Planning to be in Rome New Years Eve? What more beautiful place to ring in the new year, with all around cheer, and . . . the Colosseum?
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.)
This is one of the happenings in Rome New Years Eve 2018 I am most excited about!! After 13 years, they will be lighting up the Palatine Hill again. The lights will go on right at midnight, so if you are celebrating in Circus Maximus, you will see this happen right before your eyes! The event will be accompanied by a huge fireworks and music show.
The lights will be permanent from then on, as they are energy-conserving LED which means low environmental impact and low cost.
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:
On December 31 2018, Rome's Metro will be running until 2:30am. 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 2018. For a complete listing, check Rome's tourist information site (the site is available in English, but this page is in Italian only.)
Don't miss this special exhibit of Monet paintings at the Complesso del Vittoriano. There will be over 60 works from the Parisian Musée Marmottan Monet, by the father of Impressionism, many from home at Giverny.
Mon - Thu 9:30am - 7:30pm
Fri - Sat 9:30am - 10pm
Sun 9:30 am - 8:30 pm
Tickets are 15€. Advance booking highly recommended for this popular exhibit.
This museum will be open on New Years day 3:30 - 8:30pm.
Enjoy - Art Meets Amuseument - at the beautiful Chiostro del Bramante.
The Chiostro del Bramante is behind Piazza Navona, on Via Arco della Pace, 5. T. +39 06 915 19 41
Open Mon - Fri 10am - 8pm; Sat - Sun 10am - 9pm. 13€ includes audioguide.
The Chiostro del Bramante is open Mon - Fri from 10am - 8pm, and Sat-Sun until 9pm. This museum will be open on New Years day 10am - 9pm.
Picasso - between Cubism and Classicism, 1915 - 1925. From September 22 - January 2018.
Scuderie del Quirinale, Via XXIV Maggio.
Click the picture to visit the museum's official site.
Museum hrs: Sunday - Thursday 10am - 8pm; Friday and Saturday 10am – 10:30pm. 12€ full price
This exhibit will be open on New Years day 4-8pm.
Check out this extraordinary collection of I Grandi Maestri. 100 Anni di fotografia Leica (great masters, 100 years of Leica photography), with more than 350 original vintage prints by renowned photographers.
At the Complesso del Vittoriano. 12€
Jan 1 open 3:30 - 8:30pm.
Mangasia: Wonderlands of Asian Comics - "the largest ever selection of original artworks from Asian comics, displayed alongside their printed, mass-produced forms, much of them rarely if ever shown outside their country of origin."
Palazzo delle Esposizioni, on via Nazionale. 12.50€.
Click here for tickets.
Open New Years Day 4-8pm.
January 1 is a Catholic holiday, called Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. On January 1, 2018 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!!!
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