Italy: Rome’s Befana Christmas market to return to Piazza Navona

Rome: Rome’s popular Befana market will return to Piazza Navona this Christmas and is scheduled from 1 December until 6 January 2023, the city has announced.

The event, a traditional fixture on Rome’s Christmas calendar, was cancelled for the last two years due to the covid pandemic.

This year the city has published tenders to assign 22 operating licenses to stall-holders, with the goal of filling all 64 stall spaces at the market.

The tenders are open until 14 October and the capital says it will give preference to women traders and those under 35.

The exisiting licences were granted in 2017 as part of a controversial nine-year concession scheme overseen during the administration of former mayor Virginia Raggi.

The new stalls are to sell quality products including food from the Lazio region, toys, Christmas decorations, sweets, books, Christmas trees, leather goods and gift items. The carousel is also set to return.

In addition the city has put out tenders for Christmas street lights – a prospect hampered by spiralling energy costs – and has already sought sponsors for the Christmas tree in Piazza Venezia.

The Vatican’s Christmas tree in St Peter’s this year will reportedly come from the Rosello forest in the Chieti province of Italy’s central Abruzzo region.