Rome rings in 2018 with 24 hours of cultural events from 31 December until 1 January. Here is our guide to enjoying New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in the Eternal City.
Festa di Roma
The Festa di Roma, Rome’s celebrations for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, includes a programme of free concerts, performances, screenings and dj sets in various outdoor venues from 21.30 on 31 December, known in Italy as Capodanno, until the same time on 1 January.
Rome illuminates Palatine hill monuments
La Festa di Roma begins with the illumination of the archaeological monuments on the Palatine hill, on the side facing the Circus Maximus, for the first time in 13 years. The new lighting system, which will be permanent according to the city, will be celebrated with a fireworks display and a performance by Spanish theatrical group La Fura dels Baus and live dj set by Dimensione Suono Roma.
Non-stop events until sunrise
The city has organised a series of cultural events in Rome between 03.00 and 07.00, in preparation for the first sunrise of 2018. Teatro India hosts dj sets, film screenings and performances until dawn, culminating in a piano solo by Danilo Rea, one of the world’s most celebrated jazz pianists, at 07.00 on the nearby Ponte della Scienza, at the foot of the Gazometro in Ostiense.
New Year’s food
The traditional Italian New Year’s Eve meal consists of cotechino (a product similar to salami), zampone(stuffed pig’s trotter), and lentils which are meant to bring luck for the coming year, all of which is washed down with a glass or two of prosecco or spumante. If you wish to dine out on New Year’s Eve it is best to reserve your table well in advance – for inspiration see Wanted in Rome‘s restaurant listings.
Out with the old, in with the new
The other well-known but almost-extinct tradition (in Rome at least) associated with Capodanno involves people throwing old objects out the window, symbolising their readiness to welcome in the new year.
We Run Rome
For more energetic readers, the seventh edition of the We Run Romemarathon takes place on 31 December from 14.00-18.00. Runners can register for the 10-km course, which starts and finishes at the Baths of Caracalla area, via the We Run Rome website.
Party the night away
Some of the best places to dance the night away include Rome night clubs such as Lanificio, Micca, Shari Vari, Vicious, Rashomon and Room 26. There are always plenty of parties at expat pubs such as the Abbey Theatre, Finnegan’s and Scholars Lounge, as well as the Hard Rock Cafe.
Evening of gospel music
Also worth checking out is the Harlem Gospel Choir performing for the Roma Gospel Festival at the Auditorium Parco della Musica on 31 December. Holders of the Wanted in Rome card receive a 20 per cent discount on tickets.
Rome’s metro lines normally stay open late on New Year’s Eve, usually until 02.30 on 1 January, however the city’s bus, trams and light-rail services tend to finish on 31 December at around 21.00, with no night bus service. The metro, buses and tram services begin again on 1 January, usually at 08.00, and follow a holiday timetable. Updates are posted during the days beforehand on the Muoversi a Roma website.
New Year’s Day for kids
The city is hosting several New Year’s Day events for children – between 10.00 and 16.00 – including activities by the JuniOrchestra in the Giardini degli Aranci on the Aventine hill and art workshops in parallel with the comic exhibition at Palazzo delle Esposizioni.
Plunge into the Tiber?
One of the city’s most unusual and popular spectacles on the morning of New Year’s Day is the Tuffo nel Tevere. At midday, immediately after the cannons fire on the Gianicolo, daredevil divers thrill the crowds by making the 17-metre plunge off Ponte Cavour into the icy waters of the Tiber below.
American marching bands
A special New Year’s Day parade featuring some of the best known American marching bands, alongside majorettes and dancers, takes place in the city centre, beginning at 15.30 in Piazza del Popolo.
Concerts and circus acts
From 15.00 until around 21.00, Rome has organised numerous acts performing in outdoor sites around the city. The music line-up for New Year’s Day ranges from pop, rock, swing, folk and jazz, while other performances include fire-eating, circus clowns, acrobatics and tight-rope walking. Most events take place in the area between the Aventino and the river, for full programme see La Festa di Roma website.
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