, or nativity scenes, some dating to the seventeenth century. Christmas Eve Mass at St Peter’s can be a moving experience for faithful and non-believers alike. The Christmas market in Piazza Navona brings a typically Italian twist to a northern European tradition. In short, Christmastime in Rome adds another layer of wonder to what is already an intoxicating blend of sights, sounds, smells and tastes, of art, culture and life.
- Guided walking tour to Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza di Spagna with the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navonathe Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- Guided tour to the Borghese Gallery, considered the best museum in Rome, built by Cardinal Scipione Borghese (nephew of Pope Paul V) to house his private art collection
- A whole-day exploration of the Vatican Museums, containing an immense collection of art and St Peter’s Basilica, and the largest Christian church in the world
- Enjoy a special Christmas feast on Christmas day
- Visit sculptural masterpieces by Gianlorenzo Bernini and Antonio Canova, and paintings by Caravaggio, Raphael and Titian amongst others
Day 1: Thursday, Depart Home Bound for Rome, Italy
This is a travel day, with tour services beginning tomorrow in Rome, Italy. Book a flight from your home city to the Rome’s Fiumicino – Leonardo da Vinci International Airport. Use the airport code FCO when searching for flights online. Please time your arrival no later than 4:00 pm on December 22nd so that you may participate in our Welcome Dinner. If you are not able to arrive by that time, we suggest you plan to depart a day early, on Wednesday, December 20th, and arrive on December 21st. For those who wish to arrive a day early, please indicate this on your reservation form so that we can hold a room for you at our Rome hotel. (Meals Aloft)
Day 2: Friday, Arrive in Rome / Welcome Dinner
After arriving in Rome, make your way to our centrally located hotel. There is a non-stop train that operates from the main airport terminal to the Termini Station, Rome’s major rail hub. This train leaves the airport every 15 minutes and takes roughly 30 minutes to arrive in the city center. From the Termini Station, it will then be a low-cost taxi fare to get to our hotel. Hotel check-in is typically at 3:00pm. You will have the afternoon free to relax or do some exploring on your own. This evening Toto Tours hosts a reception in our hotel’s bar/lounge for introductions before we head to our Welcome Dinner. Overnight in Rome. (Dinner included)
Day 3: Saturday, Trevi Fountain / Pantheon / Spanish Steps / Christmas Market
Our guided walking tour includes the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon (best preserved Roman structure anywhere in the world), Piazza di Spagna with the Spanish Steps, and Piazza Navona considered Rome’s most beautiful public space whose plan follows that of the Roman athletic stadium upon which it was built. Rome’s Christmas market is situated here. Also enjoy an included gelato at Gelateria La Palma, which boasts of having 150 flavors. During today’s tour see several locations used for the filming of Dan Brown’s book Angels & Demons, including Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, along with the churches of Santa Maria della Vittoria with Bernini’s “Ecstacy of Santa Theresa” and Santa Maria del Popolo with two Caravaggio masterpieces. We finish the day by crossing the original Roman bridge leading to Castel Sant’Angelo, originally the tomb of the bisexual emperor Hadrian, which was later converted into a fortress for the Pope’s protection. (Breakfast)
Day 4: Sunday, Colosseum / Forum / Palatine Hill
Today’s guided tour includes the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. The Colosseum was the Roman Empire’s greatest amphitheater, where gladiators and wild animals fought for 400 years. The Forum was the political, religious, commercial and judicial center of the city and its territories. On Palatine Hill, legend, fable and tradition claim that Romulus killed his brother Remus and established the city. Later the Emperors would build their residences on the same site. (Breakfast)
Day 5: Monday, Free Day / Christmas
Because of the Christmas holiday, most of the city is quiet today. As we have done on previous Christmastime tours, we will fill the day with some leisurely activities. We will gather to have a late breakfast together at our hotel and do a little gift presentation. Then we might take a stroll through the quiet city streets near our hotel to enjoy the sights, along with perhaps another visit to the Christmas Market. Click here to read some of the things that were possible to do in Rome on Christmas Day in 2016. We will inform participants in advance about today’s options. In the evening, we will have a special Christmas feast. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Day 6: Tuesday, Borghese Gallery
Today we have a guided tour of the Borghese Gallery. Often considered the best museum in Rome, the Borghese was built by Cardinal Scipione Borghese (nephew of Pope Paul V) to house his private art collection. It contains sculptural masterpieces by Gianlorenzo Bernini and Antonio Canova, and paintings by Caravaggio, Raphael and Titian amongst others. The evening is free. (Breakfast)
Day 7: Wednesday, the Vatican / Farewell Dinner
Today is reserved for a full exploration of the Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Basilica. The Vatican Museums contain an immense collection of art, including Michelangelo’s frescos in the Sistine Chapel and many celebrated statues from antiquity. St Peter’s Basilica is the largest Christian church in the world and was built (according to tradition) above the tomb of the apostle Peter. Much of the interior decoration was designed by Gianlorenzo Bernini, while among its treasures are the Pietà by Michelangelo (who also designed the dome). This evening Toto Tours hosts a festive Farewell Dinner to toast the conclusion of our Roman Holiday. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Day 8: Thursday, Departure
Tour services conclude this morning. Breakfast is provided at the hotel and you may book your return flights home for any convenient time today. The hotel concierge will help arrange for taxi cabs taking you either to the Termini Station to catch the train back to the airport or back to the airport itself. Let us know if you would like to extend your stay in Rome. (Breakfast)
Grand Hotel Palatino – Rome
Tour prices per person
Price: $2,200 in double occupancy hotel accommodations.
Private Room: $400 additional, for a total tour price of $2,600.
(Paying a single supplement is not required. Toto Tours will try to match you with a roommate if you are traveling alone and prefer to share a room. If this is not possible, a single supplement will be applied to your reservation before the final payment date.)
(Due at time of registration for the tour. May be paid with a credit card.)
Remaining Balance: $1,600 double / $2,000 single
Remaining Balance Due: October 2, 2017 (80 days prior to departure)
(Full payment required with reservation form if enrolling after this date.)
Note: The tour price does not include bank service charges for processing credit card payments, and assumes that the balance of the tour price will be paid by check. If you would like to pay the final balance with a credit card, a 4% service charge will be applied. Let us know if you wish to pay by credit card, and we will adjust your invoice accordingly.
Included: Six nights hotel accommodations; six breakfasts served at hotel; Welcome Dinner; Christmas Feast; Farewell Dinner; motorcoach transportation while sightseeing within Rome (some tours are walking tours); meals and activities as described in the itinerary, fully guided and escorted tour.
Not Included: Round trip airfare to Rome (FCO); airport transfers; transportation for sightseeing on your own (taxis, local guides, etc.); meals and optional activities not specifically listed in the itinerary; camera fees; alcoholic beverages; insurance; laundry, telephone calls, faxes, or any other expenses of a personal nature. Tips to drivers and guides and other conveyance attendants are not included; tipping guidelines for our group tips will be provided prior to departure.