New year's in Italy © Bryce Walker Classical Guide / Classical World / Music Destinations

Welcome 2016 in three of Italy’s greatest cities

Ring out the old, sing in the new! Raise a toast to the New Year and bid farewell to the old in the best Italian style, with music, wine and fine food. From spectacular public events, such as fireworks over the Arno, St Mark’s Square, or the Coliseum, to intimate concerts in period costume, or a gourmet feast accompanied by favorite arias, Italy offers a New Year escape to warmer climes, and a celebration to suit every taste.


Rome has seen the turning of many a year, and has made celebration a fine art. Both pleasure-seekers and the faithful flock to the Eternal City, for the fireworks over many of Rome’s great squares and monuments, including the Piazza Navona, the Coliseum, and the Quirinale, the public concert in the Piazza del Popolo, or the pageantry of the annual New Year’s Eve Parade that precedes Papal Vespers in the great Basilica of St Peter.

If the crowds aren’t quite your style, the city also offers a cornucopia of smaller ticketed events in exquisite surroundings, including a Baroque concert in the fabled Palazzo Doria Pamphilij, a gourmet dinner, accompanied by seasonal and operatic favorites in the Chiesa Evangelica Valdese, or New Year Waltzes in the Sagrestia del Borromini.


La Serenissima, Venice, forgets her serenity to celebrate the New Year with vigorous glee. St Mark’s Square rings with the sounds of a massive public concert, numerous brindisi, or toasts, and the bells of the church toll the countdown to midnight, which heralds a massive group kiss and a spectacular display of fireworks. Brave revellers continue the festive mood into the next day, taking a chilly New Year dip in the Lido.

Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista

Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista


For a less crowded view of the fireworks, head to the Punta della Dogana, or perhaps hire a boat to watch the New Year burst over the old city in romantic solitude on the water. Indoor options also abound, including Verdian operas in the Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto, or an evening of favorite Italian arias combined with Italian delicacies in the luxurious Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista.


The backdrop to numerous romantic films, Florence offers a Tuscan take on New Year. Leave the car behind, as many roads will be closed, and head for one of the bridges over the Arno to watch the magnificent fireworks at midnight. The Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza della Signoria offer free concerts from pop to jazz, symphonic music, and opera.

Alternatively, the Teatro Verdi offers a gala concert of Italian opera and Viennese waltzes, and the Chiesa di Santa Monaca and St Mark’s English Church both offer opera galas accompanied by regional specialities or champagne.

Wherever New Year’s events in Italy you choose, make your bookings soon – concert tickets are eagerly sought, and restaurants fill up quickly for their New Year’s feasts. Don’t forget New Year’s Day in your planning – many museums and other attractions will be closed, but Italy’s theaters, concert halls, and churches will be alive with music to welcome 2016 in harmonious style!

Read More

Traveling to Vienna?

If the capital of Austria is your New Year destination, check out our guide for concerts, galas, and other festivities.

Credits:New year's in Italy © Bryce Walker

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