In Rome and ready to party like it’s 2011 but have no clue where to start? The Eternal City feels like an eternal, and often times, infernal, party on New Year’s Eve. Piazzas teem with thousands of eyes-wide-open viewers who elbow for just a cobblestone of pavement property to listen to free concerts and catch a glimpse of the New Year fireworks that alight the city like Nero, 1st century. But that’s just the end of the evening. Like in any city, New Year’s Eve starts with location . . .
Indoors: To kick of a great 2011, you must have a full belly of delicious food and wine and be surrounded by those you love. The hours leading up to the countdown should be spent in a lovely or fun or cheesy or typical restaurant. Easy, eh? Even this late in the game, you will most likely be able to find a restaurant for your New Year’s toast, but perhaps not the restaurant. But you’re in Rome, and anything goes- whether pretentious or pop, most places will have a strict reservation and menu policy (i.e. reserve and pay in advance for a fixed menu). Dancing more your bag? Several of Rome’s discoteche and lounges also will host New Year’s Eve parties, again on reservation. CapodannodiRoma has a lovely listing and service for restaurants, discos, et al.
Outdoors: If you’d rather be outside than sitting cozy, Rome has several free concerts across the city. The biggest, In Rome for the World, is held on the via dei Fori Imperiali, and usually features an Italian blockbuster– for 2010, crooner Claudio Baglioni headlines. The concert begins at 10pm, with the respectful pause to ring in 2011. Expect the surrounding Colosseo area to be crowded with fans and festivity goers. Writer Nicole Arriaga sums up Rome’s top concerts and other free New Year’s celebrations at Eurocheapo.com. For a slightly more quiet, if possible, experience the Janiculum hill is the best vantage point for viewing the fireworks, though guaranteed to be just as crowded as the rest of the city.
My ideal New Year’s eve? Palazzo Manfredi’s panoramic terrace for its unrivaled view of the Colosseum, followed by a short spin on a scooter.
Two Key Tips for the last hours of 2010 in Rome:
- Location is everything so plan strategically. This is not the night you will find or want to be in a taxi so localize your plans near enough to your hotel/apartment so that you can easily walk home.
- Leave the stilettos at home