Things to do in Rome on New Year’s Eve
The motto for New Year’s Eve in Rome is “the year-long night“, and for good reason, due to the sheer amount of events happening between the last few hours of the last day of the year and the first few ones of New Year’s Day!
It’s an astounding calendar of happenings, and while a huge number of locals decides to stay home and party with a small number of friends or even leave the city for a quiet countryside destination, the allure of waiting for the new year in a city like Rome attracts many Italians from nearby cities and, of course, a huge number of tourists.
Therefore, the first thing to know about New Year’s Eve in Rome is that it’s crowded. Very much so! The crowd extend both indoors and outdoors – walking around midnight will be slightly surreal, while you’ll probably see people lining up to have a seat in cafes, clubs or restaurants. On this subject, if you are interested in a last-minute dinner you will probably have no such luck, as places offering a special New Year’s Eve banquet will be booked up.
As for what you can do waiting for midnight to strike, know that most events set up by the city of Rome (and collectively known as “La festa di Roma“, “the feast of Rome”) happen outdoors.
Part of the charm of this one special event is being able to enjoy the festive atmosphere while walking by such landmarks as the Pantheon or the Colosseum. While points of interest won’t operate past the usual opening hours, you will be able to enjoy free concerts, fireworks shows, theatrical performances and dance shows in the middle of the city. The biggest ones happen right in the Circus Maximus, with more shows in the Giardino degli Aranci park, on Via Petroselli, Via dei Fori Imperiali, Tiber Island or Piazza dell’Emporio.
More events will be set up by private clubs or other such establishments and they will include an entrance ticket or fee. Most of them will show up on sites like Eventbrite, Songkick (particularly for live music events) or on Italy’s very own Zero.eu, a comprehensive listing site that comes in Italian but is pretty straightforward even for non speakers (plus, Google Translate can be of great help!). In the link provided you will be able to see a selection of shows and concerts happening right between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. More events (also in Italian) are listed on one of Rome’s official websites, here.
If you’ve been reading our previous posts on end-of-the-year holidays in Rome, you’ll be aware by now that it’s not recommended to be walking under open windows or balconies right during the fireworks displays at midnight – many, many people light their own firecrackers and it could be a hazard to be in their proximity… or right below them.
The mass transit system will work longer hours, but it won’t cover the whole of the events set up by the city of Rome. If you do decide to participate in La festa di Roma, particularly, expect to be walking more 🙂
Many streets usually open to car traffic will be temporarily pedestrian-ized: be aware of it when (for instance) looking for a bus stop or meaning to drive a car in Rome on New Year’s Day!
Worried about your safety? Extra police and military personnel will be deployed in the areas where the most events will be, so you can relax and focus on your night out!