Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year's Eve: Rome Style

Amidst the excitement of a last minute getaway to Rome, we quickly realized that our trip would cross paths with New Year's Eve. This was actually pretty easy to forget since New Year's is not celebrated here in Israel. You may recall that the Jewish new year is the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, celebrated in the fall. Luckily, after our three hour flight to Rome, we landed around 11:30 a.m. on New Year's Eve and it did not take long for eager locals in Rome to let us know how to celebrate New Year's in traditional Roman style. 

Vatican City in Rome
Aerial view of the Colosseum and beyond
Crossing the Tiber River from Rome into the Vatican
According to locals, Rome's traditional New Year's Eve celebrations are historically centered in Piazza del Popolo, in the heart of Rome. Huge crowds allegedly gather together and celebrate with rock and classical music and dancing. And of course, there are fireworks. The celebrations last well into the night (and remember that there is no ban here on public drinking). Then, on New Year's day (while the adults are sleeping), children can be entertained in the square by performers and acrobats. Once the adults finally wake up, there is a huge street fair in the nearby Piazza Navona. Sounded good to me!

Piazza del Popolo by daylight
Rafi and I enjoying Piazza del Popolo
And Piazza del Popolo by night on New Year's Eve
New Year's Even celebration in Piazza del Popolo
However, despite the good things we had heard about Piazza del Popolo, we were also advised that another good place to celebrate New Year's Eve in Rome was near the Colosseum on Via dei Fori Imperiali. Here, there would be a free, live concert starting around 10PM followed by midnight fireworks. A free concert at the Colosseum with fireworks? YES, please! When would we ever be able to do something like that again? The obvious answer is: likely never. So, it was to the Colosseum that we chose to spend our New Year's Eve celebration.

The Colosseum by daylight

Another shot of our visit to the Colosseum
And the Colosseum by night

The fireworks show at the Colosseum was noisy, colorful and spectacular. It was really something to see!

I was never a big New Year's fan, but I have to say that Rome is definitely an exciting place to be if you like to celebrate New Year's in style. Where else can you watch fireworks, hear live music and drink good wine and champagne in the streets alongside thousands of Italians and foreigners alike (and oh yeah, with ancient ruins in the background)?  It's certainly worth putting on your list. I wonder where we will be next year for New Year's Eve?! Looking forward to seeing what 2011 brings our way.


  1. That's awesome! I did board games at my brother Craig's house :) Not quite as exciting though...

  2. Awesome pictures -- looks like an amazing time! Happy New Year!


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