We had heard so much about New Year’s Eve in Naples, Italy that we had to experience it for ourselves! It is said that Naples has some of the best fireworks displays in the world. While there are organized fireworks presentations along the Lungomare (near Castel dell’Ovo), many people buy their own fireworks and head to their roofs or windows to show them off. From high on a roof or balcony you can see hundreds of fireworks from the islands, Naples, and Pozzuoli. In total, they last approximately 45 minutes, though many continue all night and into the daylight the next morning. It was very different from our time in Venice the year before.
New Year’s Eve Traditions
Fireworks are popular with Neapolitans throughout the year. They set them off of their roofs for any occasion, whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, a holiday, or – it’s Thursday! Of course, this comes at a price. While many cities in Italy have banned personal fireworks, Naples holds their traditions and each year hundreds of Neapolitans are injured. In 2012 two people were killed and 361 people were injured (in 2011 two were killed and 561 were injured). On the roof below we witnessed fireworks gone awry as they were shooting sideways and the family was ducking behind walls to avoid them. Yikes!
Another tradition on New Year’s Eve in Naples, Italy is getting rid of old things. When the clock strikes midnight they believe they should get rid of anything they don’t want to carry into the new year. At midnight people will open their windows and throw things out onto the streets that they don’t want anymore. No matter how big it is! People have been injured or even killed because small ovens and refrigerators were flying down from above and hitting them. The streets in the downtown area become so littered with everyone’s old stuff that cars cannot move for hours. While this tradition is slowly fading away you may want to go to an open plaza, a roof, or stay inside on New Year’s in Naples, just in case!
For cenone (the Italian word for New Year’s Eve dinner), Ashley and I cooked an Italian feast! It consisted of capers, prosciutto, and cheese for appetizers, and continuing on with Pizette con melanzane (fried eggplant balls), Pesto all Genovese (pesto pasta), Spaghetti Tradizionale (spaghetti with oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt), Penne Siciliana (penne with eggplant, meat, and tomato sauce), and a variety of cannoli for dessert. And of course, a plethora of wine and champagne!
We’ve never been so close to a fireworks display and have never seen anything like we saw that night. It was a remarkable scene watching the fireworks from nearby windows and roofs all the way to the islands. We are thrilled that we made the decision to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Naples, Italy. While we didn’t throw anything out of the windows or light our own fireworks, we were still able to partake in one of Naples’ many traditions simply by being present and taking in the experience.