Epiphany is national holiday in Italy, and is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God as a human being in Jesus Christ. Is the commemoration of the manifestation of Christ, and of the Adoration of the Magi. In popular folklore, the “Befana” is an old lady riding a broomstick through the air, that visits children on the eve of January 6th to fill their socks with candy and presents if they had been good or a lump of sugar-coal and dark candy if they had been bad.
What can be done in Rome during the Epiphany week-end?
Piazza Navona will be the center of many events for children and grown-ups. Even if this year the traditional stands are not there, you’ll find exhibitions, shows and workshops every day, and on January 6 also a living Nativity scene. Until January 8th a stage will hold cultural activities and entertainment for families and children. On the Epiphany day, at 11:30 am, will open the Nativity scene, with interactive educational activities linked to the products of ancient Palestine, representations of ancient dances, gladiator fights and slave market. At 5.00 pm will take place the Procession of the Magi, from Piazza della Cancelleria, through Piazza Navona, to the door of Palazzo Braschi.
In Saint Peter’s Square will take place the 32nd edition of the historical and folkloric “Viva la Befana” march, to reaffirm and transmit the values of the Epiphany. 1300 people in costume will parade along Via della Conciliazione to St. Peter. The actors, that will arrive accompanied by their mayors, will offer to all the families of Rome fragments of history, culture, traditions, products and resources of southern Umbria, to fill with content the ancient tradition of giving. After the example of the Magi, reenactment groups, flag bearers, marching bands, 20 horses, a carriage, and many “Befane” will represent with fanciful scenes, history, culture, traditions, products and resources of southern Umbria.
Pope Francis will celebrate the last major ceremony of the New Year’s celebrations, the Solemnity of the Epiphany, in Saint Peter’s Basilica, on January 6th at 10.00 am (tickets are required).
Most of Rome Museums and archeological sites will be open on January 6th: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Villa Borghese (booking is mandatory), Castel Sant’Angelo, Museo Nazionale Romano, National Gallery of Modern Art, Caracalla’s Baths, and others.
On the contrary, Vatican Museums will be closed on January 6th.
Last but not least, this is winter saldi time in Italy: a lot of shops will be open and you can find convenient discounts… So, don’t forget to go shopping!!!