Rome: 5 free ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve

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Fireworks Rome New Years
Celebrating the New Year in Rome. Photo: Giulio Menna

By Nicole Arriaga in Rome—

For those of you with plans to ring in the New Year in Rome, the problem is not finding something to do. Rather, the real dilemma lies in narrowing down your celebratory options. Fortunately for Cheapos, Capodanno (New Year’s Eve) is one time when the city’s squares come alive with free events.

My favorite free New Year’s events include:

Free Concert at the Fori Imperiali (Imperial Forum)
New Year’s Eve
10 p.m.

New Year’s just wouldn’t be the same without its traditional Capodanno concert in Rome. Sponsored by the city, the free concert at the Imperial Forum typically has a big Italian name headlining the show.

For this year’s event, famous Roman singer Claudio Baglioni will put on a concert starting at 10 p.m. that will last about three hours. Just before midnight, the concert will be interrupted in order to do the traditional New Year’s countdown, followed by a magnificent fireworks display. The concert will take place along Via dei Fori Imperiali near Piazza Venezia. Large TV screens will be strategically positioned around the area to enable the tens of thousands of attendees to enjoy the concert.

The New Year’s Eve concert is an event definitely not to be missed. Plan to arrive early to find a good spot.

Free Classical Concert at Piazza Del Quirinale
New Year’s Eve
11 p.m.

Just off of Via Nazionale in the Piazza del Quirninale, a classical music concert is held on New Year’s Eve. The classical concert, usually attended by the Italian President (currently Giorgio Napolitano), takes place around 11 p.m. and is followed by fireworks.

Free Concert and Nativity Scenes Exhibit in Piazza del Popolo
New Year’s Eve
10 p.m.

The grandiose Piazza del Popolo will also put on a New Year’s Eve concert of its own with a mix of Italian music, street performers and fireworks. The festivities begin here roughly around 10 p.m.

Need a break from all of that rocking out? Head over to the Santa Maria del Popolo church, where just next to it is a giant exhibit of nativity scenes from nearly 100 Italian regions.

Metro Hours Extended on New Year’s Eve

Worried about how to get home after a long night taking in the capital’s festivities? Happily, the city has decided to extend the Metro’s hours of operation in order to ensure that people can make it home safely without having to resort to driving.

New Year’s Day Parade – St. Peter’s Square
New Year’s Day
From 10 a.m.

If you wake up with energy on January 1, you should consider attending the city of Rome’s fantastic New Year’s Day parade. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. at St. Peter’s Square, with the Pope’s New Year’s Day blessing. It then heads down Via della Concilliazione before winding up near the Castel Sant’Angelo. Tens of thousands of people congregate to witness the parade, with its military, civil and school marching bands and pageantry.

For Kids: Piazza del Popolo
New Year’s Day
10 a.m.-6 p.m.

While the big kids enjoyed the New Year’s Eve festivities, the little kids have lots more to look forward to on New Year’s Day. The city turns Piazza del Popolo into one big playground. The performances and activities include acrobats, clowns, street performers, musicians and face painters.

About the author

Nicole Arriaga

About the author: After her first trip to the Bel Paese in 1999, Nicole Arriaga knew she would one day return permanently in search of the good life. Before moving to Rome in 2003, Nicole worked as a TV producer and a writer in sunny Miami. She has written for Fodor’s, Insight Guides, The American and various other travel publications. She currently works as a freelance writer and as a programs coordinator for a study abroad organization in Rome.

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  1. Pingback: Bringing in the New Year in Rome | Rome | NileGuide

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