WHAT AND WHERE ROMANS EAT ON NEW YEAR’s EVE
Many Italians like to have dinner at home or at a friend’s house. While Christmas is a family holiday, the last Year’s Eve is normally spent with friends or neighbours. A lot of young Italian choose private parties to celebrate the last hours of the old and the first of the New Year. In general going out the evening of 31th is quiet expensive in Rome. For those who chose not to stay at home, one option is the cenone, in a trattoria or restaurant of the city. There are real expensive and naturally cheaper solutions, but in any case the prices are much higher than in normal days and even in other holidays…” The New Year’s Eve cenone, refers to a set menu for dinner, with a set price. Sometimes that price includes wine and sometimes it doesn’t.
For dessert, Italians eat the same sweets as on Christmas, like panettone or pandoro.
The most important food to eat on New Year’s in Italy, just after midnight, is lentils. This is a must, as it is said to bring wealth and fortune.
The lentils are often served with cotechino or zampone. Both are spiced sausages, but with different casings. The cotechino looks like a huge fat salami, inside typical sausage pork casing, and the zampone is, literally, stuffed inside a hollowed out pig’s foot.
You can eat out for New Years’ in Rome and find some cheap solution. Or you can go out and have a special meal to ring in the New Year in one of the restaurants that offer an overview on the city. Here are your options:
Don’t plan a big meal but just go out for concerts, fireworks, lights and general outdoor ambiance, and grab some snacks or pizza by the slice as you walk around. “Street food” is now all the rage in Rome and you will easily find stuff open especially around Campo dei Fiori, Piazza Navona and Trastevere. This is definitely the least expensive way to go!
Have a nice dinner out at a trattoria in Rome, eating from an à la carte menu. Prices will vary, as most restaurants have a special New Year’s Eve menu, which, even if à la carte, is still more expensive than their normal menu.
Go out to any number of Rome restaurants that offer a cenone, if you want an abundant meal at a set price, with a range from around 70 Euros to 1,300 Euros per person. Yes you read that right.
When deciding where to eat in Rome on New Year’s, it’s important to note what’s included in the cenone price, particularly wine/drinks. And if you are looking for restaurants with à la carte menus, try to find out what exactly they have that night on their menu.
For all of the restaurants, reserving a table is crucial. You may be able to walk around and just find someplace with space available, but not at the best places, and not easily.
Once you decide where to eat in Rome on New Year’s, you should decide if you want to eat a late dinner, and stay in a restaurant until past midnight, enjoying a brindisi (toast) with prosecco, and then having a sampling of lentils.
Or, you can leave the restaurant by 10/10:30pm, and go wandering the streets towards the places and bridges. Most restaurants have two settings anyway, so you will have to choose.
Enjoy the Fireworks from Rome’s Rooftops
If you want to take in the fireworks and avoid the crowds, you could reserve a table at one of Rome’s amazing panoramic restaurants, with a view set high above the hustle and bustle in the capital city’s streets and squares. So if you don’t go to one of their cenone, you can try the rooftop bar. It won’t come cheaply though! Drinks on any hotel rooftop bar are always steep, any time of the year. But it might be worth it to view all the fireworks around you. For those asking where to watch fireworks without crowds and without spending money, the only way to do this is at a private home of someone with a rooftop. All the public spaces will likely be full of people and pretty loud.
The three famous panoramic restaurants in Rome, with the best overview:
Michelin-starred “Aroma” is located on the top floor of the 17th century Palazzo Manfredi, and looks out directly onto the Colosseum. Why not having a breakfast in front of the great Amphitheatre and symbol of the eternal Rome? The breakfast is opened although for private guests.
Aroma, Palazzo Manfredi, Via Labicana 125, Rome, Italy, +39 06 9761509
“La Pergola” has the honor of being Rome’s only three Michelin star restaurant. Located on the outskirts of the city, the terrace offers a breathtaking view of the Eternal City’s skyline.
La Pergola, Rome Cavalieri Hotel, Via Alberto Cadlolo 101, Rome, Italy, +39 06 35091
Rome’s first panoramic restaurant, “Imàgo”, has a history as rich as the city itself. Situated in the heart of downtown atop Hotel Hassler, the terrace overlooks the Church of Trinità dei Monti and the Spanish Steps. It’s the best overview in Rome. Entering Imàgo, the Hassler’s 6th floor panoramic Michelin starred restaurant in Rome with its unique view over the city, is to be greeted by a beautiful life-size painting that fills each window of this spectacular location. Starting from left to right: the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni in Laterano, the Quirinale, Villa Colonna and the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, the Campidoglio (Capitol Hill) and monument to Victor Emmanuel II, Palazzo Venezia, the Aventino hill, the Pantheon, the church of Sant’Agnese in Piazza Navona, Castel Sant’Angelo, the obelisk and Trinità dei Monti Church which one can almost reach out and touch, Villa Medici and the Borghese gardens.
Imàgo, Hotel Hassler, Piazza Trinità dei Monti 6, Rome,Italy, +39 06 699340
WHERE TO EAT IN ROME ON NEW YEAR’S DAY
Where to eat in Rome on New Year’s Day is much simpler than for New Year’s Eve. Some restaurants are closed but many are open, and it’s not so important to book at lunch.
There is no set meal and you should be able to find everything from inexpensive bars and tavole calde, to trattorias open for lunch on New Year’s Day