Events in Rome: Rome and the Epiphany, an awaited feast in the heart of the Romans
The celebration of the Epiphany in Rome is a moment of great importance that unites people and promotes social sharing. This festival, with roots dating back to the nineteenth century and extending to the present day, is characterized by a variety of events. The period that includes the feast of the Epiphany is an ideal opportunity to explore Rome and admire all its wonders. Here are some of the unmissable events dedicated to the feast of the Epiphany.
The history of the Befana tradition: an ancient festival to discover
The festival of the Epiphany is an event that involves the entire Italian territory, but its celebration takes on different shades depending on the regions. In Rome, the tradition of the Befana has deep roots that date back to 1800. At that time, the custom of celebrating the day of the Epiphany spread to Piazza Sant'Eustachio, where the Romans met in celebration to commemorate the occasion.
The undisputed protagonists of this day were children, but adults also enjoyed exploring the many stalls that offered gifts of all kinds and irresistible sweets. However, the main attraction of the festival was the gigantic grotesque puppets depicting the Befana as an old witch with a hooked nose.
After the Unification of Italy, the decision was made to move the festivities from the lively Piazza Sant'Eustachio to the beautiful Piazza Navona, which at the time housed a renowned local market. The square was already dominated by the majestic statue of the newt by Bernini, and the fountain became the focus of the celebrations for the Epiphany, with a magnificent bright setting that in the following years became the iconic official setting of the festival.
On the day of January 6, Piazza Navona came to life with stalls of all kinds, offering Roman revellers the opportunity to buy small gifts, cribs and culinary specialties typical of Rome and the season. Despite the change of location, the party never lost its joyful, noisy and engaging character that distinguished it.
The unmissable events of the Epiphany in the present
Even today, Piazza Navona is the privileged place to celebrate the Epiphany in Rome. Thousands of tourists and Romans gather every year to celebrate the old lady with the broom that brings gifts to good children and coal to the bad ones. Since the days before January 6, the square comes alive with stalls and stands that offer a variety of delicacies to fill the stockings of adults and children. However, it is the very day of January 6 that represents the highlight of the holiday. From the early hours of the morning, stalls are set up with gifts, toys and much more. There is no shortage of packaged or loose confectionery stalls, as well as traditional food products.
The wait is great for the procession of the Befana, with numerous masked figures representing the protagonists of fairy tales and legends related to this festival. However, the main event is definitely the arrival of the Epiphany itself. Once reached the central square, the Befana breaks the pinata with her broom, thus starting the most cheerful celebrations. The event in Piazza Navona is completely free and open to all, without entrance fees. Of course, during the most intense moments of the festival, you can find yourself in the midst of a large crowd, but the joyful atmosphere that you breathe in the square makes it worth it to bear a few rows at the stalls to buy the delights that tickle the palate.
The stories and legends of the Epiphany in the Roman tradition
The feast of the Epiphany is an expected and beloved event every year, and throughout history has given rise to several legends. One of the oldest and most rooted is that of "Er Pupo", the Bambinello, which was part of the wonderful crib kept in the Basilica dell'Ara Coeli, overlooking the city of Rome from the Hill of the Capitol. The wooden statue of the Child Jesus was considered an indicator of the possibility of obtaining a grace. When the petitioner was hopeless, the statue’s lips became pale, as they dyed pink when the miracle was possible. Unfortunately, the statue was stolen and its fate remained a mystery.
The theft occurred during the feast of Epiphany, when it was customary to carry the statue in procession through the streets of Rome. Another legend linked to the Epiphany dates back to Ancient Rome. In those centuries, the cult of the goddess Diana was widespread, and ten days after the feast of the Sol Invictus, on the night of January 6, it was said that Diana and her nymphs traveled the fields to give their blessing and the fruits of the farmers' work.
With the advent of Christianity, failing to eliminate this pagan festival, it was decided to exploit it to their advantage, associating the arrival of the Three Kings and their gifts to the day of January 6. The image of a deformed old woman carrying gifts could derive from the image of Diana, who, in addition to being a deity, was also considered a fearsome witch, able to reward the good and punish the unbelievers.
Accommodation in Rome during the Epiphany
Rome, a tourist destination full of opportunities, offers you a wide choice of accommodation that suits your needs. The "Rome with View" rooms in Rome are definitely an ideal choice. Located in the heart of the city, these rooms offer a strategic position to explore the most fascinating places and, in particular, the beautiful Spanish Steps, the hub of the celebrations for the Epiphany.
In addition to comfort and first-class services, the "Rome with View" rooms guarantee an unforgettable experience. For room availability and rates, please contact the property directly.
Treat yourself and your family a special Epiphany, come to Rome to celebrate this tradition at the rooms "Rome with View".