New Year’s Eve is just a magical night in general, but certain countries have traditions that make their celebrations different and worth thinking about booking a trip for. I’ll be in Vienna on New Year’s this year, but I know a lot more about the Italian traditions and what they like to do to welcome in the New Year. Here are some favorite Italian customs that you should think about checking out:
The Festa di San Silvestro
Italians have a saint for everything, and New Year’s is no different. The festa usually consists of eating a lot of really good food—Italians love to think that the next year will bring prosperity. Along this line, it’s tradition to take part in some of the cotechino (a stuffed pig’s trotter) and to pour yourself some prosecco. Food is such a large part of Italian culture, and families usually pull out all the stops to bring in good fortune.
Italians also love to put on some good music and enjoy a dance or two (or ten, depending on how early in the night everything starts). Don’t be afraid to hit the floor—you’ll pick up on the steps soon enough, and more and more traditional dances have been starting to be replaced by modern moves. Dancing has always been a huge part of the culture since the Renaissance, so it makes sense that entire piazzas are devoted to having a good time moving your feet.
Where Should I Go?
There are celebrations in every town, but the major cities like Rome, Naples, and Bologna offer some of the best fireworks and the largest groups of people to enjoy over the turning of the year. However, every little town and village tends to have a celebration. In fact, some of the best festival food for San Silvestro can be found in places that are smaller since they have their own local spin on the desserts and drinks. The small town of Montepulciano usually has a roaring bonfire in addition to some of the fireworks.
If you’re looking for a night sky lit up, the big cities are your best bet. Naples has an amazing display every year—just make sure to watch your purse and have a buddy with you when you are enjoying the spectacle. Anywhere you choose to visit, you’ll want to stay up until sunrise. For Italians, that’s the official beginning of the New Year.
Have you ever been to Italy during New Year’s?