What better way could you spend New Year’s Eve than in Rome, one of the most historically rich cities on the planet? Nowhere else will you have a wider selection of things to do on the last night of the year. You could indulge in culture, history and tradition or enjoy the nightlife and modernity that Italy’s capital boasts as well. Simply put, you really can’t go wrong in Rome on December 31.
The biggest New Year’s Eve events in Rome take place at either the Fori Imperiali (the imperial fora) and at Circo Massimo. All of these events are free to attend.
The Fori Imperiali are a series of public squares that were constructed between 46 BC and 113 AD, a symbol of the power of the Roman empire. Thousands of people congregate on the street ‘Via dei Fori Imperiali’, along the stretch running from Piazza Venezia (Venice Square) to the Colosseum, enjoying concerts, street performances and other types of entertainment. This area is truly enchanting as the Roman ruins are still visible and literally all around you!
Via dei Fori Imperiali, where the NYE show takes place
The Circo Massimo hosts the biggest open-air concert in Rome on New Year’s Eve. Many well-known artists perform here each year.
Concerts are also held in other squares around Rome, one being Piazza del Popolo. To keep things fresh for the public, the programs for these events change each year. The program for New Year’s Eve 2023 will be published here as soon as it has been finalized.
Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the ‘Teatro dell’Opera’ in Rome with a dance classic: ‘Don Quixote’. Based on Miguel de Cervantes’ novel ‘Don Quixote de la Mancha’, the ballet is split into three acts and is choreographed by Laurent Hilaire, with music by Ludwig Minkus.
If you love opera music, this is the New Year’s Eve idea for you. The Church of Ponte Sant’Angelo in Rome hosts a spectacular concert where you will hear pieces from Traviata, Rigoletto, Tosca, Carmen and Boheme. At midnight everyone kicks up their heels, courtesy of the production: to toast the New Year!
Fancy a New Year’s Eve with arias and melodies by the great Italian composers? This year, at the Evangelical Church in Rome, you will be delighted by a grand piano accompanying sopranos and tenors to start the New Year to the sound of music, including opera arias and Neapolitan songs.
In Rome, Palazzo Doria Pamphilj will be the location for a baroque New Year’s Eve concert. The princess’s secret flat will be filled with the sounds of the 17th century, offering a true plunge into the past. Music will be played on the original instruments of the time, making for the most refined New Year’s Eve in the capital.
Vivaldi’s masterpiece is an unmissable performance, arranged for piano quintet in the evocative Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, in the extraordinary wonder of one of the most beautiful squares in the world: Piazza Navona. Start the New Year with pieces by one of the most famous composers in a jewel of Baroque art.
Do you love good music and atmospheric locations? Spend New Year’s Eve at the Oratorio del Caravita amidst Christmas songs and opera arias. Giancarlo Polizzi, Vincenzo Tremante and Emil Alekperov, three outstanding tenors, will make your passage into the New Year special. The Strauss waltzes are inevitable, to complete every self-respecting New Year’s concert and elevate the magic and mysticism of the setting.
The best place to enjoy the brilliant firework displays Rome has to offer is the Colosseum. Please note that even if they have been banned in recent years, there are still many illegal firecrackers to be seen and heard. This can be dangerous if you are too close, so please pay attention and stay safe.
If you are looking for a lively neighborhood to spend New Year’s Eve, look no further than Trastevere, which literally means ‘on the other side of Tevere’ (Tevere is Rome’s central river). Perfectly placed in downtown Rome, you can find plenty of bars and restaurants here which stay open until late into the new year. If you want to book a table at a restaurant, reserving well in advance is a must.
One of our best recommendations for a great party in Rome is the party held at the Marriott Park Hotel, Italy’s biggest hotel, ideal for 20–35-year-olds. This party entails a full-course dinner followed by a big party to bring in the new year. Fireworks, music, and various animation displays combine for a festive atmosphere that you will not forget. You can also book a room at the hotel so that you don’t have to find your way home! This event is run by ExtraNight, which has specialized in New Year’s Eve parties in the biggest Italian cities for over a decade now. Visit the official Facebook page of the event organizers.
Want to stay fit before the big night? Our suggestion is to check out ‘We Run Rome’, a race that takes place every year on the afternoon of December 31st in the streets of Rome’s historic center. This event is perfect for those who want to be physically active on the last day of the year and also see Rome from a different perspective.
There are 2 different races to choose from – 5km and 10km. Both of these can be either competitive or non-competitive depending on your goals. Registration costs €15-20. For more information on the event and the registration process, visit the official website.
At 12pm on January 1, 1946, Italian-Belgian Rick De Sonay jumped into the Tevere River in Rome from Ponte Cavour (Cavour Bridge) to celebrate his birthday, which coincidentally fell on January 1. This man was given the nickname ‘Mr. OK’ because, after diving into the Tevere (obviously much less polluted back then), he turned towards the crowd making the ‘OK’ sign to assure them everything had gone well.
Unbelievably, he upheld this tradition until the late 1980s and became an institution in Rome every New Year’s Day. He handed over the baton to Maurizio Palmulli in the late 1980s, who became the new ‘Mr. OK’. At age 69, he continues to dive headfirst into the river as per tradition, exactly at midday as Rick De Sonay once did. This is simply unmissable if you are in Rome on New Year’s Eve!
Here is a video of Rick De Sonay jumping into the Tevere:
Each afternoon on January 1, the large New Year’s Parade takes place through the streets of the historic center. This parade is organized by the same company which hosts New Year’s Parade in London, Destination Events, and takes roughly 2 hours. The starting point is Piazza del Popolo and the entrance to the parade is free for everyone. You can expect a beautifully colorful experience filled with majorettes, flag-waves, dancers, various types of artists, and so on. Want to see what the parade looks like? Check out the video below!
As you can see, Rome has a wealth of things to do and experience on the final evening of the year. However you choose to shape your New Year’s Eve, it promises to be filled with excitement, wonder, and enchantment and one not to be forgotten!