Celebrating New Year in Venice

As I mentioned in a previous post, this year I celebrated New Year in Venice, Italy. It’s the first time I’ve celebrated New Year abroad, but it definitely won’t be the last – it was fantastic.

Venice New Year Celebration 1

The Venetians have a huge celebration in St Mark’s Square, presented by the Mayor of the city and sponsored by Versace and the iconic Bellini (a wonderful concoction of white peach juice and Prosecco) – they even gave it away for free. The build-up is accompanied by live music (this year: The Venice White Band and Chiara Luppi), the aforementioned free toast with Bellini, and a huge projected countdown. After midnight, there were fireworks set in St Mark’s Basin, and after that a DJ. The city’s English tourism website promises an even bigger spectacle to welcome 2014.

Venice New Year Celebration 2

Unfortunately, the pickpockets were out in force, and the huge crowd / small walkways out of St Mark’s Square only inflated the problem – so if you go next year, I’d recommend taking as little with you as you can get away with. Most hotels have safety deposit boxes, and they are well worth using.

Regardless, the atmosphere of the celebration was fantastic – with thousands of people from countries all over the world in attendance (New Years Eve is one of the Venetian hotels busiest days). The final countdown was incredible – you can watch a video here. I’ve also uploaded my own video (blurry and shaky in places). I can’t remember the last time I felt as much anticipation in the build up to an event, especially New Year.

New Year in Venice is also accompanied by a theme, normally the same as the Carnival theme of the past year. To welcome 2013, the theme was white – described by the Venice tourism website:

Winter wears a mask, and Carnival is dressed up in white: in the occasion of the magic night that welcomes the year 2013, traditions reverse their roles. The high spirit of the carnival (a “winter carnival”, according to the calendar) spread to the New Year’s Eve and force everyone to get masked.The Winter Festival of the New Year’s Eve become “All White”, like the big dance music parties all over the world, like the parties in Bahia beach where the new year is welcomed with flower tributes to the sea and to Yemanj√† goddess.

And as midnight struck, everyone removed their masks and threw them in the air. It was awesome.

Venice New Year 3

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