Agoda in the News releases very merry Christmas deals for Rome

SINGAPORE (November 30, 2011), a leading global hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq: PCLN), today announced special Christmas deals for hotels in Rome.

While Rome's status as a top tier destination is undisputed, travelers visiting over Christmas time can experience an event unique to the Eternal City. As temperatures fall and lights are strung in streets and squares, Roman Catholics anticipate the biggest event of the year: Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican.

Each year, Midnight Mass is held in St. Peter's Basilica, led by Pope Benedict XVI. Visitors can pre-book free tickets to attend mass inside the cathedral or can join a congregation of thousands in St Peter's Square. Midnight Mass includes a Papal sermon, prayer, hymns by the Vatican Choir and the unveiling of the presepio – a life-size nativity scene recreated every year.

Making a presepio, or nativity crèche, is a long-standing Italian tradition. To celebrate this Christmas custom, an annual exhibition – 100 Presepi – is held in the Bramantes Hall of the Santa Maria del Popolo. Presepi from 25 different countries feature in the exhibition this year, including scenes crafted in Thailand, Tanzania and Brazil.

Midnight Mass and presepi are just a fraction of what makes Rome special at Christmas. Travelers who want to explore other aspects of the city, such as its history, its cuisine, or its shopping, will find conditions ideal for exploring Rome on foot.

At Christmas, tourist crowds wane and shops, restaurants and buses reduce service hours, leaving the streets calm and quiet. Sightseers can wander the city at a relaxed pace and enjoy chilly evening strolls through squares filled with colorful gift stalls and decorative lights. The days are crisp and sunny, and attractions such as the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum are easier to enjoy than they are in the heat of the summer tourist season.

As always, Rome is a treasure trove for art lovers. The Galleria Borghese hosts a collection of ancient Roman sculptures and paintings by the masters, including several Baroque classics by Caravaggio.  The 15th century Basilica di Sant'Agostino, close to Piazza Navona, is also worth discovering. Inside, visitors will find frescoes, including 'The Prophet Isaiah' by Raphael, plus several Baroque pieces, including 'Madonna di Loreto' by Caravaggio.

To enjoy Rome this festive season, whether for museums or for Midnight Mass, has secured some hard-to-find deals in Rome. Rome Christmas hotel specials in Rome

NH Leonardo Da Vinci 4*
Rates from USD 143 per night. Minimum stay 3 nights. Save 16%

Visconti Palace Hotel 4*
Rates from USD 119 per night. Minimum stay 3 nights.

Hotel Alessandrino 3*
Rates from USD 101 per night. Must book at least 15 days in advance. Save 15%

Hotel Dei Mellini 4*
Rates from USD 211 per night. Minimum stay 2 nights. Save 10%

Beldes Hotel 3*
Rates from USD 128 per night. Non-refundable. Save 18%

Hotel Cicerone 4*
Rates from USD 116 per night. Non-refundable. Save 10%

Hotel Isa 4*
Rates from USD 178 per night. Minimum stay 3 nights. Save 5%

Orange Hotel 4*
Rates from USD 150 per night. Minimum stay 3 nights. Save 20%

Waldorf Hotel 3*
Rates from USD 64 per night. Minimum stay 3 nights. Save 10%

NH Giustiniano 4*
Rates from USD 155 per night. Minimum stay 3 nights. Save 16%