Rome New Years Eve
Updating for 2019

Planning to be in Rome New Years Eve?

Find out everything you need to know about what to do and what to expect!

rome new years eveThe colosseum and via dei Fori Imperiali on New Years Eve in Rome. Photo courtesy of La Repubblica.

Rome New Years Eve - Everything You Need to Know

If you will be in Rome for New Years, here's what you need to know:

Rome New Years Eve - what's it like?

News for New Years 2018/2019

Despite the photo above (from an earlier New Year in Rome) there is no tree at the Colosseum in 2018/2019 because of Metro works there. 

But you can count on Rome to be festive for New Years.

Click here to jump down to the section about the latest schedule for city-sponsored events in Rome New Years Eve 2018/2019.

piazza navona during holidays in romeThere is a very festive ambiance in Rome during the holidays

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 Piazza Venezia and in Saint Peter's Square.

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Rome New Years Eve - what to do

OUTDOORS Things to do in Rome new years eve 2019

UPDATES FOR 2018/2019

Below includes the schedule for Rome New Years Eve activities sponsored by the City of Rome.

These events were updated on this page Tuesday December 19 2018. All information is accurate and up to date as of this time. Program is subject to change without notice.

New Years Rome 2019 (La Festa di Roma), is a 24-hour free event held in spots around the city. Events begin 9pm December 31 2018, and finish at 9pm January 1 2019. This year, the theme is "the moon" (la luna), to commemorate the moon landing 50 year ago.

The official website for Rome New Years Eve by Turismo Roma, is available online here (Italian only). 

If you are visiting Rome New Years Eve, here are some things you can do besides eating (cenone or otherwise):

Photo by KITONB

To kick off the festivities, head to Circus Maximus. The fun begins at 9pm, with the KITONB, who bill themselves as an "urban aerial theater company". They will be performing dance and other live circus-type shows.

At 11pm, you will be treated to Rome radio station "Dimensione Suono Roma Special Party" with live dj playing music and videos. Just after midnight, enjoy music by DJ SET AND LIVE BY ACHILLE LAURO, Roman rap artist. And from 1:30am, continue partying to DJ set by Dimensione Suono Roma.

(There will NOT be one large live concert in Circus Maximus as in previous years.)

Photo by Il Messaggero

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.

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.)

Giardino degli aranci on Aventine hill

January 1 2019 from 7am-2pm, 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.

There will be moon-themed events around the Lungotevere (see the map on the city of Rome's New Year's page).

From 2-3:15pm, catch the marching band parade with marching bands from many US high schools.

From then until 9pm January 1, 2019, you can attend many moon-related exhibits put on by Rome's libraries. All this takes place in the area near the Lungotevere/Aventine Hill/Circus Maximus.

INDOORS Things to do in Rome New Years Eve

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:

  • Attend a New Year's concert gala with live singing and music from some of the most famous operas, and music by Strauss, Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and others. 8:30 - 10:30/11pm. Dessert and prosecco included. 
  • Want to take the guessing out of where to book for dinner? You can take a guided bus tour of Rome, that includes dinner and New Year's celebration. Included hotel pick-up and drop-off.
  • For more music, and nightclub events, visit this website. These are privately-held events around Rome and sometimes outside the city center. You should get your tickets in advance, and make sure you have a plan for transportation.

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.

How to get around in Rome New Years Eve

Public Transportation in Rome New Years Eve

On December 31 2018, Rome's Metro will be running until 3:30am 2019. Buses will be more 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 in Rome New Years Eve

Taxis will be hard to come by. Don't count on finding one easily!

And if you are thinking you will just use Uber, think again. Find out more about taking taxis in Rome here.

Bottom line - either pre-book a private car service, or just don't plan to count on finding taxis in Rome New Years Eve.

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Weather 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.

campo dei fiori during the holidays in romeAt Campo dei Fiori in Rome during the holidays, you can see how bundled everyone is. Hats, scarves and gloves are key!

New Years Traditions in Italy

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:

  • A very old-fashioned tradition in Italy is to start the new year fresh by literally throwing out the past. At the stroke of midnight, people would toss kitchenware, appliances, clothes and even furniture out of their windows and onto the street. This may be slightly more common in the south, in particular Naples, but is not much practiced in Rome (I've never witnessed this.) However, at midnight, just take care not to be standing underneath apartment windows. You never know.
  • A big New Year's Dinner, called cenone, is another popular tradition in Rome and around Italy. This can be at someone's house or out at a restaurant. Many, many restaurants in Rome are open New Years Eve so they can offer this dinner menu. Often there is an earlier seating, for those who might want to ring in the New Year out in the piazzas or streets; and a later seating, for those who want to toast the new year with some prosecco and....
  • Lentils! This one is a biggie and a must. If you are out at a restaurant, or at someone's house, just after midnight, you simply must have some lentils. Doesn't matter if you don't like them, are too full from dinner, or just don't want to. You have to eat lentils after midnight on New Years, because it brings fortune for the coming year (the shape of those lentils is kinda like money, see?) No amount of backing away from this will save you. Have the lentils and get on with the evening. (Don't get me wrong, I love lentils, but I usually feel done eating and drinking by then. But of course I partake. When in Rome...)
  • Another Rome New Years Eve tradition is wearing red underwear (men and women alike). This is because in medieval times, the color red was used to ward off sickness and bad stuff in general. If you've arrived in Rome without your red underwear, you are in luck! You can find them being sold all around town.
  • My least favorite Rome New Years Eve tradition is the setting off of little firecrackers all around the city. This starts even a few days before New Years and goes until the 6th of January. People set them off at all times of day. It's generally not dangerous (unless you are the one doing it; accidents have happened), but it's quite loud and can be jarring. Just be prepared for this noise.

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red underwear for sale for rome new years eveIf you didn't bring your red underwear, you can easily buy a pair to wear in Rome New Years Eve!

What to do in Rome on New Years Day

Hopefully you've had a fun-filled Rome New Years Eve, and probably got to bed late. So sleep in and enjoy a nice breakfast in your hotel or apartment.

Now, what to do with the rest of the day?

Visit my page all about Rome New Years Day, for ideas about things to do and what to expect.

New Years in Other Parts of Italy

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!!!

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