There are a lot of traditional Italian ways to welcome in the New Year. In Naples and southern Italy, it’s loud. People quite literally “ring in” the year, at the stroke of midnight noisily tossing old pots and pans out the window. This tradition dates back to ancient Roman times, when loud sounds and fire were thought to frighten off evil spirits. Today, in Venice, Ferrara, Florence, Rome and many other Italian cities, there remain lovely light shows, and public fireworks displays, and you can see and hear neighbors setting off firecrackers and waving sparklers from terraces, windows and balconies.
In the north, skiers create enchanting light shows in stately processions slowly traversing the slopes in Courmayeur, Valtellina, Val Gardena and other winter resort areas. Another spectacle are the bonfires, called faló del vecchione, popular in Bologna and other northern Italian towns. A sort of out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new ritual, it typically involves burning a large straw figure called vecchione, the old one.