Although this is technically my fifth December in the bel paese, I’ve only celebrated New Years in Italy once … three years ago, where the Prosecco flowed like, well, Prosecco, our happy feet overtook the dance floor and Italian “Bingo” and Karaoke filled the evening leading up to the explosive fireworks that overtook our little part of the Ionian Sea. It was a good night.

Since Continental-and her continent-hopping colleagues-discriminate against women who are eight months pregnant, I’ll be spending this Christmas and New Year in Calabria. I’m not sure what we’ll do yet … even a short flight to Rome or Naples is out, but today’s guest blogger, Lisa Fantino, is offering some ideas that just might fit the bill for our New Year’s celebration.

Welcome, Lisa!


My Mom always says that the way you start the new year is how you’ll spend it and end it – I’m a believer. My first Capodanno (Italian New Year) on the Amalfi Coast … awhile back … had me racking up more frequent flier miles in the subsequent year than I ever could have anticipated (but that’s for another time).

The Napoletani know how to do New Year’s Eve and it all centers around fireworks … fuochi d’artificio. Come to think of it, most Italians love fireworks on Capodanno. I have never seen anything like it, before or since. The rumble starts in the early morning hours of the 30th while the wondrous lights in the sky come on like gangbusters at midnight and continue for three or four hours. It’s probably enough energy to light the State of Texas and likely resembles the London Blitz of 70 years ago.

The best place to watch is from a seaview piazza in towns like Sorrento, Praiano, Atrani or Amalfi. The crowds are lively and the celebration in Sorrento usually starts on the 30th of December with a parade and the lighting of the exploding Donkey in the Piazza Tasso. If you’re lucky enough to grab a seaview hotel room, then indulge in the luxury because it keeps you safe above the fray. You see, the thing is that some Napoletani throw caution to the wind and shoot pistols into the air if they can’t afford noisemakers or firecrackers. They never think about where the bullets may land. That doesn’t happen much along the beach towns but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

New Year’s Day itself is relatively quiet, as all recover from the explosive night before. If you’re lucky, you may even find one of the hotel spas open for a great way to knead in the new year. Tanti auguri a te!

Lisa Fantino is an award-winning journalist and attorney and the Amalfi Coast travel consultant and creative force behind Wanderlust Women Travel. She recently launched the Amalfi destination wedding site, Wanderlust Weddings. Her love of Amalfi has also inspired her to gather sterling silver jewelry and gifts inspired by the blues of the region at Amalfi Blu. She wrote this travel feature for Mindware Seminars. Learn more about them and their dental travel.

Traveling to southern Italy? Click here to see how I can help you plan your trip.

Photo: BlueDeepBlue and dpserik via Flickr

4 Responses
  1. Oh please, please, please go to Amalfi for New Year’s Eve. And then be sure to write about it and share pictures.

    Yea … I wish. I think we will probably go somewhere, though. Wish you were closer!

  2. Odd question, but are the New Year’s fireworks celebrated there over several days, or are the main festivities on the 29-30th for some reason instead of the 31st-1st? I saw the bit about early morning fireworks on the 30th, and the parades on the 30th and was wondering. I’ve never spent a New Year’s there but would like to some year. Especially if there’s stuff like that for all the days leading up to New Year’s as well! Happy 2011, it will be a most exciting year for you.

    I’ll ask Lisa to respond to your Q!

  3. Hi Carina – it’s a magical place to be during the Christmas holidays. The fireworks are not organized – it’s Italy! LOL Amateurs with antsy fingers waiting for Capodanno start shooting them off a few days before but not “formally.” It’s midnight on NYE just like everywhere else. Thanks for writing.

    Thanks, Lisa!

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