As New Year’s Eve approaches, Wanted in Rome highlights a selection of events taking place on the Festa di S. Silvestro, as it is known in Italy, as well as some traditions associated with new year.
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 of prosecco or spumante. 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.
For the more energetic readers, the second edition of the marathon “We Run Rome” takes place on the morning of 31 December at 11.00. The 10-km course through the historic centre starts and finishes at the Baths of Caracalla, and there is also a 3-km run aimed at attracting a wider audience. Amateur runners will be joined by international professionals such as Kenya’s Nicholas Togom, Portugal’s Rui Silva, Ethiopian Emebet Etea and Ukrainian Tetyana Holovchenko. Also running are noted Italian athletes Andrea Lalli, Valeria Straneo, Daniele Meucci and Rosaria Console. To enter the 10km race see the website, the deadline is 14.00 on 22 December.
That night the city holds a free concert on Via dei Fori Imperiali, featuring Italian singers Pino Daniele and Mario Biondi, and rapper J-Ax. Just before midnight, the show will be interrupted for the countdown which is followed by a giant fireworks display. The celebration then continues late into the night with the Dimensione Suono Roma vj set with sounds, images and animation.
Some of the most atmospheric places to ring in the new year around Rome include Piazza del Popolo, Campo de’ Fiori and Piazza Navona, while there are many parties taking place in Rome’s clubs: Screamadelica at Circolo degli Artisti, Make Some Noize at Palazzo dei Congressi, Escopazzo, Art Cafe Roma, Atlantico, and Capodanno Popolare at the Orion Club.
Other events include the South Carolina Mass Choir performing for the Roma Gospel Fest at the Auditorium, and Italian comedians Lillo e Greg at the Piper Club while there are plenty of parties at the city’s expat pubs such as the Abbey Theatre, Scholar’s Lounge and the Fiddler’s Elbow.
The Metro A and B lines stay open on New Year's Eve until 02.30 on 1 January, however the city’s bus, trams and light-rail services finish on 31 December at around 21.00, and there is no night bus service. The metro, buses and tram services begin again on 1 January at 08.00, and follow a holiday timetable.
Meanwhile one of the city's most unusual and popular sights 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.