Now the nights are drawing in and the temperature has dropped, Rome is not always the first destination to pop into one's head for an off-season break. However, the chilly season is actually one of the best times to visit the city. Apart from the overcrowded fortnight during Christmas and New Year, there are thousands of reasons to visit the Eternal City between November and March. Here are just a few:1) No Queues - Rome is a zoo in high season with thousands of tourists shuffling through the city absently clicking their camera as they catch a glimpse of the glory of Rome. If you want to know more about this, check out Capodanno Roma.  Queues for the Colosseum and Vatican snake miles down the street and involve an exhausting wait which leaves little energy for the masterpieces of history. How lovely to stroll straight in and take your time to appreciate your surroundings at your own pace. The city is more tranquil in winter, and therefore so are you.2) Food - Roman food is delicious whatever the weather but there's something truly special about digging into a steaming plate of Bucatini all' Amatriciana in a cosy restaurant while the rain lashes at the windows. Or settling under a gas heater outside a bar in Campo de' Fiori to people watch while sipping a glass of red wine, which turns into a bottle. Some of the best foods of the region come into season in the winter months; think punterelle with the classic anchovy, garlic and vinegar dressing or a crunchy fried artichoke alla giudia. It's a great period to try out a Roman style long lunch and your stomach will thank you for it!3) Christmas Lights- The period just before Christmas or after New Year is perhaps the most picturesque time to visit the city. Lights twinkle down the small labyrinthine alleyways and a huge 23-foot Christmas tree, dotted with 15,000 lights, dominates Piazza Venezia. Over at the Vatican the traditional nativity scene and tree in the centre of Piazza San Pietro just scream Christmas spirit while the traditional Christmas market in Piazza Navona will turn even the biggest Scrooge into a festive elf. The juxtaposition of Bernini's spectacular Fountain of the Four Rivers with candy stalls, hook-a-duck and Santa's sleigh is a sight well worth seeing.4) Bargains- The sales start in early January and there are plenty of bargains to be had as everybody in Rome flocks to the sales to stock up their wardrobes. Whether you head to the label lovers' paradise of Via Condotti, the high street stores on Via del Corso or the small boutiques in Trastevere or Monti it's a great opportunity to pick up a little of that Italian style at a great price.5) Save Your Cash - There are some great deals for visiting Rome off-season, flights are cheap as low-budget airlines struggle to fill planes while hotels and apartments offer tempting last-minute deals...For more info, visit Capodanno Roma. _

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