I have never really had amazing, spectacular, unforgettable New Year’s celebration. The only one I remember is coming into the millennium, because hey, it was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Plus, who didn’t want to see the massive “damage” y2k was supposed to do. So when it came to my Contiki tour of Europe back in 2007, and I chose the dates that would see me spend New Year’s Eve and Day in Rome, I knew it would surpass all that came before them.
New Year’s Eve
We began the evening at a swanky restaurant before heading to a MTV Party at the Colosseum. Yes, the Colosseum! As soon as we arrived outside the amazing structure, my 18 year-old self was scared. There were fire crackers going off left, right, centre and under my foot. There was wine being sprayed in the air, and when the bottle was done it was smashed on the ground of course.
Some of my group decided to brave the crowd and make their way to the stage at the front, but we decided to remain among the crazy local revellers to celebrate the new year. It was insane but fun. Once we danced around as the clock struck twelve, we had a little while to wait until the bus picked us up. So we decided to do laps of the Colosseum, as you do. I don’t think I will be able to say again that I brought in the New Year hugging the Colosseum. It was a great night and the best New Years, ever.
A New Year in Rome
The only downside to celebrating a New Year in Rome was that a lot of tourist attractions were closed — but I guess that means I just have to go back and explore the city again another time. The upside? Being at St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City to hear the Pope’s New Year message. I felt very blessed to be able to stand amongst the local crowd again and witness such an important event. Lucky the Pope spoke in English and Italian so we understood half of what he said.
There was a crowd of thousands of locals gathered in the square to see the Pope. It was amazing to witness and I will not forget that moment. Actually every new year since I have remembered that time I saw the Pope speak to his constituents.