The New Years festival that we attended to in Rome wasn’t what we expected to be.
It wasn’t very well-organized, but, surprisingly enough, it turned out to be well worth it in the end.
We had only attended one similar festival in New York, so maybe our expectations were a bit naïve.
Let me start from the beginning. We were planning to:
1) take a stroll in the downtown area,
2) go see a show consisting of a stand-up routine by a comedian we love (named Enrico Brigniano) and a performance by a musical band (called Negramaro),
3) wait around untill midnight and go see the fireworks.
We first drove to the outskirts of Rome from our home in Civitavecchia and parked our car at an area called Baldo degli Ubaldi. We knew beforehand that the metro was going to be working untill 2:30 AM (a bit later than usual), so we took it all the way to Piazza di Spagna.
The Christmas decorations were looking especially beautiful this year, especially in an area like Piazza di Spagna, which is beautiful any other day. There, my son decided to buy a hot dog, which costed five euros (on a side note, five euros is the equivalent of about seven US dollars. It was a bit overpriced, but vendors taking advantage of you is to be expected in a place like Rome on a day like New Year. It’s best to let it slide. The hot dog was pretty good, anyway). Eventually we wandered onto Via dei Condotti. Like Piazza di Spagna, It’s beautiful all year around, but the decorations made it even better. I would recommend checking out these last two places in December, because the decorations are nearly flawless. However, I also think that Via dei Condotti would have been better if the stores (the very expensive ones that made the street famous) weren’t closed. They’re always full of the best products. At least we could see some from the windows. Another major shopping street that we crossed was Via del Corso.
The whole decoration of that street was an extremely long Italian flag made of Christmas lights hanging above our heads. It was very nicely done and it stretched across the entire street! There, we spent most of our time taking pictures, making videos and asking each other if we were hungry (we weren’t at the time, because we had eaten a big lunch).
We also saw Piazza Venezia, which, on this particular day, was beautiful just like the other places, although it was here that we found our first surprise. See, I tried to organise myself and decide our course of action by looking at the events on the internet. There was supposed to an entrance that led directly from Piazza Venezia to the Fori Imperiali, where the show was being held. Well, It was there, but it was completely closed. We tried to ask directions, but the directions led us through a tight alleyway. It was packed with people who were probably having the same problems that we were having. This is when I realized that this festival wasn’t exactly what it was cracked up to be. Eventually we made it to Via del Corso, which was connected to Via dei Fori Imperiali, and it was packed with about 500,000 people! All of the shortcuts were closed, and we found it nearly impossible to advance. We were also worried that if some ignorant young man (there seemed to be a lot around) decided to set off a firecracker nearby, it could have triggered a dangerous chain reaction. We decide not to see the show and go home, but Alberto, who grew up in Rome, found an easily accessible, non crowded alleyway that led us to the Colosseum. The Colosseum itself wasn’t decorated, but was an incredible sight as always. We were hoping to see one of the large screens (that were supposed to project the events of the show) but we found that not only was the nearest one too far away, but it was also the only one that was ever set up (the next day, we even heard that the audio wasn’t even working on it). Around eleven, it started to get crowded where we were, and I started to get scared for the same reasons as before (maybe I’m getting too old for this…). So, we decided to move to a little hill between the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine after getting some pizza (also five euros).
Fireworks above the Colosseum
We sat around with some champagne and Coca-Cola (for my son) untill midnight. There was an amazing fireworks show! We just happened to be in the perfect spot to see them too! The fireworks were being launched close by. The arch of Constantine was to our right, the Colosseum was to our left and the sparks were practically falling on us! I was screaming like a little kid for 15 minutes!
So, all in all, It wasn’t organised well, but we returned home happy! Just like anything in Italy, You can still enjoy yourself If you know what you’re doing. There’s always many nice people around who are willing to help you. Happy New Year to you all!