Italian New Year’s Eve Traditions

As 2014 comes to a close, here are some Italian traditions to help you celebrate La Festa di San Silvestro and bring good luck for the New Year!

The meal


zampone con le lenticchie

No surprise that the focal point of the New Year’s Eve celebration for Italians is a big feast with friend and family. Two things you will traditionally find at this meal are lentils and pork, which can include cotechino, a large spiced sausage, or zampone, stuffed pig’s trotter. Italians believe that lentils, which resemble small coins, bring wealth (they puff up when they cook, as could your fortune!), while the fat content of the pork is said to signify abundance and prosperity in the New Year.

Music and dancing

Fireworks over the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy.

Fireworks over the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy.

All over Italy, you will find outdoor celebrations on New Year’s Eve, with music, dancing and fireworks! Larger cities, such as Naples, Rome and Bologna hold outdoor concerts and events that are televised across the country, while some smaller towns host bonfires, where everyone gathers to celebrate the coming of the New Year.

Wear red underneath


Tradition says that wearing red undergarments on New Year’s Eve will bring luck and good fortune for the forthcoming year and potentially love to your life!

Out with the old and in with the new


An older tradition that still is practiced by some is to throw old things out the window as a sign of acceptance for the New Year to come. You will tend to find this done in southern Italy, but the tradition seems to have moved across the country, so keep your eyes up!

Stay up late

Piazza San Marco at sunrise

Piazza San Marco at sunrise

Parties in Italy on New Year’s Eve go till the wee hours of the am, so that all can see the first sunrise of the New Year, which is another way to invite good fortune.

Lots of Italian bubbly


While many sip on champagne to welcome in the New Year, Italians sip on prosecco, Italian sparkling wine. A touch sweeter than champagne, it always makes for the perfect toast!

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