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. On the Eve of January 6 th, the Befana visits children and leavecandies and presents in their socks, if they have been good, or lump of sugar coal and dark candies, if they had been bad.
If you are in Rome, here are 5 things you can do on the Epiphany week end.
1 – Visit the Market in Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona will be the center of many events for children and grown-ups. Even if this year the traditional stands with candies and decorations will be less than usual, you’ll find also exhibitions, shows and workshops every day.
On the Epiphany day in the Square will take place a Nativity scene, with interactive educational activities. And in the evening , the Procession of the Magi, will start from Piazza della Cancelleria, through Piazza Navona, to the door of Palazzo Braschi.
2 – “Viva la Befana” in Saint peter’s Square
The historical and folkloric march “Viva la Befana”, for the 33rd year in 2018, will parade along Via della Conciliazione to St. Peter’s Square. After the example of the Magi, reenactment groups, flag bearers, marching bands, horses, carriages, and many “Befane” will represent with fanciful scenes, history, culture, traditions, products and resources of Italy.
3 – See Pope Francis
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).
Without tickets you can join the devotees in Saint Peter’s Square for the Angelus. Pope Francis will appear from the window of an apartment of the Apostolic Palace. He gives a short speech followed by the Angelus, ending with a blessing. He may also greet the crowd in various languages. The blessing, including the various greetings, usually lasts a maximum of 20 minutes. You do not need tickets for the Angelus, but plan to get there early to find a good spot.
4 – Visit a museum
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, and others.
On the contrary, Vatican Museums will be closed on January 6th.
January 7th is the first Sunday of the month and many Museums and archeological sites, for example the Colosseum, are free. Here you can find a list of what is free: on the MiBact official site.
5 – Shopping!
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!!!