I hope this article finds you quickly enough so that you’re able to rethink whatever plans you’ve made and change them to spend New Year’s Eve in Italy. Naples is the city every Italian thinks of when it comes to New Year’s celebrations. Why is that? I remember hearing that spending the most celebrated night of the year in Naples could be dangerous, or irresponsible, because of the fireworks. As an Italian, I let those voices influence me for a long time. But I’ve traveled to Naples at other times of the year and I couldn’t have enough of it! Last year, I decided I was big enough to go and see for myself what it feels like to spend New Year’s Eve in Naples. And now, it’s time for you to know: New Year’s Eve in Naples is an unforgettable experience. Naples is a city that lives on tourism, but it also has a considerable issue with poverty, so it’s in the citizens’ best interest to present that night to perfection. You might even not notice the poverty at all, because the enthusiasm, the fragrances, the sights, and of course, the tastes, will all mesmerize you.
Where shall you spend New Year’s Eve in Italy? I choose Naples
The Italian tradition for New Year’s Eve is to attend an abundant dinner that we call “cenone”, and to spend time together with family and friends until midnight. Italians also used to throw crocks and old stuff from the windows, but this custom is disappearing. Big towns always arrange one of the main squares as a concert/performance arena where people gather and celebrate, while at midnight there are a few minutes of fireworks and general excitement, hugs and kisses.
The tradition in Naples is a quite different…
People from Naples particularly enjoy scenic fireworks, and each family gets prepared far in advance. Given the fact that the city stretches out along the coast and it’s hilly, it’s pretty easy to spot each other’s fireworks, and so the celebration becomes a big musical show with many, many actors that you can enjoy, always remembering to be careful 😉 The views are breathtaking all over the city, and you’ll have abundance of chances to satisfy your wanderlust during the day. Most of the pictures in this article are the courtesy of Gennaro Leonardi, an amazing photographer from Naples.
] Plebiscito Square
TIPS ON HOW TO PLAN YOUR NEW YEAR’S EVE IN NAPLES
Get accomodations near the city center, or at a convenient walking distance from Piazza del Plebiscito or Castel dell’Ovo. Those are the two core location during the last night of the year. In this way, you won’t struggle too much to go back to your room and sleep after the festivities. Also, it is difficult to catch a cab on New Year’s Eve. Airbnb has pretty good deals for Naples! But nobody will prevent you from staying outside the whole night and traveling to other Italian cities in the morning (Naples is also one of the best day-trips from Rome ). Get an idea of all the amazing things you can do in Naples in one day only.
Taste the city’s delicacies before the night begins
If you reach Naples early in the day, you’ll have time to check in your room and go exploring the city’s historical center, which is a Unesco Heritage Site. Visit the popular street called “Spaccanapoli” (so called because it looks like it’s cutting the city in half.) Near there, you can find the popular local street-food like the pizza, the “sfogliatelle” (local pastry with ricotta cheese and custard) and “cartoccio” (fried fish in a paper bag). If you want to eat sitting in a restaurant, check out these best pizza restaurants in Naples. I recommend you get plenty of food during the day, because New Year’s Eve in Naples is long and busy. The majority of the restaurants in and near the center will be overbooked, only offering tables for celebrating the “cenone”. This means there will be a delicious fixed menu which usually costs 150 euro/person, and you won’t be able to order anything else. If you are not prepared to spend that money for your New Year’s Eve dinner, content yourself with the street-food, or visit a local supermarket. Don’t wait too long, because the shops close earlier on New Year’s Eve.
My favorite view of the city is from the hill that hosts the Castel Sant’Elmo and the Museo San Martino. You can take the “funicolare” (public railway lines) direct to S. Elmo. When you are ready, head toward “Piazza del Plebiscito” square, where the concert takes place. It’s free and it lasts until 11:30PM. When the concert is over, you can slowly leave the square, get a bottle to celebrate from one of the many street vendors, and slowly descend to the seafront.
The landscape from Naples boardwalk
THE MAGIC OF NEW YEAR’S EVE IN ITALY NAPLES
Once you get to the boardwalk, walk towards Castel Dell’Ovo, which is a castle right on the sea. All around, you will see restaurants and a few bars, and stands with music and DJs. When midnight comes, get ready for the show, because in the whole city and the surrounding areas people will be shooting fireworks. You’ll be able to see the outline of the Posillipo promontory brimming with lights and colors. Exactly at midnight, a few adventurous people will honor the traditions of diving into the sea from the Rotonda Diaz. When you think you’ve already seen everything the night has to offer, you´ll soon discover that the best part hasn´t even started yet. At 1:30, two firework performances start right on the sea. If you are still near the Castel dell’ Ovo, that’s the perfect place to see the show. Your head will be turning from left to right and you still won’t be able to see all of those fireworks. I found a video of last year’s fireworks. Even though it’s beautiful, it still doesn’t convey the full spirit of a New Year’s Eve in Naples.
