Christmas is drawing near and Rome is preparing the decorations, events, markets, shows and Nativity scenes that make the atmosphere even more magical. One of the most characteristic markets is the one in Piazza Re, open until Christmas eve, offering sweets, local specialties, lights, decorations and toys for children. From 10 to 13 December in Piazzale Ankara (Flaminio stadium zone) there many stalls that offer typical Roman specialties, decorations and a variety of gift ideas. In the charming Piazza Caprera, one of the most beautiful late nineteenth century piazzas of Rome, the market recalls the traditional Christmas markets of northern Italy, where you can sip a glass of vin brulé as you stroll, perhaps with some hot chestnuts, or a cup of hot chocolate (13 and 14 December). Smaller, but still quite pleasant, is the Christmas market in the Sala Mazzoni, thirty stands offering products of organic farming and more, from 12 December to 3 January. From 26 December, the non-profit stalls will be back in Casa Betania, with hand-crafted articles on sale for charitable purposes. The traditional market in Piazza Navona will not be held, but the piazza will be transformed into a space for children with merry-go-round, fun fair and entertainment. In the piazza, but also in Via dei Coronari, in Via dell’Orso and at Sant’Eustachio, there will be concerts of mandolins, gospel music and minstrels. For Nativity scene enthusiasts, the 41st edition of the Mostra dei 100 Presepi will be open until 8 January in the Bramante hall of the Basilica di Santa Maria in Piazza del Popolo. The exposition actually includes 200 representations from all the regions of Italy and 25 foreign countries. From miniatures to life-size statues, they are made of the most unusual materials. From 8 to 14 December the 15th edition of the Arts and Craft Market will be held at Cinecittà. This is a show and market proposing unique, original works that are ready to wear or to wrap and place under your Christmas tree. It would not be Christmas in Rome without the gigantic illuminated fir tree in Piazza San Pietro that the Pope, according to tradition, will light on 14 December for the official opening of the most important holidays of the year.