Planning to be in Rome New Years Eve?
What more beautiful place to ring in the new year?
If you will be in Rome for New Years, here's what you need to know:
Rome is a great place to spend New Years Eve!
There are plenty of options for enjoying a sumptuous New Years Eve dinner (cenone), fireworks, and a general atmosphere of partying and fun. Many Romans have dinner at home, or at friends' houses, but then go out afterwards to walk around soaking up the atmosphere, and to watch the fireworks.
Tourist-wise, I find it's generally busy in Rome from just after Christmas through the 6th of January (the Epiphany, or what in Italy is called Befana.)
With the exception of New Years' Day, everything is open, the city is beautifully lit up, from the shops, to the street-decorations, to the giant trees at the Colosseum, Piazza Venezia and Saint Peter's.
If you are visiting Rome New Years Eve, here are some things you can do besides eating (cenone or otherwise):
To kick off the festivities, head to Circus Maximus. The fun begins at 9:30pm, with the Catalan dance company LA FURA DELS BAUS. They will be performing dance and other live circus-type shows.
After midnight party to the VJ SET "Dimensione Suono Roma Special Party" with live dj playing music and videos.
(There will NOT be one large live concert in Circus Maximus as in previous years.)
From midnight, there will be fireworks going off all around Rome, for about 15 minutes. The biggest show put on by the city will be in the Circus Maximus (see below for why!)
You can also see fireworks from large monuments and piazzas in Rome, where you will likely be celebrating anyway. If you can get to a high up vantage point, you will have great views. Such points include the Gianicolo Hill, the Piazza del Popolo, and any rooftop you can get to.
This includes hotel rooftops, so even if you don't go to one of their cenone, you can try the rooftop bar. It won't come cheaply though! Drinks on any hotel rooftop bar are always steep, any time of the year. But it might be worth it to view all the fireworks around you. (For those asking where to watch fireworks without crowds, the only way to do this is at a private home of someone with a rooftop. All the public spaces will likely be full of people and pretty loud.)
From 3am-8am, you can attend one of the many free performances, movies and other art installations in locations and cinemas around Rome.
These include Piazza Sant’Anastasia, Cinema Reale, and Teatro India. Finally from 7-8am, on Ponte della Scienza, there will be a live concert to salute dawn of the first day of the year.
FOR KIDS - January 1 2018 from 10am-4pm, you and your children can participate in a city-organized program of music, games, dance, exhibitions, tales and stories, and activities to promote reading, at the Giardino degli Aranci and the Biblioteca Centrale Ragazzi.
If you don't feel like being out in the cold, or dealing with large street crowds and noise, you might want to spend New Years Eve in Rome indoors. This includes having a big cenone (dinner), but you might also want something more lively like:
The Three Tenors - Enjoy New Year's Eve Concert in Rome in the beautiful Caravita Church in the center of Rome.
The singers are some of Rome's most talented, and they do credit to the original Three Tenors.
December 31, 2018, and January 1, 2019. From $45. Children under 7, and disable people can attend for free.
Sparkling wine after the concert is included.
Enjoy a superb early dinner before the Three Tenors concert, then listen to these talented tenors perform beautifully in the Caravita Church in the center of Rome.
The concert finishes at about 11pm, so you will still be able to head out and enjoy the New Year's fireworks.
December 31, 2018, and January 1, 2019. From $160. Wine not included. Must be 18 or older to attend.
Greet the new year in Rome with a beautiful lyrical concert of classic opera and concert music. Works include pieces by Puccini, Strauss, Rossini, Verdi, Mozart, and many more.
December 31, 2018, and January 1, 2019.
From $35. Great for families; wheelchair accessible.
There's nothing like Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake to ring in the New Year.
See this beautiful ballet in one of Rome's official opera halls, the Costanza Theater.
Playing December 28, 2018 - January 6, 2019.
Check out the Rome Gospel Festival at the Rome Auditorium.
There will be a special New Year's Eve show by the South Carolina Mass Choir.
Tickets from $50.
On December 31 2018, Rome's Metro will be running until 2:30am 2019. Buses will be less frequent than normal.
You may expect the metro stops of Colosseum and Circus Maximus to close early (9-9:30pm) as in previous years. This is due to crowds and for security purposes.
On New Years Day, Rome's public transportation begins running at 8am.
For more about public transportation in Rome New Years Eve (and New Years Day), visit the ATAC website (much of this page is available also in English but holiday schedules are in Italian only.)
Taxis will be hard to come by. Don't count on finding one easily!
And if you are thinking you will just use Uber, thank again. Find out more about taxing taxis in Rome here.
Bottom line - either pre-book a private car service through your hotel, or just don't plan to count on finding taxis in Rome New Years Eve.
Well this one's kind of a no-brainer: In Rome, New Years Eve is cold. It's winter. The days are at their shortest. But for some reason, and this is of course only anecdotal, I don't remember it raining for any of the New Years Eves I've spent in Rome. And I've been here for New Years every year since 1997.
So count on cold weather (and rain, only just because you never know.) Bundle up! Especially if you will be standing still in a piazza, or to watch fireworks. Wear warm gloves, a scarf and a hat. Wear layers too, starting with a kind of silk/cashmere/light wool undergarment like a tank top, camisole, henley or t-shirt.
You may not be surprised to know that Italians ring in the new year with spumante or prosecco (sparkling wine) and with fireworks displays starting at midnight. Here are some more interesting Italian New Years Eve traditions, you may not have heard of:
Now, what to do with the rest of the day? First of all, don't worry about finding someplace to eat. Some restaurants are closed for the day or just for lunch, but many are open.
January 1 is a national holiday. Most shops will be closed (with the exception of shops in Termini station, and some tourist shops around the center.) The Vatican Museums are always closed on New Year's Day.
Most city and state museums and archeological sites are closed on January 1.
Here are just a few of the exhibits and things to do on New Years Day 2019. For a complete listing, check Rome's tourist information site (the site is available in English, but this page is in Italian only.)
Enjoy "La Traviata Experience" in a beautiful church setting, with a mix of songs and prose from this classic Verdi opera.
Enjoy listening to famous opera songs in the stunning and exclusive Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.
You can opt to include dinner in the beautiful rooftop restaurant, Terrazza Borromini.
Enjoy this special Baroque concert + tour of Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, one of the most stunning private palazzos in Rome!
See the "Three Tenors" in a beautiful church setting.
You will be treated to three of Rome's most famous tenors singing some of the best-known and loved songs of Italian opera. They will be accompanied by costumed dancers.
Enjoy a opera singing by Orchestra I Virtuosi dell’opera di Roma inside a scenic and suggestive setting in central Rome (locations vary).
These wonderful opera singers put on a mini-production of various operas in full costume.
January 1 is a Catholic holiday, called Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. On January 1, 2019 you can attend:
If you're in Rome New Years Eve and not sure what to do New Years Day, don't let the fact that a lot of things are closed stop you! Here are some tours you can take:
If you are spending New Years in another part of Italy, check out this informative, up-to-date page by Martha Bakerjian. Happy New Year!!!