Finding accommodation in Naples for New Year’s Eve: hotels and B&B
As I mentioned before, it will be imòossible to catch (or to book via phone even) a taxi back to your hotel or apartment on New Year’s Eve. After the fireworks end, the stands with music on the boardwalk will play till early morning. The foremost thing to keep in mind when choosing your hotel is that it needs to be in the historical center or very close by so that you don’t have to walk for km and km after you have partied and drunk a bit more than usual. Here’s a list of the best accommodation you can choose for spending New Year’s Eve in Naples Italy.
B&B apartments in Naples historical center
Check out the photos of these B&B apartments which have been renovated and decorated nicely. They are best value for money and have great reviews. These will be easy to reach on foot and provide a cozy, clean, and trendy haven to spend the most amazing night of the year.
Luxury, 4 or 5 stars hotels in Naples historical center
And, if you want to treat yourself best, here are the most acclaimed 4 stars, 5 stars, and luxury hotels in Naples historical center.
4 stars hotel in Naples
Luxury Hotel in Naples
New Year’s Eve in Rome, Italy
And how does Rome, the capital of Italy, compare to the other Italian cities speaking about New Year’s Eve? Every city and town in Italy is going to celebrate the night with music and shows in their main piazzas. Rome usually does it in the Circus Maximus, where chariot races happened at the time of the Roman Empire. The stadium has a capacity crowd of 250.000 people and is covered in grass, as it is normally a public park with no benches or seats. If you’re traveling to Rome for the first time and you find it thrilling to spend hours standing or sitting on the ground surrounded and squeezed in between people that might rightly have drunk more than the usual, then you should go for it. Take into account that the show starts at 9 pm. The nearby metro station could be shut as it happened last year to avoid panic because they will be assaulted by hordes of partying humans. I remember having to walk for km hoping to find a subway station that was still running.
The New Year’s Eve firecracker show in Rome can’t compete with the one held in Naples. However, Rome in winter is a pleasure to visit because of the Christmas atmosphere and the drastically reduced number of tourists.
How to arrange a perfect New Yer’s Eve in Rome
If you wish to spend your New Year’s Eve in Italy in Rome, book in advance your New Year’s Eve dinner at a restaurant or hotel (all the restaurant in the historical center will be ready for the “cenone ” and will offer a fixed menu for a price around €100), or have dinner in your apartment and then go somewhere where you can admire Rome from above, like the Gianicolo Terrace or the Zodiaco Observatory Terrace.
I’m afraid though, that the traffic will be heavily congested, therefore it would be wiser to spend the night in a hotel with an excellent view of Rome center or in the countryside outside Rome, ideally in the Castelli Romani region. Have a look at this accommodation with breathtaking view of Rome’s historical center.
Some B&B and Hotels with spectacular views located on the hills outside Rome
One of the piazzas with the Luce d’Artista decorations in Salerno. Photo by photographer Massimo Pica
New Year’s Eve near the Amalfi Coast: Salerno and its unique decorations
Profoundly touched by the games of light at the Winter Olympics in Turin, the mayor of Salerno created the light show “Luci d’Artista”, which repeats every year from November to January. Salerno is located one hour by car south of Naples and can be your base to explore the Amalfi Coast during the winter. If you decide to spend your New Year’s Eve in Italy in this town right by the sea you’ll enjoy an uninterrupted show of installations created from 40 km of light cables. The installations enliven the city’s squares, parks, and streets telling about four themes: myth, time, dream, and Christmas. New Year’s Eve in Salerno will be certainly less crowded than in Naples and Rome, and more suitable if you travel with family and kids. Among the unique light decorations of Salerno, there will be one thought for the little ones and representing the animals.
Like other cities in the Campania Region, Salerno is a perfect destination for foodies, especially if you love eating mozzarella, and I’m not only referring to the melted mozzarella you have on your pizza but to the round, fresh, delicious semi-solid rounded mozzarella you can hold in your hand and eat away bite after bite. Find your accommodation for New Year’s Eve in Salerno.
Let me know in the comments if you’re thinking of spending New Year’s Eve in Italy!
Where should you spend New Year’s Eve in Italy?