New Year’s is fast approaching! With that in mind, here’s a sampling of some of the traditions, gatherings and celebrations unfolding over New Years Eve in Italy. Or, as the Italians call it, cappodano. If you ever get to spend New Years Eve in Italy, deciding which place has the most spectacular celebration will be a challenge. The entire country erupts in fireworks and, in smaller towns and villages, firecrackers. Of course, Italians being Italians, there’s also song, food and drink. There are large celebrations in Rome, Venice and Florence as well as in Rimini and Bologna. There are outdoor concerts in Milan, Naples and Palerma. Ah, New Years Eve in Italy!
In Rome, two of the largest gathering points are the Piazza del Popolo and the Via dei Fori Imperiali, with the Colosseum as a backdrop. You can expect throngs — think Times Square, Italian style — so be prepared to be pressed in the crowds or to retreat down a side street. Both locations ring in the New Year with fireworks and live music. Families with young children, take note: On New Year’s Day, Piazza del Popolo hosts performances aimed at children.
In Venice, St. Mark’s Square is the site of a huge group kiss at midnight, as well as live music and fireworks. Another gathering point is Piazza Ferretto. On New Year’s Day, folks brave, or hungover, enough for the chilly waters go swimming at Lido Beach.
In Bologna, there’s a large celebration at Piazza Maggiore, with a huge effigy burning at midnight, usually of an old man but last year it was a frog!
Ah, New Year’s Eve in Italy!
In Rimini, the gathering point for music and fireworks is Piazzale Fellini, named in honor of Federico Fellini, the great film director. (Rimini, on the Adriatic, was Fellini’s hometown.)
The traditional dish for New Years Eve in Italy is lentils with pork. Both are supposed to bring good luck. The traditional drink? Prosecco!
And last but not least, don’t forget to put on your red underwear! It too is supposed to bring good luck.
Happy New Year’s Eve! Happy New Year’s!