Like other cities in Italy, New Year’s Eve in Florence has public celebrations in its historic center. There are also private parties at clubs around the city, as well as special menus at restaurants, so you can find just the activities that suit your style and budget.
Florence usually sets up a stage for music performances in the Piazza della Signoria, where crowds can gather, listen to music, and watch the fireworks display overhead at midnight. There are other squares in the city center that have performers as well (including the Piazza della Repubblica and piazza Annunziata), along with vendors selling local and seasonal treats, so wander at will following the music until you find a stage that you like. If you’d rather enjoy music indoors (where it’s warmer and you’ll have a seat), there are churches that have New Year’s Eve classical and opera concerts in Florence – such as the Auditorium al Duomo and the English Church of St. Mark’s.
Restaurants in Florence often offer special (and elaborate) menus on New Year’s Eve, but the best ones also tend to fill up fast. You’ll need to make reservations for most New Year’s Eve dinners. Check to see if the restaurant has a website on which you can do that, or find out from the concierge at your hotel whether they can do that for you. Despite its history, Florence is also a young and vibrant university city, so there’s no shortage of discos and night clubs with special New Year’s Eve parties, too. These typically also require reservations, and they’re not really geared toward foreigners, so they can be good places to practice your Italian!
If you’re looking for something a little more refined, you could head up to Fiesole for dinner and dancing in a Tuscan palazzo. Fiesole is close enough to Florence that you could still get back to your Florence lodging after the night is through, provided you have a car – or that you’re dancing until the buses start running again the following morning. Check out the Castel di Poggio or the Villa Montalto.
Fireworks are ubiquitous in Italy on New Year’s Eve, both official overhead displays and individuals setting off their own firecrackers, so keep an eye out when you’re walking around. Stake out a spot on one of Florence’s many bridges to get a good view of the official midnight display.
Consider a walking tour of Florence on New Year’s Day, to give yourself something to do on a day when some shops and attractions will be closed or have shorter hours for the holiday.