Rome is one of the most popular places to visit in Italy year-round, and with good reason. On New Year’s Eve, the city gets even more popular, with Italians from other parts of Italy heading to the capital for the festivities. If you’ll be in Rome over New Year’s Eve, there are a few events going on that you can attend (most of them completely free of charge), but keep in mind that hotels in the historic center get booked quickly over the holidays – so don’t delay in making your own arrangements.
There are free concerts in a few places around Rome on New Year’s Eve, most of which are followed by a fireworks display at midnight. In the Piazza del Popolo, things get underway at about 10pm, and the festivites include Italian music performances and dancing. Another free concert near Piazza Venezia and the Roman Forum also begins at 10pm, and this one usually has at least one big Italian musician as its headliner. This concert tends to draw the largest crowd, so if you’re intent on getting a particularly good viewing spot plan to arrive early.
For a slightly less rock-and-roll affair, there’s a free classical concert at the Piazza del Quirinale, which the Italian President typically attends (the Quirinale is the Italian President’s official residence). Each of these free concerts is capped off by a fireworks display at midnight, so you can imagine the array of fireworks going off around the city at once – but that’s only part of the story. Italians set off their own firecrackers and fireworks for hours before and after midnight, so be alert when you’re walking around.
On New Year’s Day there’s a parade that starts in Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square and ends at the Castel Sant’Angelo, and if you’re traveling with kids you can head back over to the Piazza del Popolo for New Year’s Day kid-friendly fun, with all sorts of entertainment just for the little ones.